As you may or may not remember, a few years ago we posted photos of these incredible, half-scale sports cars that—despite being called "children's cars"—are more badass than any car any adult could ever hope to own. And although the junior cars' visionary, Nathan Redfearn, was getting ready to shut down production, the beautiful, tiny, and fully-functional cars struck a chord with so many people that they were able to keep going—much to our benefit. And now they're even getting an awesome new upgrade.
In the words of Redfearn himself:
The strange thing was, the week before you wrote the article, my wife and I had decided we were going to stop producing the junior cars, as they were so incredibly labour intensive to produce and not so profitable. We were very limited to how many we could manufacture—3 cars per month!
The night before your article came out, I was just telling my cousin who lives in Australia how we planned to wind down that business. He was telling us how crazy we were to do so. The next morning we woke up to more than 300 inquiries for our junior cars. Over the coming weeks, as other websites and blogs picked up on the story, we were literally inundated with inquiries for our cars.
But before his work really took off, it all began when Redfearn decided to share his love of classic cars with his then two-year-old nephew, Ayrton. He wasn't satisfied with the quality of toy car currently floating around, so taking matters into his own hands, Redfearn sketched out a child-sized Porsche 356 model and ultimately built the actual prototype and fiberglass molds in the street outside their home in Saigon.
Thus, Group Harrington was born.
While the toy cars were more of a hobby at first, Redfearn found himself handling two years' worth of orders after the post went live. But with this renewed interested, he decided to do a complete overhaul to his cars' design and spent the last two and a half years developing the newest model. In his own words:
Our old models were essentially very pretty go karts. Rear engine, single wheel drive, no suspension, single rear disk brake, small scooter wheels, and very much hand built with each part being machined and made individually. Almost no parts aside from the engines and wheels and gear knob were interchangeable between the models. Also, the cars were a little small—at least for adults to use.
So starting with a clean sheet of paper, I decided to make the new models as REAL cars on a miniature scale. As such, our new models have the following features:
Front mounted engine.
Rear wheel drive.
Limited slip differential.
Independent suspension all round.
Rack and pinion steering.
Disk brakes front and rear. Brembo 4 pot calipers!
Separate steel chassis.
Adjustable pedal box so both adults and kids can comfortable fit.
Rear mounted fuel tank with electric pump.
Wide custom made alloy wheels.
Opening hood and trunk.
Open grilles with more than adequate cooling (this was hard to do with rear mounted engines)
Bright LED lights.
While there are, of course, small differences between each junior car, pretty much everything under the skin (suspension, drive, axles, brakes, etc.) is totally universal, making them far easier to fit and consequently produce. With a team of 32, Redfearn is now able to produce 8-10 of the junior cars every month. And these rides don't just look sweeter, they're handling better too:
The difference in terms of performance is staggering. They are lighter, faster, handle incredibly, and are far more comfortable to sit in and drive. Even though they are only 110cc, they can reach 73 kmh in standard tune. It doesn't handle like a go cart, but like a car! And the weight balance front to rear is great—they are the most flattering car to hoon and drift that I've ever tried.
Another thing we took into account was the ability to modify, tune, and customize. The engines are 110cc quad bike engines built by Loncin (a Honda subsidiary). We've been using these engines for 9 years and have nothing but praise for them. Never once has one broken on us or any customers we've heard rom. They're basically the standard Honda engine found in cub motorbikes, trikes, quad bikes, PT bikes, etc. These ones are 110cc 3 speed with reverse semi-auto (no clutch) and an electronic ignition with electric start. You can buy after market tuning kits for them, which can boost the capacity to 190cc and double the power. The chassis are more than capable should someone wish to do this. We have also designed it so you can change the gearing very easily—without pulling the car apart (there's access from underneath).
Right now, the group is in the process of producing the AC Cobra and Ferrari 250 California Spyder, with plans to launch the Jaguar XK120 and Aston Martin DB5 soon. They're currently accepting orders, but you can also check out one of their distributors in any of the following countries: UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait. You can also check out videos of the cars in action on their YouTube page. And for as absolutely gorgeous as these cars are—they also look damn fun to drive. Check out the Group Harrington site for the whole lineup.
Thanks to Nathan Redfearn for the photos and update!