Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 4°C

Search

Our close shave in Austin A40 Devon and case of winging it!

Graham Maidlow with his 1950 Austin A40 Devon. Picture: Graham Maidlow

Graham Maidlow with his 1950 Austin A40 Devon. Picture: Graham Maidlow

Graham Maidlow

Graham Maidlow had an eventful 18 months with his Austin A40 Devon – wet legs, a seized engine, a close encounter with a pristine lawn and generally winging it.

I was working in a design office from school and riding a Triton motorbike. I passed my driving test in a car in 1966 and had to get a motor.

I was offered a Triumph Mayflower for £45 and a 1950 Austin A40 Devon at £40. So a Devon it was.

My then girlfriend, now my wife of 47 years, Sylvia, and I had so much fun driving this car.

Once, driving along a dual carriageway in fog, cars were passing me at more than 60mph which I thought dangerous. The fog was getting so bad I put my wipers on only to find it was mist building up on the outside of the screen. I felt stupid.

We carried a plastic sheet with us because, when it rained, the passenger got wet legs. I tried sealing the screen many times but going round corners in the rain was time to get the sheet out.

When my dad came for a drive with me he said the car was driving like a narrow boat on rough water. He changed the dampers, king pin bushes and bearings which improved the driving and steering immensely.

On another occasion we were driving round a roundabout and the engine locked solid. Dad came to the rescue to tow us home. I took the engine out and had to rebuild it due to the crankshaft seizing.

We also had a close shave, driving from Windsor to West Wittering in West Sussex when, 10 miles from the coast, the heavens opened. The Devon had very narrow cross-ply tyres, a huge problem, and the rain didn’t help. I took a right-hand bend on a country lane and the back drifted sideways. I corrected it and the back went the other way, like a pendulum, mounting a grass verge on the right-hand side of the road. I got it back on the road and was lucky nothing was coming in the opposite direction.

On our way home we had a look at the bend, only to find the grass where the back wheels went sideways on was a person’s front lawn – it was like a putting green with a 12in wide, 20ft long slot torn right through the middle of it. Half this lawn was in my wheel arch and wheel.

On another occasion, I damaged a front wing. They were bolted on so I removed it and started hunting for a replacement. At the time, cars were often found dumped in side roads, car parks etc and, as luck had it, found a stripped-out, dumped Devon van.

I took my socket set and toolbox and removed the wing, thrilled as it was in great condition. I offered it up to the car only to find the van wing was slightly different by the front grille. The search for a wing continued.

After replacing the wing, I hand painted the car with Brushing Belco which was used on coaches. The result was very pleasing as it left no brush marks.

I owned this car for an eventful 18 months and my wife and I still recall these good old days.

Tell us about the adventures you had in your first car – email your memories with a picture of the car to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

Ipswich Hospital bosses should be proud of the services they provide, a health watchdog’s chief inspector said as he gave the trust glowing feedback in a new report.

Nearly nine nurses a day are leaving the NHS across the East of England, new figures reveal.

The winner of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star’s Christmas Claws competition has been announced. .

No serious injuries have been reported from the collision

A Suffolk charity has announced its guest speaker at an annual conference that in previous years has attracted the likes of Professer Stephen Hawking and his former wife and author, Jane.

A man who assaulted his former partner and her new boyfriend after finding them in bed together at her Ipswich home has been jailed for eight months.

A boy has appeared in court charged with robbery in Ipswich.

Dog owners are being warned after a second pet died on the region’s coast in just over a fortnight – this time on Felixstowe beach.

The Orwell Bridge is now expected to remain open on Thursday after the threat of high winds overnight eased.

Police in Kesgrave have warned motorists that irresponsible parking around the weekly parkrun will result in fines, after a string of recent problems.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24