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Below are photographs and stories surrounding the motley examples of old car and truck I've owned since passing my driving test way way back in the late 1980s, when I was piloting the A40 Mk1 with L plates dangling from the glistening chromework. Some are still in my fleet today, whilst the rest, alas, have been and gone. First was my A40 Mk1 - it's been in the family now for over 40 years, and since I've had it, its shared the driveway with all shapes and sizes of classic motor car. Click to find out more ! [Classic Cars Home]  [Garage Diary]  [Childhood car memories]

Most of the jalopies I've owned in the last 20+ years have been project cars, parts donors for a car I've been running (eg a few of the Volvos and a pair of knack'd Spitfires) or been given to me by owners desperate to clear their driveway! Very few of the old motors were bought as runners, and even fewer came with MOTs. I've grouped them up into semi-presentable vehicles or ones that I worked on (or am working on now) with a view to them going back on the road, and then a second separate group, for the rough-as-old-boots vehicles - most of which were broken for parts, although a few (including the SAAB van) survived into preservation in their new owners' hands. My other half's A30 and MX5s are in their own group too.
 

Cars that ran, or were very close to running, 1985 - to date...

Ashley 11721961 Ashley 1172, Ford E93A 1172cc sidevalve based 'special' bought at an autojumble in Nov '01. I hadn't gone with the intention of buying another car, but with the money from the A40 Somerset sale the day before burning a hole in my pocket, one look at this Ashley, stuffed with period tuning parts from Wooller, EB, Aquaplane and others, was enough ..
Austin 10/4 cabrio1934 Austin 10/4, found online and in surprisingly sound condition, not having been in regular use since the mid sixties. It is a 2 door cabriolet version, fitted with a three position folding hood assembly. The coachwork is in pretty good order, and the trim ok too ..
Austin 10 Cambridge car1938 Austin 10 Cambridge, another pre-war Austin turns up, still owned by the same family from new. This car, a 1938 Cambridge, is totally original and has been off the road since the mid-1970s ..
Austin 71928 Austin 7 Ulster Special, a one-off discovered in an old tin shed where it had rested since 1959. It incorporates a late-vintage Chummy chassis, with the main body tub from an EA Sports (aka Ulster) 2 seater. If anyone recognises it, perhaps from a 750 MC magazine from the 50s, please let me know ...
Austin A35 van1959 Austin A35 van, a very sound one-owner van, with rear seat and side window conversion - Countryman style. It was found in the wooden garage that had always been its home for 50+ years, and, for a change, local to me rather than hundreds of miles away ...
Austin A40 Farina Mk11960 Austin A40 Mk1, bought new by my Great Uncle & Aunt in 1960 and kept right until 1987 when he gave up driving. After a brief stint as mum's daily car, I took it on and still own it to this day .. I am looking for new BMC front wings by the way, so if you can help please get in touch!
Austin A40 Farina Mk21961 Austin A40 Mk2, purchased late 2001 after a local chap got in touch asking if I'd be interested in buying it from him, having been in his family for many years. I rescued it, recognising it as a rare early Mk2 (948cc) with the desirable Mini Cooper style 2 tone trim ..
Austin A40 Devon1949 Austin A40 Devon, bought in 2005 as I no longer had a roadworthy British car, having sold my Standard 10 earlier in the year and withdrawal symptoms were setting in. There was only one thing for it, find a suitable British car in decent condition ..
Austin A40 Pickup1953 Austin A40 Devon Pickup, purchased from its long-term home up in sunny Scotland, it was collected on a freezing January day ..
Austin A40 Pickup1951 Austin A40 10cwt Pickup, found in 2007 and in reasonable condition for a 54+ year old pickup truck. I needed another old pick-up like a hole in the head, but I couldn't help it ..
Austin A40 Somerset1954 Austin A40 Somerset, acquired early 2001 from a guy in Huddersfield after having swapped a BMW of all things for it. A catalogue of character-building breakdowns followed, eventually culminating in it being reliable after a great deal of time was spent sorting the ignition out ..
Austin A551959 Austin A55 Cambridge Mk2, bought from its third owner, an 83 year old gent in London who had decided to give up driving. I had been on the lookout for an interesting, usable classic, for some time, so this Austin seemed well worth going to look at ..
Bedford UteBedford Utes, a tale that began in Feb 2006 and ended up with 3 Bedford Utes (2x PC and 1x JC) being purchased in New South Wales, stored, then exported from Australia and brought over to the UK, arriving in November 2006 ..
