Motoring in Miniature – The Toys of Your Childhood

Motoring in Miniature - The Toys of Your Childhood
A brand new exhibition in the National Motor Museum
See more than 800 toy cars and pedal cars
Celebrate miniature motoring memories and much-loved playthings of the past.

Relive the joy and excitement of your favourite childhood toy cars in this fun-filled family exhibition that opens in the National Motor Museum on the 4th July, showcasing more than 800 toy cars and pedal cars to celebrate miniature motoring memories and much-loved playthings of the past.

Most of us have early motoring memories from before we learned to drive – and that’s the shiny toys we gazed at in the toy shop window and spent hours ‘driving’ across the living room carpet or in the garden outside. These were the toys you were told to clear up, the toys you were proud of, the toys that you loved.

What’s to see

The exhibition will be packed with  a huge selection of toy cars from the 1920s to the 1990s, from tin plate and wooden toys to die-cast and slot cars. See pull-alongs and pedal cars, radio control cars and scale models, motoring board games, jigsaws and computer games. It doesn’t matter what age you are, there will be a toys from your childhood.

SeE amazing pedal cars

Motoring in Miniature

Be amazed by historic pedal cars loaded onto their own car transporter. From exciting racing cars and glamorous sports models to rare veteran cars, the iconic Austin J40 and even Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, all manner of pedal cars will be on show to enjoy.

Lord Montagu’s collection

Motoring in Miniature

Take a closer look at Lord Montagu’s own childhood pedal car, modelled on a vintage London bus, while a child-sized replica of the Golden Arrow Land Speed Record breaker will be parked up alongside the real machine. See more of these lined up in Jack Tucker’s Garage, waiting to be serviced, while in Palace House find the motoring toys of the Montagu family.

Keep your eyes on the roaD

Motoring in Miniature

Follow the giant roadway packed with toys by much-loved favourite brands including Corgi, Dinky, Scalextric, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Triang and many more. How many of these brightly coloured treasures are just like the toys you used to own, which were raced and crashed into the skirting boards? See these miniatures displayed decade by decade, showing how they developed from crude toys to sophisticated replicas, then a peek through the child’s eye-view window at larger toy buses.

Step back in time

Motoring in Miniature

Remember your Green Cross Code and look left and right before stepping along the roadway’s zebra crossing, then see nostalgic displays of slot cars, tinplate roadways, I-Spy and Ladybird books and annuals, motoring-themed travel games and period-perfect artworks. Spot emergency services-themed playthings on show, as well as construction classics such as Airfix, Meccano and Lego, as well as scale model caravans and campervans in the Caravan and Motorhome Club showcase.


Motoring in Miniature

Watch archive Hot Wheels adverts and see nostalgic photos of pedal cars and their owners from yesteryear, then learn about the conservation work of the National Motor Museum Trust to preserve and restore exhibits. Members of the Beaulieu One Hundred have been helping the curatorial team with the enormous task of preparing hundreds of toy cars for the exhibition. From the largest battery-operated child-sized racing car, to the smallest Matchbox toy, each one has been painstakingly cleaned in readiness to go on display.

Be sure to visit the Beaulieu gift shop where you can find the perfect toy car to take home from the wide selection on offer, including models from the Corgi range.