The Dewlin was quickly followed by the Poppy Car, a pedal-owered ride-in sports vehicle for younger drivers aged from 4 to around 6 or 7. Here, Jacob's younger brother Matthew is giving the Poppy a test drive, and loving it by the look of it.
The Poppy was designed as a project for home woodworkers and, like the Dewlin, was mostly made from plywood with metal fittings, but it was smaller, simpler, and much less expensive to make.
It had a simple handbrake with a friction pad to one of thesolid rear tyres and was driven along using foot pedals and con rods to a cranked rear axle. With a little practice drivers could make it go backwards as well as forwards.
There were trailers for both cars and drivers loved to cart toy passengers round the yard. This is the prototype, now 24 years old, but it is still in good running order and often driven by my grandchildren and other young visitors.
(Plans and Instructions for making the Poppy Car are still available from The Rocking Horse Shop, but not the running gear.)
I once bought a plan to build an electric car for my children, thinking it would be an interesting project. But as soon as I looked at it, I thought, 'I can do better than that', and set about designing the 'Dewlin' sports car.
It had a powerful 12volt motor with battery in the boot (trunk), forward and reverse gears, working headlamps, hand and foot brakes, rack and pinion steering. Also a loud horn, fold-down acrylic windscreen and cast brass, chrome-plated horse's head mascot on the bonnet (hood).
The bodywork was mostly plywood and very strong: mudguards and running boards were glue/laminated, the bonnet (hood) bent in water (in the bath!), the steering wheel was laminated varnished plywood. Wheels were spoked and zinc plated, with pneumatic tyres.
Plans and Instructions for the Dewlin were sold by The Rocking Horse Shop, along with all the accessories and fittings, as a project for home woodworkers. It worked brilliantly, but due to the rising cost of parts is now discontinued (although Plans and Instructions are still obtainable).
In this photo taken some 25 years ago, Jacob, son of some friends, is driving the prototype. I still have this car and it still goes well. Only recently it was driven round the yard by my four year old grandson.
Some of our customers said that although they liked the Dewlin sports cars, they weren't woodworkers. So Mike Jones, then General Manager at The Rocking Horse Shop, designed this version with a fibreglass body. We named it the Jaglin.
The Jaglin was mounted on the same running gear, with 12volt motor, forward and reverse gears, rack and pinion steering, working headlamps etc, as the Dewlin. But the three piece body moulding made it very much easier to assemble.
The electric sports cars were originally intended for drivers from 4 years old up to around 8, but here the Jaglin is being driven by Mrs Wyn Carter who lived next door.
Wyn, a delightful lady and farmer's wife, was small enough in stature to fit into the Jagin's leather seat. When I suggested she might like to have a go she smiled and leapt in without hesitating, even though she was then 75 years old.