Party for an Austin

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Having some time ago commemorated the first running of his Angus-Sanderson with a memorable party, Mike Worthington Williams did it again for the sixtieth birthday of his everyday transport, a 1927 Austin Twenty Carlton saloon. It was also the cat’s birthday . . .

Vintage and classic car folk like to get together even if no competition motoring is involved, and a variety of pre-1961 cars assembled at Capel Iwan, many from Pembrokeshire and Dyfed. We went in the Austin Ulster Facsimile (it covered 177 trouble-free miles, cruising at 50 mph) since this was an Austin day. The owner of an A7 box saloon had the same idea, displaying a big notice on its screen: “Happy Birthday to Daddy”.

I was given a short ride in the 20, which is well-used and cosmetically-unrestored but is going splendidly — a tribute to Sir Herbert, and to Longbridge when they built real Austins. This was nostalgic, as I knew the four-cylinder Austin 20 in Welsh lanes as a motor-mad schoolboy . . .

Fifteen well-assorted Bentleys on a BDC Welsh Rally were there, led by Johnnie Thomas in the 41/2-litre Gurney Nutting tourer, which was the hack car to the Le Mans team in the days of their later, great victories; and the ex-Lycett 41/2-litre was giving demo runs.

Also present were Carter’s 1912 12/26 Sunbeam, a Tickford Austin 12/4, an early 11 hp Humber saloon, a smart 1914 Buick tourer (ohv of course) effectively guarded by two alert dogs, an Ansaldo fabric saloon, a sleeve-valve Willys-Knight saloon which did not smoke, a two-seater 10/23 Talbot and a pvt Alvis saloon.

Of motorcycles there was a belt-drive Calthorpe-JAP and a Scott sidecar outfit, and Denis Rem had brought his self-made Merlin-Arrest with a 3.4 jaguar engine in an adapted Daimler chassis and his own open, slab-tank bodywork (this involved a special chassis cross-member and revised tensioning of the jaguar timing chains). Quite a party! WB

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