Austins headed for town for national gathering

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Photo: Vintage Austin Register event organisers Owen Wilson, Kerry Clements, Brigitte Glasson and Teresa Clements check out Mr Wilson's 1935 Austin Seven.

By Mick Jensen

Dozens of old Austins will descend on Ashburton next weekend for a national gathering.

Some 42 cars and 76 people are already confirmed for the Austins Over Ashburton event organised by the Vintage Austin Register club.

The get together runs from February 9-11 and the oldest car expected is a 1924 Austin 12/4.

Pre 1939 Austins from around the country will be showcased to the public at a show and shine exhibition at the Ashburton Vintage Car Club rooms on the Sunday between 10am and noon.

Car owners will enjoy a barbecue dinner at the club rooms on Friday night before a car rally and dinner at the MSA on Saturday.

Ashburton Austin enthusiast Owen Wilson, who has been co-ordinating the event alongside other club members from Christchurch, said the gathering was about sharing knowledge, enthusiasm and fellowship.

Saturday’s driving tour would go to the Wakanui area and finish with a visit to the Ashburton Aviation Museum.

Mr Wilson said the early Austins were neat little cars.

His was a 1935 Austin Seven, which was the most popular model of the era.

He also had an Austin A60 ute from 1970.

“I gave up owning vintage cars for a while when my boys were young, but I bought my Austin Seven in 1998 and did it up a bit.

“I used to drive it a lot around the South Island when I first got it, but I use it mostly locally now.”

The Austin Motor Company Limited was founded in 1905 by Herbert Austin at Longbridge, near Birmingham, England.

During the World War 2 Austin also made trucks and aircraft, including Avro Lancaster bombers.

In 1952, the company merged with long-term rival Morris becoming The British Motor Corporation (BMC) Limited. BMC became part of the British Leyland group in 1970.