47 years abandoned and it starts…..

Just a very short video (modified to fit this site) of the 1933 Austin 10 we have named ROO, and the starting of the motor after 47 years of neglect. To ensure it all worked, we carried out a check and replacment of anything found broken, seized or missing.

Without spending too much time explaining this immediate discovery, I’m going to list some of the bizarre wording from 1933 Austin Cars sales booklets and mechnical instructions….. words like :-

Strangler, Choke, Throttle….. Accumulator, Regulator, Commutator. “Don’t be cruel to the Starter” Strainer, Shifting spanner, Banjo, “The strangler knob should be IN all the way”!!!! Naked Lights, “Horn becomes uncertain, giving only a choking sound” Drumming of the Mud Wings, Frictional Characturistics, “a backlash between the Worm and Worm-wheel”

My goodness, with that lot, I could write a novel……………

Another old-timer added…

Now there are THREE….. Joining the original Austin 7 RP – which we have called ‘Frankie’ (after Franknestein). The EBAY find – ‘Roo’ (the kangarooing Austin 10); and now ‘AGU’ – a well known 1933 Austin 10 chrome rad’ saloon

This is the view that attracted me to hunt this baby down

It’s not that I hate ‘Modern’ cars, but quite honestly it’s like driving around in your wallet. The very last ‘modern’ I owned (two weeks ago) – a Volvo ‘Car of the Year’ XC60 monster [far too big, too costly and too sophisticated – to say the least] it actually cost me £2500 depreciation to own for 12 months, plus £750 insurance and £144 road tax, and to add to the insult – was diesel.

Prior to that ‘modern’ was a beautiful XK8 Jag’, bought with only 15,000 miles on the clock and nearly 20 years old…… yet another brilliant piece of British hardware but like a ‘BOAT’ [Break Out Another Thousand]

So how can I be wrong (to drive ‘Vintage’)? £100 insurance, no MOT, no road tax and an appreciating bit of British motorting history, and if the worse comes to the end of Vintage – electrofornication……

A little bit of history……..

Produced from 1932 to 1947. There were around 290,000 ’10/4’s made.

The Austin 10 was a small car made by Austin. It was launched in 1932 and was Austin’s best selling car in the 1930s and continued in production, with upgrades, until 1947. It fitted in between the “baby” Austin 7 which had been introduced in 1922 and the Austin 12 which had been updated in 1931.

The design of the car was conservative with a pressed steel body built on a cross braced chassis. The chassis was bought in and was designed to give a low overall height to the car by dipping down by 2.75 inches between the axles. 

The 1,125-cc four-cylinder side-valve engine producing 21 bhp drove the rear wheels through a four-speed gearbox and open drive shaft to a live rear axle. Suspension was by half-elliptic springs all round and the brakes were cable operated. The electrical system was 6 volt. 

For the first year only, a four-door saloon was made in two versions. The basic model cost £155 and was capable of reaching 55 mph with an economy of 34 mpg; it was rapidly followed by the Sunshine or De-Luxe with opening roof and leather upholstery at £168.

1933 saw the saloons joined by an open two-seater or “Open Road” tourer, a “Colwyn” cabriolet and a van. A sports model, the 65 mph, 30 bhp “Ripley” joined the range in 1934. Mechanical upgrades for 1934 included a stronger chassis, synchromesh on the top two gears and 12-volt electrics.

The first styling change came in late 1934 with a change to the radiator when the plated surround or cowl was replaced by one painted in body colour and it was given a slight slope. Synchromesh was added to second gear and “semaphore” type indicators were standardised. The saloon was given the name “Lichfield” and got a protruding boot which enclosed the spare wheel.

A new body style was added in 1936 with the six light (three windows down each side, with one behind the rear door) “Sherbourne” but the big change came in 1937 with the almost streamlined “Cambridge” saloon and “Conway” cabriolet. Other changes included Girling rod brakes, 16-inch steel disc wheels replaced the 19-inch wires and more room for passengers by moving the engine forwards by 4 inches. Top speed rose to 60 mph . These changes did not appear on the open cars, which no longer included the Ripley sports, until 1938 when all cars also gained an aluminium cylinder head on the engine.

A virtually new car was launched in 1939 with the body shell incorporating the floor to give a semi-unitary structure. The car was completely restyled by Argentine born Ricardo “Dick” Burzi who had joined Austin from Lancia in 1929. The bonnet was hinged at the rear, replacing the side-opening type on the old car and the radiator grille became rounded and there was no cabriolet. 

In spite of the outbreak of World War II, production of the Austin 10 continued in large numbers but there were no tourers but there was a pick-up. In all during the war 53,000 of the saloons, pick-ups and vans, the last two unofficially known as “Tillies”, were made.

With peace in 1945 a change was immediately made to civilian production but with the post-war financial crisis they were nearly all exported with the first one arriving in the United States in July 1945. 

