Man, 72, buys back car he got for 21st birthday

MARTYN Jarman has incredibly bought the historic sports car he got for his 21st birthday - forking out a staggering 525 times what it cost 52 years ago.

MARTYN Jarman has incredibly bought the historic sports car he got for his 21st birthday - forking out a staggering 525 times what it cost 52 years ago.

The motoring enthusiast shelled out �10,500 for the extremely rare pre-war British Salmson - which his dad Dennis paid �20 for back in 1958.

Mr Jarman, 72, said he was thrilled to be reunited after almost half a century with the 76-year-old classic car built in London in 1934.

The father-of-three and grandad-of-four said last night: “She's a fantastic old car and she's back where she belongs! I can't believe I've got her back after all these years."

He added: "My dad gave me the car for my 21st birthday - and now this is the best Christmas present I could have given myself."

Martyn said he had fallen in love with the 1466cc car - which could hit 75mph in its heyday - after spotting it in a cinema car park near his home in Godalming, Surrey.

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"It had been abandoned there for about a year after the head gasket went.

"I mentioned it to my dad who told me to forget it and not to worry about old cars," said the divorcee.

"But he then went and tracked down the RAF Flight Lieutenant who owned it and gave her to me - I was lost for words!"

Mr Jarman, of Dunkeswell, Devon, had the car for three years before selling it to a mate in 1961 for a �5 profit to pay for his wedding.

“I loved driving it but don't regret selling it because I needed the �25 at the time.

"Sadly my marriage didn't last but I never forgot the car - I was always fond of her," said Martyn.

He actually bought another 1934 British Salmson and a 1935 Austin before discovering to his delight that his original motor was for sale.

The car's last owner had had it for more than 40 years before moving to Pulborough, West Sussex, and passing away.

"He died six or seven years ago and at first his widow didn't want to part with her because it meant a lot to her as well and was full of good memories.

"But I'm a member of the British Salmson Owners' Club and I read in our newsletter that she'd finally put it up for sale a few months ago.

"I made her an offer and bought it back on December 2nd," said Martyn.

"I paid a lot of money for it but for me it's a much better investment than an ISA - and it means so much to me.

"It's just incredible that I've got her back.

"She's under cover out of the bad weather.

"I'll have to recommission her to try to get her ready for the spring.

"I think there might be a valve sticking but she's an old lady and that's understandable.

"But I'm quite happy to be honest just looking at her back at my house."

The hand-built vehicle used to belong to Guy Martineau, director of British Salmson, and is amazingly one of only about 20 on the road worldwide.

"It's a very exclusive car.

"There were only about 300 made altogether back in the 1930s and there are only two with the same unusual coachwork as mine," said Martyn.

It has just 29,314 miles on the clock.

Mr Jarman sold four motorbikes and his beloved 1935 Austin to raise the cash for his Salmson.

“I couldn't sleep the night before I went to collect her, I was so excited.

"I think the history of it and the fact that she was mine all those years ago makes it all the more fun to get her home.

"Everybody said 'go for it'," he said.

“It's like being reunited with an old friend.

"I just had a great big grin on my face when I saw her again.

"She's a truly beautiful car and I can't wait to get her out in the spring and summer and admire her back on the road.”