Daimler 15 CoupeDaimler 15 Coupe, found tucked away in a lock-up garage, where it had lain since the 1960s out of sight of anyone. I was fortunate enough to hear about this coachbuilt motor-car, bodied by Mulliners of Birmingham, and lengthy negotiations saw the car's purchase come together ..
Dodge VK62B1940 Dodge racing car transporter (ex RAF) bought in 1995. I got this not knowing much of its history. Since then I've slowly been working on it, accumulating all manner of stories of its life from the guys who ran it as team mechanics in the 1940s and 1950s, when it carried a '30s Alfa ex-Grand Prix car ..
Thames 10cwt van1954 Ford E83W van. Another first for me, acquired only a couple of months after the wooden back pickup. Generally in very solid condition, this part dismantled Thames came along and was too good to miss out on, resulting in a lengthy trailer journey to Southend for its collection ..
Ford Thames E83W pickup1955 Ford E83W pickup, my first E83 W truck, this one I found looking sorry for itself in a field in '89. I've now owned this 3 times, and currently lives with a friend of mine not far from here ..
Ford Thames E83W pickup1956 Ford E83W pickup, my 2nd example of the rare steel bodied pickup truck, bought early '93 and owned ever since. Since then I've accumulated vast amounts of old literature for this type of old pickup, and would like to find pics of E83Ws at work in the 40s and 50s ..
S1 Jaguar XJ12L1972 Jaguar XJ12L Series One, a lovely old Jag that I bought in 1995. I was out of work at the time, but as soon as I heard that it was up for sale, I moved heaven and earth to get the cash together to buy my first, and favourite, series 1 XJ, this time quad-carb V12. RAR 115L where are you now? I sold it to the Wirral, and spied in October 2004 on ebay for sale ..
S1 Jaguar XJ6 swb1972 Jaguar XJ6 Series One, run during 2002 having been bought off ebay. This was the 3rd Series 1 Jag XJ that I'd had, and I ran it during the summer. The short wheelbase has always been my favourite XJ, and the colour I felt set it off a treat. The car was sold later in 2002 to a Royal Navy chap down south, who has further improved it ..
Morris J2 pickup truck1957 Morris J2 Pickup. Already owning a few old products of the BMC stable, including commercials, news of this '57 Morris J2 sounded interesting. A one-owner from new vehicle, and off the road for 30 or so years, it had to be worth a look ..
Standard Ten1957 Standard 10 Bought in April 2003 this was the latest of my Standard 10 purchases, this one featuring rare Standrive 2 pedal control, replacing the rusty green Ten, even coming with a current MOT - I kept it for 2 years, til I needed room in my garage for the black A40 Devon ..
Standard Ten Companion1962 Standard 10 Companion An evening's perusal of ebay led to this rare Standard Ten Companion heading homewards. The idea of a small load-carrier had been on my mind for a while so this seemed like quite a sensible buy really ..
1967 Spitfire Mk31967 Triumph Spitfire Mk3, my 2nd classic, and the first I rebuilt from a crusty pile of mouldering parts when I was still at school, funded in part my selling my O level computing project to a business PC Computing magazine in 1987! Sold in 1992, and resurfaced in 2002 not far from here and still in existence, last heard of enjoying a total rebuild in 2003 ..
Modified Triumph Spitfire1968 Triumph GT6 Mk2/Spit Mk3, basically a Mk3 Spit body on a GT6 Mk2 rotoflex chassis, fitted with tweaked 2.5 6 cylinder Triumph engine from a 2500S saloon, 1' further back in the chassis, which burnt rubber like a hooligan, although sadly prone to destroying UJs with great ease. Sold to Clitheroe, but where is GRO 536G now? I'd be interested to know!! ..
Volvo 1211969 Volvo 121, bought for �50 in the same village I found my first E83W in the Conway valley. A 4 door 121, it had spent much of its life in North Wales after being registered in Liverpool. I ran YKA 750J for a few years before selling it on, to someone in Manchester if I recall ..
Volvo 122S 2dr1968 Volvo 122S, I bought this nice 122S Amazon after having seen it for years on an elderly couple's front driveway in Cheadle Hulme in 1999. They agreed to sell so long as I returned it to the road, which I did, running it as my daily car in all weathers. Eventually I sold it on, only to buy it back, restored, a few years later ..
Wolseley 16/601964 Wolseley 16/60. An accidental acquisition really, it belonged to the hubby of a lass I once worked with. They moved house to Wales and the 16/60 was still on their driveway, so asked me if I'd help them sell it and split the proceeds. The car drove nicely and had 4 days MOT on it so I ended up buying it in Feb 2004 as a quick do-er upper, to save it from the banger racing brigade ..