The car continued in production in saloon form only until October 1947 to be replaced by the A40. The van also re-appeared post-war with a slightly larger 1,237-cc engine.

Yippee, the motor and batteries arrive…….

It’s been emotional (joke) but lengthy….. at last the whole drive system – motor, batteries, BMS, connections and wiring have arrived. I’ve put a cup & saucer on the HUGE motor to give some perspective, but it does say “6Kw, 48 volt, 1750 revs” which I calculate to be 8hp, so we are still working on an 8hp exchange.

WordPress is crazy…..Grrrrrr why is it sideways??

You can see, it’s likely to be a shoe-horning session, and it was so heavy (46 Kilos) I had to install a very speedy pulley hoist on the garage joists, to manipulate the MASSIVE motor??? Why is it so big?.

But, being SO big, it has force a rethink as to where it is to be mounted. I was originally wanting to have it slung under the bodywork between the chassis members almost directly onto the prop’ shaft, but now I’m paying fixed on the ‘A’ frame front chassis and extending the prop’ shaft to marry with to motor drive shaft.

Gambling on EBAY

I’m hoping you’ve read the gamble story (buying an 86 year old vintage car off EBAY), well I have to say I’m pretty sure the gamble has paid off. You will have read that I had the 1933 Austin 10 delivered directly to my repairing/service garage, I thought how difficult could it be (to get it running) if the car was driven into the garage where is stayed untouched for 46 years??

OMG…… So the fist compromise is the photo taken for the EBAY sale….. photographic license!!!! It really didn’t show the thousands of pits in the bodywork paint. Maroon on old cars is usually very good and sprayed on quite thick, but this car has tiny pin-pricks which have gone rusty. 

The engine looks very dusty and ‘untidy’ with random wires all over the place? – but everything is there (pretty good after 46 years!! OK, spotted, 1 clock of some kind missing from the dashboard). So being basically it’s a complete car. I asked Steve at the garage to try and get it going. He texted back to me fairly regularly…”we thought it was 6volt, as the headlights were marked 6v, but then the  six volt battery you gave us didn’t crank it, it just went clunk”????  Moving on……. trying it on 12 volt simply made the “Clunk” louder. Oh bugger. 

Over a number of days, the list of troubles in the drive chain grow, without one working properly the whole car is broken…. At home I’m frantically phoning around for :-  A company that can repair the starter. A fuel pump, a carb’ and serviceable parts to tweak the tweakable.

The Austin 10 is a very well supported vintage car. Parts are available going back to the late 20’s right up to 1938/9. It really is a credit to the enthusiasts that have made their business keeping these beautiful cars on the road. 

Finding  an almost new petrol pump is almost a miracle. Finding a car’ is looking more difficult, but I have one fitted to the Austin 7 engine which is now redundant. Robbing this engine and parts has saved the day.  Steve reports “Right, the cars running”………. I rush around to his garage and hear it running for the first time (for me) and it’s TOO LOUD….”Why is it loud?”  They all laugh – “there’s no silencer….Oh bugger” Now a reasonable silencer has to be made.

Inspecting the whole car for the worst time is very comforting. I do notice however some white powder…”What’s this powder?” I ask….. wood worm. Oh for goodness sake, I can see some of the niggles are going to take a lot of time to sort out…….

I’m becoming impatient awaiting the batteries & software

“Two weeks” I was told (when the electrics and batteries would arrive!!)

Here we are 1 month later??? and still no delivery date…….. 

I have been busy though. The seats are back, the fake radiator is being printed, the running boards are ordered and the cars own solar panel is ready to install.

The whole EV (Electric Vehicle) industry has moved very fast.  We now have Volvo, VW, Hyundai [Kona!! a beautiful car] and even Dyson investing billions.

Ready for the charging regime, I’m currently researching charging stations…….. and that is another story!!

Just like my XK8, scrapping is not on………..

When I owned my absolute favourite car – a convertible XK8 Jag’ which I enjoyed to its full – I had a VERY scary moment when the MOT came up – the drivers electric seat unit failed the M.O.T for the WHOLE car. Luckily (that’s my name…..) I found just one on EBAY and we were once again roadworthy!!!!! But at 15,000 miles, immaculate and only just roadworthy. Time to get shut.

This time, it’s the newly acquired Austin 10. Seemingly – and not unexpected after 46 years of storage – the starter was frozen, short circuiting and despite chasing modern repairers to no avail would have rendered the whole car SCRAP!!!  My temperament is always positive, so serious investigation on keeping 1930’s Austins on the road forever reaps rewards, there are a few specialists and certainly one or two genuine spare parts hoarders in regular business. 

