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1924 Seabrook 9/19
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Joined: 31 Jul 2009
Posts: 1522
Location: Market Warsop, Nottinghamshire

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:26 pm    Post subject: 1924 Seabrook 9/19 Reply with quote

It was sometime in the early 1970s when I got a phone call from my brother, who was then living up in Durham. Did I know anything about a car called a Seabrook? Well, no, I'd never heard of the make, but I did have a growing collection of Light Car & Cyclecar magazines, and a painstaking trawl through them revealed this rather striking car:

It transpired that a colleague at work had told my brother of a car which his father-in-law owned, high up in the Durham moors, which could be removed if we wanted it. So a date was set, and my father and I set off for the north in a borrowed Land Rover and trailer to see what we could find. We met up with my brother and continued to a small hamlet in Weardale, where we found the address he had been given.

It turned out that the farmer had owned the car since the early 1930s, and when war came he was able to get a petrol ration by registering it as a tractor, which indeed was what it had been used for ... until the back axle finally gave up under the strain, and the car was left where it had broken down. Unfortunately this was at the bottom edge of a field, and over the years silt had gradually drained down the hillside and virtually buried the remains:

Still, we had come all that way, and we weren't leaving empty-handed! With the help of a tractor the remains were dragged out, and we then spent another hour or so sifting the soil for any bits that might have fallen off; this eventually included the one and only door lock and handle, several bits of body ironmongery, and the nickel silver radiator cap.

The radiator itself had gone for scrap probably during the war or shortly afterwards, but the owner did produce the magneto, which had been in the airing cupboard for the past thirty years! The windscreen had also been removed, but that was now installed as a roof light in one of the outbuildings, and we couldn't have it! It is probably still there!

Having got it home, we then spent several years looking at it, wondering what we could do with it; it was in a really poor state, in fact had it been a more common car like a bullnose Morris, there would have been no question, it would have been broken for the few salvageable spares, and that would have been the end of it.

But it wasn't; in all probability it was, and indeed still is, the one and only survivor. So we found a suitable barn to house it, and half forgot about it.
And then I saw an advert in Exchange & Mart, offering the radiator for a 'Seabreeze' car; that sounded too much like a coincidence, so an appointment was made to meet up with the seller and his radiator at a VSCC Silverstone meeting, and sure enough there was an unmistakable Seabrook radiator. The seller was an Australian, Murray Rainey, who had moved to the UK and brought goodness knows how much vintage stuff with him, including this radiator. Well,it was coming home with me, wasn't it, even if it was far too much money!

So now the remains had a face, and was duly photographed in its lair:

Eventually I had to admit it was way beyond my capabilities to do anything with it, so with some regret I passed my half-share over to my brother, and eventually he dismantled it and took it back to his home, now in Derbyshire; and that, I thought, was the end of that.

But no, over the years Tony has been slowly chipping away at it, making up new chassis sections, and about ten years ago it was beginning to look like it might yet see the road again:

But then along came a Frazer Nash restoration project, and the Seabrook disappeared to the back of the garage again. The 'Nash is now back on the road, but there doesn't seem to be any more progress on the Seabrook; maybe another ten years ...?

As a footnote to this tale, here is what it once looked like (number 18 on the right):

in the garage: 1931 Austin 7, 1953 Lancia Appia
recently departed: 1967 Singer Chamois, 1914 Saxon, 1930 Morris Cowley, 1936 BSA Scout, 1958 Lancia Appia coupe, 1922 Star 11.9 ... the list goes on!
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 20826
Location: North-west UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great story, it deserved its own thread rather than disappearing within the other biggie.

Rick (OCC Admin)
Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 1142
Location: 100 miles from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really good story, Mike. A fascinating tale about a very rare vehicle.
Thanks for posting it. Dane.
Dane- roverdriver but not a Viking.
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