Junior Central

    New Site Coming Soon! This website is dedicated to Vintage Promotional cars of the 1950s and 60s with fiberglass or plastic bodies that were assembled to replicate full size production cars!
    They would be generally refered to as a "Go Kart" by todays standards but they were never built for speed, they were for style! Sometimes they were replicated in great detail and changed each year to match the styling of their full size brothers. These cars were made to ride inside of not on. This is not a pedal car website and with very few exceptions will be restricted to models that are Electric or gas powered units. There are a few models that do not replicate production automobiles that were manufactured by major companies of these cars that will be listed for reference on this site. These were not toys for the masses, they were in many cases very expensive and were primarily used by automotive dealerships to attract in customers into the showroom to try and sell them a full size car. They were also available for sale to those that could afford them and often used in other promotions by many companies and also by Shriners for parades.
    I started collecting information on these cars many years ago, long before the Internet became common place. When I first put this information on the web on my original Automotive Oddities website www.roadkillontheweb.com It soon began to be the most popular page on the site and I started to expand the pages and the information available but it has outgrown it's original home. This website is intended to be much more interactive between collectors, restorers and fans. The more information that is available on these rare and unique collectors items the better it is for everyone. If you have information about these cars please share it with me so I can share it with others! I buy original literature and pictures but gladly accept scans if you do not want to part with them.

Click on the image to go to that page for more info.
Thunderbird Juniors

One of the first Junior cars available and the one with the longest continual production. Starting in 1955 and continuing through 1966 with changes every year to match the full size cars. The company sold the 66 version in 67 and did not update the Thunderbird body for 67 like they did the mustang.

Mustang Juniors

After making the Thunderbird Junior since 55 when the New Mustang came out in 1965 The Powercar company expanded it's model lineup to offer a Mini Mustang that was changed in 1966 and again in 1967 to replicate the big cars.

Desoto Firemite

A miniature 3/8-scale version of a 1958 Desoto Fireflite used as a promotional tool by dealers. Made with a plastic body and done in factory paint colors and upholstery. It was gas powered and could fit 2 kids or one average size adult.

Mercury Juniors

The Powercar Company of Mystic Conneticut also offered a Mercury version called the "BIG M" so far I have been able to document production in 1957 and 1958 only

Plymouth Fury Juniors

Plymouth dealers jumped on the Junior car bandwagon in 1958 with a miniature Fury in 3/8 scale. In 1959 the body changed to match the styling of the full size 1959 but remained in 3/8 scale. The last year of the Plymouth was 1960 and scale was dropped to 1/4.

Barry Toycraft Corvettes

Corvette collectors would drool over these! Made in St Paul Minnesota in 1963 they were only offered for a short period of time and are very desirable in today collector market

Edsel Youngstar

Made by Donalson manufacturing of North Kansas City Kansas. this car shared the same frame as the Ford Sunliner made by the same company in 1957 and 58. the Ford was available in electric or pedal versions so I would imagine the Edsel would also be available in pedal and electric versions.

Ford Sunliner 500

I have been able to find very little informaion on these cars that were made by Donalson manufacturing of Kansas City, Kansas. Production of 1957 and 58 models can be documented.

Pontiac Juniors

Made by the Silvestri Art studios of Chicago in 1956 only. powered by electric motor and used by dealers to sell full scale pontiacs

Divco Milk Trucks

Made by Robel in the late 50s these are the only truck variation that I have found. Obviously these would have been marketed primarily to dairies not dealerships.

Conval Mustangs

Conval Industries bought the assetts of the Power car company after they went under in 67. While offering the older products from the original molds they worked with the Ford motor company and made one new junior car in 1971, A mustang but went under themselves shortly afterward.

Powercar Company

The leader in the industry That produced Thunderbird juniors 1955-66, Mustang juniors 1965-67, Mercury juniors 1957-58, Plymouth Fury Juniors 1958-60 . Learn about the company here.

Creative industries 65 Plymouth

Creative industries of Detroit was a well know job shop that did custom work for car manufacturers in Detroit. Some of the better known projects they did were the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and 1970 Plymouth Superbird winged supercars were they modified the factory cars adding the nose cones, rear spoilers etc. In 1965 they helped them produce these little Fury cars for a 1965 Worlds fair Avis rent a car exibit.

1959 and 60 Studebaker Larkette

Just like so many other manufacturers Studebaker realized the power of Junior cars to help drive car sales. In 1959 and 1960 they had Master interprises of Eau Claire MI produce these miniature versions of the new Lark line. The same company also produced mini Mercedes cars since Studebaker was the American distribution network for thier line then and also a mini Jeep called Beep.

Yardman Corvette

I know of a couple of these out there but not much more. They appear to be another factory sponsored marketing tool. they are nicely detailed and gas powered. I will continue to look for more information and post it as I find it. If you have some please share it!

Misc. Junior cars

This page is for all those little unknowns that I find. If i find images of a powered promotional car but have no information on them i will post them here until I can find information on them to give them their own page.

How were these cars used?

    One of my favorite ways that these little cars were used by dealerships in sales promotions went as follows. The dealership would load a junior car into the back of a pickup truck and take it down to the local school at recess time or after school let out. When the kids gathered around they were given coupons for one free test drive if they came down to the dealership with their parents that night. The kids would go home and put the pressure on Mom and Dad to let them drive that little car. To avoid the harassment and tears many parents would give in and go to the dealership with their kids. While they waited in line with the kids the parents were a captive audience for the dealership salesmen (like shooting fish in a barrel). They were told about the new features of the models on the showroom floor and given the opportunity to take a test drive of their own. When the kid was done with the test drive they were often told that the car they just drove would be given away and if they wanted to win it they needed to fill out the coupon and deposit it in the box. After everyone was gone the next day the salesmen would go through the coupons and get the names addresses and phone numbers of the parents and sometimes the year make and model of the car they currently owned. These contacts would be put to good use in sales calls. Any car salesman can tell you that the hardest part of selling a car is getting the customer in the showroom these little cars did that job.

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Use of images and information on this website for Magazine articles/car club newsletters

If you want to use information or images from this website for magazine articles please contact me so that I can help by providing more information addition images or Higher resolution images. So little is known about these little cars that education of the collecting public can only help find more of them and find more parts or parts sources for them. Generally I only ask for of a copy of the final issue and mention of the website in the article in return. Even though promotional cars have been around for a long time they have only recently become very collectable. Any article written about them can only help to find “Automotive archeologists” With information on these rare and unusual mini cars

Welcome to my mis-spelled word file!
These are common and sometimes uncommon ways to mis-spell the primary words on this site! I provide this as a service to the phonically challenged because they are people too! Or maybe they have a typing handicap like myself. Corvete, Crysler, Chrystler, Christler, Desota, De Sota, Desotoe, Desoda, Dasoda, Edsil, fibre, fibreglass, Gokart, Go-kart, go kart, Mo Par, Mustange, mircury, Peddel, Peddal, Peddle, pedel, Plymoth, Plimoth, Plimouth, powercar, power car, Tbird, T-bird, Thunderchicken