Rusty row - scrappers & project cars

Austin A351958ish A35 2dr and one of the rustiest vehicles I've ever owned, given for free and broken for spares c1997. The paintjob, applied years earlier, apparently courtesy of some spare pink paint left over from the owner redecorating their bathroom in this colour .. it didn't stop it rusting alas, and was broken for spares ..
S1 Daimler XJ6 Sovereign1972 Daimler Sovereign 4.2 XJ6 swb. Bought and sold in 2001, this was a bit rough around the edges, and the interior had more damp in it than the Titanic. However, mechanically it was very tight and, when I saw the asking price for this MOTd XJ, I had to have it, running it for some time then passing it on later for restoration ..
Fordson E83W pickup1946 Fordson E83W wooden back pickup, the first of this style of body I've had. This one was bought in 2004, but with 2 more pickups bought early in 2005 the reluctant decision was made to pass it on, once I'd fitted some secondhand panels to it that I bought recently ..
Fordson1948ish E83W pickup. This one turned up just 4 days after the flatbed (above) and was bought mainly because it had received a host of new mechanical parts during an overhaul some years ago. Despite being left outside for a few years, condition isn't too bad, shown here after a session with the jet wash ..
Thames flatbed1956/7 Ford E83W flatbed. Bought March 2005 this nice little flatbed truck. First of two that were acquired early in 2005. Collection was made during a cold snowy journey down south, but worth it in the end as you can never have too many E83Ws around the place, I think ..
Ford Model Y193? Ford Model Y. I stumbled across these crumbling remains in 2005, and agreed to buy it from the current owners of the house on whose land it was left. A few small parts were salvaged but it was rotten as a really rotten pear so didn't give up much of use ..
1172 sidevalve Ford sportscar196? Ford Special, yet another Ford powered Special of the 1960s, this one acquired in 2004 originally just for its Aquaplane equipped 100E engine and box, however the whole rolling chassis (sans remaining panels) was left completely alone and a different result ensued ..
Nickri Champion1961 Nickri Champion. This car was bought allegedly as a Falcon Caribbean early in 2004, so thought the previous owner of 30 years, but by accident I discovered that I'd bought myself a Nickri instead. Doesn't seem there are too many of these originally E93A-based 'Ford Specials' surviving. This one is on a rotten Herald chassis ..
SAAB 95 2 stroke van1962 SAAB 95 van 2 stroke, 1 of only 3 imported by SAAB GB in 1962, and rescued from certain doom behind a long-gone SAAB dealership in Stockport. This is the only surviving UK 2 stroke bullnose van in the UK, and was rescued despite floor rot of biblical proportions. Now in preservation ..
Standard 81957 Standard 8. This handsome little car arrived on my doorstep in June 2005. Bought locally, I had thought of using it as a parts donor for my Standard 10, however I couldn't bring myself to break the little thing, so sold it on for what I paid for it, to a guy restoring a 10 ..
Standard 101955 Standard 10, bought as a cheapie early in 2003, this old Standard 10 4dr saloon joined the fleet. Initial impressions were favourable, but on closer inspection is was a rough old thing with serious rot underneath ..
A wrecked Spitfire1967 Triumph Spitfire Mk3, given it in 2000 following a conversation with someone I worked with, whose dad had this decayed old Spitfire collapsing in his garage and wanted rid. Never more than a spares car, I rescued it and swapped it for an old 50s motor racing poster and some new A40 Farina spares ..
Triumph Spitfire MkIII1969 Spitfire Mk3, bought for �50 & broken for bits, this original dead Spitfire donated several vital organs to the rebuild of KED 453F, my first Spitty, including the difficult to find original Mk3 spec engine. The mortal remains were sold on for �25 to a Triumph specialist who wanted the chassis for some reason ..
Vauxhall 12hp ASY1934 Vauxhall 12 ASY, acquired via a swap for my unique SAAB van in 1992, and sold on three years later when I needed to raise some funds to get my 2.5 Spitfire back on the road. According to DVLA, AND 300 is still around, which is good news ..
1970 Volvo 1201970 Volvo 120, bought in 1991 as yet another �50 nail, this one found in Autotrader and irresistable of course. Problem was it had no front suspension on it and was very dismantled. Time passed and I didn't end up doing much with it .. so passed it on to another Volvo owner I knew, who cut it up for bits .. sob ..
Another Volvo 1201970 Volvo 120, another �50 breaker, a late model Amazon, bought from Handforth in Dec 1992 as a total wreck, acting as a donor car for the rebuild of my first 121, the blue one, the rotten shell being carted off for scrapping once I'd pulled all the usable bits off it ..
1968 Volvo 1211967 Volvo 121, a lashed up rotbox bought specifically to donate its nearly-new front wings and other newish bits to my green 122S, the parts finally being pressed into service a few years later by its new owner .. the rest was scrapped ..
Volvo 122S rally car 4dr1964 Volvo 122S rally car. I'd first seen this competition prepared Volvo Amazon a few years earlier, when I was running my first 4dr 121. I bought it but a look underneath confirmed a crumbling sub-structure so sold it for parts to a bloke in Canada, who needed parts for his rally car ..