I have had worries about TYRES, engine essentials, and the weird small special gizmos that make the Austin really special. My fav’ garage repair man – Steve, calls and says “the rear brake cables are snapped, how on earth do we fix those?” “Leave it with me” I suggest…… ringing around – easy peasy, I even find a man who says he can MAKE anything that would not normally be a readily stocked part – AND he could keep Austin 7’s, 8’s, 10 right up to the ’20 on the road.  So my sincere hearty thanks to all those who make spares their business and our saviour.

Now….. the task ahead is making the ‘Ten’ drivable, dry and reliable………….

Perhaps a blow-over of modern paint will stem the deterioration of the original factory colour which is pitted by thousands of holes harbouring rust


Sometimes you just have to take a gamble……….

In all my experiences of owning cars (from 1953 to present day), I have taken very few risks and only a few mild gambles – but never have I risked thousands of pounds buying an old car within 5 minutes on EBAY without seeing it.

Owning a 1933 Austin 7 RP – which you may read, I am converting to full battery power, I was searching EBAY for minor parts and spares. EBAY is relatively new to me, but on the bottom of any item you may see there – are prompts concerning the subject matter or similar products to what you started searching for.  So why on earth did an AUCTION of an Austin 10 – with only a few minutes left!!!! – come my way????

£3200 for a 1933 Austin 10, LOOKING like it did – with the last bid  5 days prior – was very cheap but interesting. I had paid twice as much for the 7, so if I could add this to my own stable, I would be very happy……… knowing how the ‘maximum bid’ you are prepared to offer works – and with literally a few minutes to spare – I placed my first MAXIMUM in – with a 2nd unposed (to see of the last bid was to be ‘topped’)……sure enough “You have been outbid” – so with three seconds to spare I posted my final maximum………YAHOO!!!!! I won the auction – but that’s where the weird stuff started……PayPal simply didn’t work (5 times!!!!!) NOW what was I to do? With not paying for it, you can’t contact the vendor except through EBAY……. I left a dew messages……

Sometimes you just have to take a punt, be brave and follow it through – despite perhaps ‘Buyer Remorse’ setting off the alarm bells.  OK, the car was in Southport. Having a very good friend living just 5 mins away from the vendor, I agreed by indirect messaging to pay CASH for it whilst seeing it for the first time [Sometimes you just have to take a punt], but at least I had a friend and a witness to any hiccups.

Uh oh……. the vendor texted “Yep come along, no prob’s” – except the time agreed and visited – he wasn’t there….but his Dad was…..[Oh no!!!!].  1 hour driving to Southport, collecting my fiend, we hunt for the address……… Cars, Vans, more cars, a Camper Van, A sports Car, more cars……..and tucked at the back of a dark garage – MY AUSTIN.

‘Dad’ didn’t know anything about the history or have ANY details at all. The vendor was miles away…. but looking over it, it seemed very very solid, genuine and complete. Thankfully the vendor would deliver it for me, so I shelled out the cash……. A very very weird experience to say the least…. A 1973 tax disc, the older green folded log-book, after 47 years in a dry garage the Austin was a true ‘find’ (and it would have been a lot more had it been running AND at a classic car auction). 

I will NEVER buy any car ever again on EBAY – well not without seeing it.

What happened to the Tesla 3 order?

You may well bloody ask. That was way back in 2016, I put my £1000 deposit down and actually heard NOTHING for a few months – a bizarre situation.

Even though I knew nothing about the 3, I had a test drive when the S was being shown in Trafford. So when the 3 was announced it seemed like a good idea. My friend Paul had also placed his order a few days earlier and so it was only after I had heard a strong suggestion from Max Keiser that “Tesla we’re bankrupt”  that I asked Tesla Stockport “where is my order confirmation? And what the hell is going on?”

Asking those questions seemed a logical. I hadn’t heard ANYTHING for months!! But out of the blue I received a picture of ‘my Tesla 3’ – from Tesla in the ‘States? The picture was illustrating a BLUE car? I’d not even been asked what colour I desired? All very weird, so I called in to the showrooms (which coincidentally was previously MY Jaguar dealer – Guy Salmon’s site).

Quite frankly, the staff at Tesla, Stockport were HORRIBLE. They didn’t know I was a sign-up customer with a 3 on order. OK, I was scruffy, but that’s not the point, they were eager until I started asking questions…….in the end I decided they were just treating me like shit on their shoe.

Having such fabulous service and customer care from Jaguar – the Tesla staff did nothing to satisfy my concerns about – choices on spec’, a delivery date, the security of my £1000 deposit……. so in the end I simply wrote to the US and demanded my money back………. and still a Paul hasn’t been given a ‘3’ delivery date AND the UK price has risen dramatically. 

I considered my options….. I’d had 13 or 14 Austin Sevens in my 50 years of motoring, ripping out the old mechanics and converting to electric seemed less expensive and offered the best of all worlds – a classic vintage style AND modern battery power…….. the RP is a perfect donor.