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A major pleasure of the classic world is encountering a car that you a) had only ever read about and b) were convinced had completely vanished off the face of the planet. A vehicle that fulfils both of these criteria – the Austin Metro Cooper was shown at the NEC show last month.
Imagine you were paying a visit to Earls Court in 1948, revelling in Britain’s first Motor Show for a decade. Naturally, your head would have been turned by the Jaguar XK120, the Morris Minor, the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 and the other new vehicle while on the Austin display is an open tourer which featured a power-operated top.
‘No frills - no radio, head rests rear wiper or glove box’ - that’s how Paul Thomson describes his 1983 Austin Metro Standard which is ‘one of nine base models left on the road’.
In the days before the launch of ITV in 1955, advertising a new car in cinemas was a very popular practice. And during the interval between the B-film and the main feature, who would not be enthused by this promotion for the Austin A30? Mere words cannot describe how wonderful this commercial is, from the script to the scenes of this splendid little car in action, especially as it reassures the viewer about the efficiency of the hydro-mech brakes. Another major sales asset was Dick Burzi’s styling of the monocoque coachwork (a first for Austin) and it can be seen to its best advantage in this Pathe footage celebrating the A30’s launch in 1951.
Thirty-four years ago, Patrick Bradley’s Austin Montego HL was as familiar a sight as people fleeing from Sigue Sigue Sputnik on Top of The Pops. He came this now rare car ‘last year as my dad had Maestros and Montego when I was a kid. I wanted to get one to remind me of my childhood. These cars were everywhere when I was growing up in the 90s – now there is hardly any left sadly.’
Whether your classic has been in the family for years or is a new addition, being the victim of vehicle theft can be devastating. As classic car values soar, this is becoming common. Whilst we may not be able to stop every vehicle being stolen, there are a number of ways we can help reduce the chance and here at Lancaster, we’ve created a list of helpful hints and tips that may help.
‘I’ve always been more a van man than car man’ remarks Stephen Hitchcock and, as proof, he is the proud owner of not one but two Austin A35s. The 1959 orange example has been a part of his fleet for the past two years and the grey (and red) 1960 model since 2004 - ‘I used it to advertise my business’.
Any Series 3 version of the Austin Allegro is now quite an exclusive sight.
News: TOP TRUMPS! LANCASTER INSURANCE CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW, WITH DISCOVERY, REVEALS ICONIC CARD GAME AS SHOW THEME
The theme of the 35th anniversary Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, has been revealed as ‘Top Trumps’, the iconic card game that has been played across the world for over 40 years and is now more popular than ever!
When the Mini collector John Fisher takes his Tweed Grey 1966 Austin Convertible for a spin he often encounters one of the following questions - ‘did you cut the roof off it yourself?’ or ‘why hasn’t it fallen in half?’ To which the answer is always, the work was undertaken by Crayford of Westerham in Kent - and their standards were renowned in the UK and overseas.