Other oddball old stuff, caravans and so on

The Fairey Gannet belonging to dad and I being moved by trailer in 2003c195? Fairey Gannet, co-purchased with dad in 2001 to restore. Yeah I know it isn't a car, but I like it so it's here! Found looking unloved behind a museum building down south, we decided this would look nice at a local former-RAF airfield that we had involvement with .. if anyone has a rear canopy going spare, please get in touch!! A local ATC squadron are giving it some TLC as I type.
Portafold caravan1960s Portafold folding van, quite a nice little folding caravan from the late 1950s, this an early one with the fins on the roof and a tubular chassis. I owned this and used it for camping at classic car shows, then sold it on to a collector who has fully restored it to original spec, and can be seen at local shows every year looking mint.
Wessex caravan1949 Wessex folding van, another old folding caravan, this one bought in 2006 from its owners of 10 years. Quite an unusual little thing, would look great behind my '49 Devon. More info in the classic caravans section.

Slightly more modern, daily use stuff (not classics) owned and driven since 1987...classics one day? hmmm..

BMW 520i touring1995 BMW 520i touring. I bought this from dad as a newer load lugger to replace the Merc in 2004, but its slightly smaller size & engine, when compared to the Merc estates I'd had previously, meant it didn't stay long ..
BMW 750iL1987 BMW 750 iL (UK Motorshow car in 1987). This was my first V12 BMW and it was a fantastic car, the acceleration and cruising ability was the mutts essentials, especially as it was the high spec iL model. It went in 2002, to be followed 6 months later by an end-of-line E32 750i built in 1994 750i..
BMW M535i E281985 BMW 535i then briefly in 2002 dad's old 1986 535i , the red one dressed up as an M535i and went like stink. Found on a car lot, without MOT and looking down at heal. Bought it for a snip, put a new exhaust on it and got it MOT'd. This provided great everyday transport for a while, until being swapped for the Austin Somerset in 2001! .. shrewd eh? err ....
Mercedes 230TE1988 Mercedes 230TE. Another not-quite-classic plummeting towards obscurity, however its a useful old barge and during 2004 acts as hack to save wear and tear on nicer cars, plus being a 2.3 is quite economical especially compared to the BM which was in semi-retirement at the time. An new MOT was earnt, but made way shortly after for a more pokey replacement estate ..
Mercedes 300TE1987 Mercedes 300TE. I found this old load-lugger in the local newspaper, and decided to get it as with the 3.0 straight 6 engine, it'd be a much better towcar than the slightly weedy 2.3 which it replaced. It went very well and was great for hauling old car parts and garden rubbish to the tip ..
Mercedes E280 Estate1996 Mercedes E280 TE. Once the BMW had gone I set to looking for another 124 series Merc. The 230TE and 300TE in 2004 confirmed that these estates are great old tools, so a long search turned up this facelifted E280 version, powered by a 24v 2.8 engine with auto transmission ..
SAAB 900 Turbo1985 Saab 900 Turbo, bought in 1997 and sold in 1999 to make way for BMW 750, this was my first foray into running a more modern type of car. Quite an entertaining vehicle, and great for carting junk to the tip, it followed on from an earlier 900 turbo that dad owned years earlier, which must have opened my eyes to these great swedish cars ..
Volvo 760GLE1985 Volvo 760GLE. Ok not exactly classic, but not entirely modern either .. this fantastically useful old crock was bought from an online auction in 2003 to make moving house a whole lot easier - a 2.8 V6 with towbar came in very useful in shifting lorryloads of stuff to our new house, and was somewhat reluctantly sold on late in 2003 once its job was done ..

My other half's cars...

Austin A301955 Austin A30, bought by my better half back in 1996. This car had seen restoration work prior to our ownership, and was run as a daily car for a few years. This car was laid up for a few years, and sold on in 2002, ending up in a new life in Atlanta USA, where it receives lots of interest ..
Mazda MX5 Miata1990 Mazda MX5, bought by 'er indoors in 2002 when she finally grew bored of driving around in dull moderns while her A30 was off the road, this MX-5 has proved to be a fun car, despite being the 1.6 version - to my mind a Spitfire that doesn't leak, an MGB that doesn't rot - in theory ..
Mazda MX5 Eunos1992 Mazda Eunos. A new arrival in the summer of 2005, replacing the UK-spec car above. We got to hear about this import and decided to go for it. The plan had been to look out for another UK spec MX5, but those we looked at all had rusty, or bodged up, rear sills, so we went for this import simply because they don't salt the roads in Japan! ..

VW Golf 1993 Escort 1985 Vauxhall Carlton Ford Fiesta picture
1985 VW Golf, reliable but bloody boring .. nuf sed, sold '01 1993 Ford Escort, used when the roads were grubby, replaced a rusty 1984 Ghia 1985 Vauxhall Carlton - right shed, what was I thinking??? scrapped 1984 Fiesta Mk2 & '88 Mk3 - boring, rotted out, monumentally dull

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