Husband, 54, spends thousands on restoring vintage DODGEMS


Collector Peter Ward has set himself on a collision course with his missus over his hobby – restoring vintage dodgems.

The 54 year-old has been buying up the rusty rides for the past year and reckons he’s going to make a bumper profit selling them.

He owns around 40 and has so far fitted half a dozen with electrical motors which gives them a top speed of 4mph.

He has driven one to his local McDonald’s drive-through and gets stopped by people in the street asking for a photo.

Peter has also taken to the road in a Postman Pat van from an old children’s ride which he fitted with a 50cc two stroke engine, making it capable of 40mph.

That project cost him around £1,000 and on average each bumper car sets him back around £350.

But wife Melanie is not seeing the fun side of his obsession and says he’s being secretive about how many dodgems he’s got.

The fairground vehicles fill the garden and drive of their home in Minster, Kent and Peter has got a lock-up with dozens more.

Full-time mum Melanie, 51, says she would rather his money went on a family holiday.

She said: “I’ve no idea how many he has or how much he has spent on them.

“At the beginning I thought it was just eleven cars, then I overheard him having a conversation with some family saying it was thirty.

“We haven’t had a holiday for years and I look at the dodgems and think we could have gone on a lovely holiday sometime.”

She added: “I think it is a fun idea and everybody loves it when he takes them out. It’s nice to see how people react.

“Hopefully he can make a bit of profit on them. He says he will but I’m a bit more pessimistic.”

Peter, a dad-of-two, said: “I think we all enjoyed the fairgrounds as kids. It will always be popular and families will go to the fair when it’s in town.

“When I take them out, people stop to take pictures and it’s nothing but smiles. It reminds them of their childhood.

“I think I could sell them as part of a business. I’m getting old now and I would sell them.

“If they are done properly you are looking at selling them for up to £2,000 and I have around 40.

“They are not made to order, you have to properly restore these. It is the future I think.

“My wife has started to get used to them but I think she would rather have a holiday then a collection of dodgems.”

Most of the dodgems date back to the 1960s and 70s and Peter gets them from fairgrounds and various websites.

He added: “I saw the first one on eBay and I thought I might put some lights on it and it would look good in the garden.

“Then you start getting ideas and I wanted to get it running. It was a great feeling when I did.

“I started looking for dodgems online then it just started to get out of hand.

“It’s a bit like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I suppose, when the car comes flying out of the garage, that’s how it feels.

“If you want to turn heads you could buy a Ferrari or something but you can’t buy one of these because they’re rare, that’s the difference.”

Peter has uploaded videos of himself driving some of the restored models.

He and his collection of dodgems will feature on Channel 4 programme Posh Pawn next month.


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