Another Baby Austin

In my unending quest to make connections with my past, I came across this magnificent machine at Mike Barry’s Motorcycle Museum, Scaleby, near Carlisle, Cumbria.  Any time I take a ride out for a chat with Mike is never wasted:

1931 Austin 7

The attraction of this vehicle is that it was probably manufactured around the same time as the one proudly displayed by my paternal grandparents and featured in an earlier post:

Mummy Daddy and Baby

My dad will have sat in a passenger seat very similar to this although, judging by his lack of interest in all things mechanical (an industrial chemist by profession), I doubt he spent much time looking under the bonnet:

Austin 7 – the interior

Austin 7 – the engine

Mike has attached the following to the windscreen:  This car has been donated to the museum by Dougie Hargreaves from Carlisle and I will restore it when time allows.  The engine has been rebuilt and running.  I have fitted a new windscreen and the lights and brakes are now working.  I have a new clutch to fit and then it will be roadworthy!  The car is an Austin 7 – 1931 – 750cc – three speed.

Among the documentation for the car is a 1940 Ration Book for the months of August, September and October 1940.  The coupons in this book authorise the furnishing and acquisition of the number of units of motor spirit specified on the coupons subject to the conditions appearing thereon.  The issue of the Ration Book does not guarantee the holder any minimum quantity of motor spirit and the book may be cancelled at any time without notice.  Any person furnishing or acquiring motor spirit otherwise than in accordance with the conditions on which these coupons are issued will be liable to prosecution … Private Walker, take note.

And for those wondering what else can be found in this ultimate man cave, an image of just part of Mike’s private collection:

Motorcycle Museum – part of the collection

Baby Austin

This has been prompted by the Unusual arrivals post at Applecrosslife on 10th May; among some exotic machinery which had successfully negotiated the Pass of the Cattle was a Baby Austin Seven.  Not only had it managed to climb the pass but it had travelled from Carlisle, a distance of some 350 miles – probably further, as I doubt it would be permitted to take the direct motorway route.

This is the same type of car that my paternal grandparents are standing next to in this photograph taken by my Dad outside their home in Andover.  It is from a small photograph album made up of 3 x 2 inch contact prints which he put together as a young boy – they are individually captioned in a manner consistent with a 10-12 year old; this one – Mummy Daddy and Baby:

Mummy Daddy and BabyAnother photo features a Ford Model A and by coincidence there was something similar among the visitors to Applecross.  This one is captioned – Certainly ‘ot but the year’s wrong:

Ford Model AThe Baby Austin Seven was produced from 1922 until 1939 and in its time was the most popular mass produced car manufactured in Britain  The brand was held in such affection that when the Mini was first produced, Austin were keen to establish a link with their heritage.  Like so many others, my first car was a second hand Mini – registered in 1963 with the registration 6428 VR, my sky blue version had a badge on the rear boot – Austin Seven.  I should have kept it, if only for the registration.