Kim Henson writes... My A30/A35 book 'Accessible Classics' (Enjoying Your Austin) is still available direct from me and if you would like a copy in time for Christmas, please let me know as soon as possible! Again this year several people have asked me whether my book on Austin A30s/A35s is still available… Yes it is (I wrote and published the book), and it can be purchased direct from me if you … [Read more...]
Our look in the rear view mirror at cars from the past
In this website we deliberately cover cars new and old. While it is true that modern motor cars are becoming ever more sophisticated (and complicated!), and to fulfill their daily transport needs most motorists tend to drive vehicles built relatively recently, equally there is growing respect for, and interest in, the crucially important ‘heritage’ models which represent stepping stones along the path of automotive progress.
If it wasn’t for the technical and styling innovations of the cars of the past that are now regarded as classics, we wouldn’t have been able to arrive at the models produced today.
There are classic models to suit all tastes, and there are many reasons for buying an old car, ranging from ‘sentimental’ nostalgic memories, to purely practical considerations.
While some old cars are little used these days (so in reality they are ‘toys’ brought out just for high days and holidays), it’s a fact that many classics are very easy to own and to operate, are inexpensive to run and are still capable of providing effective, enjoyable ‘real world’ transport in the 21st Century.
Ownership can provide fun in terms of the sheer enjoyment of driving an ‘oldie’ that is different, as well as a whole new social scene, for those who want it.
So whether you are already an enthusiast, or are contemplating taking the plunge, we hope that you will enjoy, and find useful, our features on cars from the past…These will grow in number and scope, as we progress.
Buy With Care
Each of our ‘Profile’ features concentrates on an individual classic car. In each case, if you are thinking of buying one but are unfamiliar with the model, it’s wise to take the advice of fellow owners (join the club(s) if it/they exist) or specialists for the vehicle, and if possible, when viewing vehicles for sale, take with you an independent third party.
While restoration can be rewarding and enjoyable if you are deliberately starting with a project vehicle, purchased for an appropriate price, you definitely don’t want to end up with a expensive ‘basket case’ that has been disguised to make it appear to be a sound example. This still happens today. Mistakes like this can await the unwary, and can cost huge amounts to put right.
In general, the structural condition of classic cars is far more important than their mechanical state. Proceed with caution, and view as many examples as you can, to get a feel for prices asked versus condition levels.
Don’t rush into a purchase; do your research and be patient. In this way you should be able to find the classic of your dreams, at a fair price.
Are you sitting comfortably? If so, then we’ll begin…
Enjoying his Audi to the full... An affordable 2023 pleasure! Driven often, with more miles under its wheels and fewer bills in 2023, this modern classic TT makes sense, and delivers a 'content grumpy old man' (says Jeremy Walton)! In this seventh instalment of his series on his TT quattro Sport, Jeremy tells his story of the driving pleasure he has enjoyed this year in his cost-effective … [Read more...]
Incredibly rare Derbshire-produced Paramount returns to its home county, and is on display at Great British Car Journey... They tell us: (Words and image from Great British Car Journey). Better known for the manufacture of Rolls-Royces and Toyotas, few people know that in the 1950s, Derbyshire was also home to the production of the now almost forgotten Paramount car. And now, the fifth … [Read more...]
The remarkable true story of Austin pedal cars... Reviewed by Kim Henson Author: Dr. David Whyley Published by: Porter Press International; www.porterpress.co.uk 488 pages (jacketed hardback; 280 x 220 mm), incorporating more than 1,000 images UK Price, ‘Classic Edition’: £85.00; ISBN: 978-1-913089-28-3 Note: Further specialist editions are available thus: Collector’s Edition – … [Read more...]
The Aston Martin Bulldog that reached 205.4 mph earlier this year is now on display at The British Motor Museum – but only for two weeks until 13th November 2023. They tell us: (Image and text from The British Motor Museum). The Bulldog’s arrival at the museum, escorted by a Hollywood film crew, came hot on the heels of it being filmed at Classic Motor Cars Ltd (CMC) in Bridgnorth, … [Read more...]
New J40 Continuation model launched by Austin Pedal Cars... They tell us: (All words and images from Austin Pedal Cars). New J40 Continuation is the first Austin pedal car to launch since original production ended in 1971 Austin J40 Continuation developed entirely in-house by Austin Pedal Cars Hand-formed aluminium body accurately replicates lines of the original J40 All-new, … [Read more...]
An exclusive McLaren evening in December at The British Motor Museum... They tell us: (All words and photographs from The British Motor Museum). The British Motor Museum is to host an exciting evening event on Monday 4 December, ‘An Evening With McLaren’. Visitors can join two of McLaren’s Chief Engineers, Geoff Grose and Sandy Holford (pictured below), to gain an insight into the evolution … [Read more...]
