Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 7°C

Search

My First Car: Soft spot for Austin 7 ‘boat tail’ soft-top

14:14 14 November 2015

Alan Cugnoni's first car was a  a rare ‘boat tail’ version Austin 7,  two-seater soft-top.

Alan Cugnoni's first car was a a rare ‘boat tail’ version Austin 7, two-seater soft-top.

supplied

Alan Cugnoni’s first car – a rare ‘boat tail’ Austin 7, two-seater soft-top – was not an easy car to drive.

I always enjoy your My First Car feature so decided to send you mine.

It was an early – around 1932 – red Austin 7, two-seater soft-top, a rare ‘boat tail’ version with three-speed crash gearbox, gravity-fed petrol, clutch movement of about two inches and, as for the brakes, what brakes! By today’s standards it was a difficult car to drive.

I was about halfway through my 17th year in 1956 and paid £55 for it in the Barnet area of north London.

Road tax was around £3 8s 9p per quarter and insurance £22 – very expensive as my weekly wage was around £7.

With the help of friends, relatives and the odd trip out on my own, I passed my driving test with the final comment from the examiner “Well done young man, not an easy car to drive, you drove it well”.

Well, that was it. I was off everywhere. At that time I was a semi professional banjo player for a local jazz band – and still am – and often one of the other guys and girlfriend would be passenger with me to various gigs. As you can imagine, there were many incidents en route which we won’t go in to.

After a couple of years I sold it, as reliability was not its strongpoint, and moved up to a 1946 Austin 8 Saloon.

Here is the interesting end to the story. About five years ago I discovered on Google the website for the Austin Seven Owners Club and, looking through the pages, there was one listing registration numbers and, yes, there it was.

GPD 729 was listed as still running so I sent the same picture with details of my ownership to the club secretary. Many weeks later I received a telephone call from the current owner who, being the secretary of the ‘boat tail’ log, was delighted to have received another chapter to add to the car’s history.

It has been completely restored to full original specification – green with black duck hood – and is used regularly and loved by his family. Its value today is around £7,000.

At one of the gigs I used to do when I had the Austin Seven, I met my wife and we have been married for nearly 52 years – I wish I still had the car as well!

Tell us about your first car – bright spots, breakdowns, delights and disasters. Email your first car memories, with a picture if you have one, to motoring@archant.co.uk

3 comments

  • My FRIST car? Even my laptop underlined that error! Dear oh dear, you get worse, if that's possible! Isn't anything checked before pasting up, makes you all look rather stupid and or lazy.

    Report this comment

    cornwallcanary

    Sunday, November 15, 2015

  • So what exactly is a Frist Car? A smaller version of a Frist Bus?

    Report this comment

    Outside The Box

    Saturday, November 14, 2015

  • Re the headline, what exactly is a Frist car?

    Report this comment

    Outside The Box

    Saturday, November 14, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

It is difficult to imagine that there was a time, right up until the later part of the Victorian era, that towns like Ipswich did not have a fire brigade available to everybody, writes David Kindred.

A driver who saw his family have a near miss with a car travelling the wrong way down the A14 says it was the ‘single worst moment’ of his life.

Rail passengers travelling from London to Clacton, Colchester and Ipswich tonight are facing cancelled trains or delays of up to 45 minutes due to a defective track on the outskirts of London.

Margaret Mary Tempest was born at 28 Fonnereau Road on May 15, 1892 to Charles and Frances Tempest, writes John Norman, of the Ipswich Society.

A Christmas tree made from marshmallow and gingerbread is one of more than 400 unusual festive firs drawing in huge crowds to a popular annual Suffolk festival.

The latest stage in Felixstowe Pier’s multimillion pound redevelopment has been captured on camera by a drone.

An Ipswich shopkeeper who sold “legal highs” with labelling which failed to give customers information about the use and risks of taking them has been given a community order.

Here is your spoiler alert: In the improbable event that your child gets hold of this page of the newspaper, do not let them read on - warsn mum-of-three Ellen Widdup.

Through our iwitness24 site, readers are able to share their photos of Suffolk’s top beauty spots, of landmarks and of some of our amazing wildlife in action.

Father Christmas and his friends from the Ipswich Round Table are preparing for the 2016 Rudolph Run but what route will they take this year and when will they visit your street?

Most read

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24