1929 Austin 7 Special
The photograph here shows my first car, a 1929 Austin 7 Special. I bought it from a chap in Rock Grove for the princely sum of £5/0/0. I did it up and sold it to the local Scoutmaster, for £25/0/0 in 1957, just before we left Brighton. The photograph was taken in St Mark’s Street, where the Scouts had a yard for storing all their tents and other equipment. The VX registration number comes from Essex and it was originally a van before being converted to a two-seater after the WWII, when cars were in short supply. Hundreds of Austin 7s were converted like this in the early 1950s. There were no end of firms that you could buy all the parts from, including whole bodies. Later on into the 1960s you could get even streamlined fibreglass bodies to fit on Austin 7 and Ford 10 chassis’.
My best friend’s antics
My best friend then, Laurie Blundell from Coldean, also had an A7 Special which he bought from someone in the RAF who had built it using old aluminium from aircraft, and that was very lightweight. Apparently after a boozy night out four of them picked it up and put it in the middle of the CO’s rose garden. I expect they got put on a charge for that escapade. We did that car up at the garage too, and drove it back to Coldean over the downs; neither of us had a driving licence or anything else. Laurie later got nicked for racing it round the back roads of Coldean, and was disqualified from getting a licence for a year.