South East Coachworks restores Midget

Faversham based South East Coachworks has refurbished perhaps one of the smallest vehicles to enter its workshop. Chris Bichard from the company has for the past five years been working on a Johnstone Midget Coach, restoring it from the ‘sorry state’ he acquired it in. Chris’ apprentice has also been involved in the restoration of the 1:25 scale replica as part of his training. The miniature vehicle is now being used to promote and demonstrate the business’s expertise in vehicle refurbishment.

Work involved stripping the miniature vehicle down and refurbishing the oak frame and completely rehashing the interior, reupholstering the seats in moquette and leather. It was also repainted, with a new red and white livery applied. Fully registered to run on roads, the Harrington Johnstone Midget Coach is complete with a motor. For this reason, it is required to carry a registration plate. It is not the only one in existence, there are thought to be 12 motorised versions of the miniature coach built and earlier pedal powered versions were also made. They were made by Ernie Johnstone from Brighton and were a familiar site for tourists in seaside towns. They were still being used on Brighton’s seafront in the late 60s. Not all were based on Harrington designs though, with some Duple and Yeates coachwork derived examples also constructed by Johnstone.

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