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It would be mission impossible to select a Car of The Show from the thousands of fine machines at the recent BMC & Leyland Show 2021. However, it would be fair to say that one of the vehicles that attracted the most attention was the Austin 3-Litre Ambulance owned by John Wilkins.
If you watch virtually any British police drama of the 1970s, you might have the idea that every vehicle that was not a Flying Squad Ford Consul GT was a Rover P6B or a Triumph 2.5 PI Mk. II. However, one vehicle that was equally associated with law enforcement was the BLMC ADO16 Panda Car.
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.
John Langford has recently taken delivery of an Austin convertible, one that is resplendent in Speedwell Blue. Here is a car that offered virtually everything to the discerning motorist, from the Art Deco fascia to the well-upholstered bench seat. The fuel bills amount to precisely nil, and the sole drawbacks of the J40 are the limited top speed - and the fact that anyone over the age of nine will not be able to fit in it.
Chris had two reasons for buying his Cashmere Gold Austin Metro Vanden Plas. Firstly, he is a fan of the Kingsbury-based coachbuilder, and also owns a VDP 1500. Secondly, he has also been a Metro enthusiast ‘since the launch at the NEC in 1980...queuing up at the stand waiting to sit in this award-winning car’.
The Austin 152 and its Morris J2 twin deserve to be remembered for many reasons. In 1956, they were BMC’s first unitary-construction vans and familiar sights long after production ended in 1967. And they also provided the basis for some delightful motor caravans, such as Steve’s Paralanian motor home
The A90 Atlantic was one of the undoubted stars of the 1948 London Motor Show. For many visitors to Earls Court, a drophead with a “Jewelescent” paint finish seemed wholly removed from the fog, the damp and queuing for their bacon ration. This was the car Austin intended to appeal to affluent drivers in California with its ‘sports car performance with saloon car comfort’.
‘I absolutely love this particular car which took me over 20 years to secure, so it’s going nowhere’. Ian’s 1975 Austin Allegro 1300 Super is certainly an eye-catching machine, not least the paint finish – ‘“Citron Yellow”; a rare survivor and a colour that is seen on MGs of the same period and the Jubilee Marinas’.
There are those rare occasions when your rare and desirable classic turns out to be even rarer and more desirable than you first imagined. For example, 37 years ago, Edward acquired a 1969 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk.
Local summer shows and fairs are so often a source of fascinating machinery. You might attend a fete with a vague expectation of bookstalls selling copies of Harry Potter for fifty pence, the delights of “Ferret World”, and a brass band playing In The Mood. But, then, you note a display of cars in a far corner of the field.