Ben Coleman, contributor to Practical Classics magazine and friend of Vintage Tyres reveals his latest project...
I’m not entirely sure why, but the Austin A30, and its A35 successor, make me smile. I reckon that motoring should be fun, and although these tiny Austins were built primarily as economical transportation, they scream ‘fun’ with a capital ‘F’. I’ve been lucky to drive a couple of A30s and A35s in the past, and have always ended up grinning from ear to ear.
Perhaps it’s the cheeky looks, which resemble an Austin Hereford that’s shrunk in the wash, or the charming way that these cars drive, that makes them so appealing. Or maybe it’s the A30/A35’s surprising racing pedigree (just take a look on YouTube at the epic all-Austin track action from the 2016 Goodwood Revival). In the spirit of the immortal pre-war Austin Seven that came before it, the A30 and A35 seem to add up to more than the sum of their parts. It also can’t be bad that all manner of famous faces have been behind the wheel of these cheerful cars, from Graham Hill and James Hunt, to Wallace and Gromit and the Muppets.
Whatever the reason, I’ve always wanted one. My chance finally came when talking to an A30-owning friend. Having grown up in the same town, I remembered spotting a white A30 four-door driving around several times over the years. My friend knew exactly whose car it was, but confided that, due to the owner’s ill health, it had been off the road for a while. There was even a danger that the A30 could end up being broken for spares.
Before you could say ‘not another restoration project’, I’d been put in touch with the owner, had bought the little car, and had scooped it up onto a trailer. I’m very excited about this new project, but I expect it’s going to be a bit of a challenge to put back on the road.