25 years young – Audi UK celebrates TT milestone in the Isle of Man They tell us: (All words and inages from Audi UK). Acclaimed Audi sports car celebrates 25 years in production Over 157,000 UK specification examples delivered since original launch in 1998 Audi UK travels to the Isle of Man race location that inspired the TT name to mark the occasion First generation TT from … [Read more...]
Markings hidden for nearly 100 years have been uncovered on the Sunbeam 1000hp record breaker at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu… They tell us: (All words and images from The National Motor Museum). Specialist soda blasting has revealed original mechanics’ markings on Land Speed Record breaker Sunbeam 1000hp as the National Motor Museum carried out the next major stage of its … [Read more...]
Only ‘Hillman GT’ left in existence goes on display at the British Motor Museum! They tell us (words and photographs from The British Motor Museum): The British Motor Museum is delighted to announce that a 1969 Hillman GT from the Bangers & Cash: Restoring Classics TV show has proudly gone on display. It was bought by the show in 2022 as a restoration project at auction for £5.3K and is … [Read more...]
A century of MG magic conjoured up by the National Motor Museum... They tell us: (All words plus image from The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu). The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu is celebrating a centenary of the MG car marque as it exhibits rarely seen archive photographs from the Museum’s collections. The Magic of the Marque - 100 Years of MG in the museum’s In-Focus Gallery will … [Read more...]
Austin Sevens and Big Sevens galore, plus their enthusiastic owners, descend on the New Forest… Kim Henson reports. (All photographs by, and copyright, Kim Henson, except for the view from the air of the '60' formation image, copyright Beaulieu Enterprises Ltd.). Over the weekend of 1st and 2nd July, The Pre-War Austin Seven Club held their 60th National Austin Seven Rally at the National … [Read more...]
'Homes on Wheels' – 'The Rolls-Royce of Caravans' is being celebrated in a display in Winchester... All words and images from Beaulieu; images © Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection. Beaulieu tells us... This summer, the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection, hosted at the National Motor Museum, will be celebrating one of the UK’s most prestigious manufacturers of holiday caravans - … [Read more...]
Austin Sevens galore will gather at Beaulieu for the 60th National Austin Seven Rally, to take place on Sunday 3rd July... Run by the Pre-War Austin Seven Club, this is the largest annual gathering of Austin Seven cars and enthusiasts in the UK and is unique in that every one of the 60 rallies since 1963 has been held at the same venue - the grounds of the Beaulieu Estate next to … [Read more...]
Innovative front wheel drive Grand Prix race car resurrected after being left to rot in a scrapyard... Alvis tells us: The Alvis Grand Prix car, one of the first of its kind to use front wheel drive, has been extensively restored 96 years after a retirement at Brooklands curtailed the factory effort. Abandoned in a Warwickshire scrapyard after its race career ended, the sole … [Read more...]
For Your (Christmas and New Year!) Bookshelf – Seven Years With Samantha (Around the World in a Vintage Austin Seven) Reviewed by: Kim Henson Author: Clive Ball (with black and white photographs by the author, plus drawings by Cedric Baxter) Published by: Patrick Stephens Ltd. (First edition September 1974) 248 pages (hardback) UK Price: Varies (no longer in print but used copies are … [Read more...]
If you are own, or are interested in buying, an Austin A30 or A35, or are just fascinated by the vehicles, this book may be useful and enjoyable for you... says Kim. Okay I'll declare an interest at once – since I wrote this book and it was a labour of love, taking six years to put together. Several 'Wheels-Alive' readers have been in touch to ask if this Austin book is still available; the … [Read more...]
Reviewed by Kim Henson Author: Jim Stringer Published by: Herridge and Sons Ltd. 128 pages (hardback), with colour and black and white photographs (over 300 illustrations) UK List Price: Offer price for signed copies, £32.50 (£7.50 off the normal price of £40.00) ISBN: 978-1-914929-00-7 Available from: Herridge and Sons Ltd; www.herridgeandsons.com At the outset I should declare … [Read more...]
The Austin Motor Company produced some exceptionally good, reliable motor cars in the 1920s, including the Twenty, the Twelve and the diminutive Seven. Austin devotee extraordinaire Jim Stringer tells us about The Vintage Austin Register, which caters for everyone with an interest in these full-of-character dependable models... (All photographs copyright, and as individually credited). Jim … [Read more...]
A fascinating true tale of a much-loved 1960 Ford Anglia 105E – ‘Two hundred pounds well spent'... Auboné Braddon describes how ‘Mary’ the Basic Anglia 105E came into his life and has stayed for 33 years so far! (All words and photographs in the story by, and copyright, Auboné Braddon). Kim says, “Before Auboné tells the story of his Anglia ‘Mary’, a little background information may be … [Read more...]