Austin 1300 – Wow!

Many moons ago when I was young and stupid as opposed to the current old and senile, I bought a bad car.

What! I hear you say. A bad car – what was it?

OK. I used to be a member of the Selby Motor Club and we met weekly at Bubwith Aerodrome, in the evening. Another member had a souped up Austin 1300 estate; black with tinted windows and extended wings to accommodate the wider tyres and a rorty exhaust. It was a thing of beauty, although I only ever saw it in the dark under the car park lights. I HAD to buy it.

A deal was done for what I recall was about £500 and the car was MINE! My best chum Graham Lister gave me a lift the next evening to York to conclude the deal. His comment upon clocking the car was “WTF”. I ignored him, I was in car nirvana (again). The vendor mentioned that it needed the oil topping up on a regular basis, but I also ignored the implicit warning.

I drove it home, god it felt fast and handled well, and the noise from the exhaust was exhilarating. I imagined that I saw a little smoke too, but it was dark and I put any thoughts of trouble aside.

The next morning when I awoke and saw the car from the bedroom window I felt a real sense of excitement, she was stunning. I dashed downstairs to take her for a drive. Closer inspection in the cold light of day revealed the poor quality bodywork where the wings had been extended – hand crafted filler abounded everywhere. Everywhere except where the rust was showing, and the runs from the poorly applied paint just added to the poor girl’s dismal appearance.

Worse was to come. The engine produced some blue smoke on starting and when I put the foot down on the open road a veritable smoke screen was produced, so much so that following cars slowed or even stopped. The brakes didn’t, and the suspension failed to suspend correctly. It was a disaster. Subsequent inspection revealed that there was no real compression on any cylinders, oil in the header tank, leaking shockers; the list went on and on.

The local scrap man put it and me out of our misery.