Thursday, 4 January 2007

1) "Who'd be stupid enough to bid on this heap of junk?"

An Austin 101 is a re-badged Morris JB, which in turn was a development of the Morris J Type van and owners refer to them, generically, as J Types. We also tend to call them vans but mine was actually a petrol engined milk float.

I have been in love with the J shape since seeing them at a truck meet about 7 years ago. On that day I met Harvey Pitcher who runs the Owners' club. I bought his book and joined the club and asked Harvey to be on the look-out for a van for me. Those that did surface in the following few years were always far too expensive for me; they are rather rare.

I started to give up hope and then I spotted this one on eBay in March 2003 and emailed the club asking, "Who'd be stupid enough to bid on this heap of junk?"

A week later I owned it. I got it with a margin of only a pound for £551

I'd been persuaded that it was the basis of a very promising restoration, which was later confirmed by tin magician, Iain McKenzie, who assured me that there was no part of the metalwork that could not be replaced. I met him at Newark at a car show on the way back from picking the van up on a transporter. Iain (below) is my guru when it comes to metal. More about him later.

I took my mate John, then a teaching colleague, with me on the expedition to collect the van because apart from being great company he is very technically savvy. The van was in a very fragile condition and all the way back things kept clattering off the transporter onto the road and I did wonder if there'd be anything left of her by the time we got her home.

Proof for evolution here!

for the next installment, click here

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