First British Car Owned (now 23 submissions)
23) My First English Car
My bright red 1965 Austin 1100 was bought in Canada after arriving with my family in 1967.
It was similar to the one pictured but had twin wing mirrors and of course left-hand drive.
Our first long trip was to Niagara Falls in the spring of 1969.
Barrie still had snow packed streets. No trouble for my front wheel drive with studded snow tires all round. At the Falls the spring flowers were in bloom, the roads bare. The noise from those studs very obvious and sounding like horses going along the street. I got the impression everyone was looking at us but of course they were looking at the Falls.
Another adventure occurred on our first visit to Eugenia Falls. The little red Austin began to overheat. Stopping to let it cool I searched the ditch for something to hold water, found a crushed tin can, now for the water. Further along, the ditch was flooded so the rad was topped up with brackish water and we were on our way.
The moral of this story is never go to waterfalls in an Austin 1100 !
21) A few notes on 'Mr B', my 1964 MGB Roadster purchased in 1967 from Coventry Motors.
It appeared to be in excellent shape, apart from the dogged determination of its speedo to read exactly one-half of my actual groundspeed??!! We eventually contacted the original owner (thru a maintenance invoice lodged under a seat) and he explained that he had used it (gently) for hill climbing, and that he had the gearbox rebuilt with 'A Mk.II' components, giving it a rather close-ratio box even for a non-overdrive 'B'. Just as well I wasn't much of a “lead foot” anyway. He casually asked if the roll-bar was still in place (it wasn't, but the welds were visible under the fresh rear carpeting where the convertible top rested), and the odometer had about 15,000 fewer miles on it than he recalled.
Oh, well, I loved the car anyway, and it served me well thru’ University, and my sister as well after me, until some Yahoo in a pickup truck rear-ended her in Waterloo and the car was a write-off.
20) My first British car was a two tone chocolate brown and white two door 1960 Triumph Herald that I shared with my Mom. I was seventeen (1968) and worked construction during the summer to help buy it.
At the end of high school (summer of ‘69), three friends and I drove the car through France to Spain on a camping holiday. Many fond memories of that trip and time - particularly having the heater on full blast while going through the mountains to keep the engine temperature from overheating!
This is NOT a photo of my original British car but my car did look similar
19) The first British car that I ever owned was/is a 1962 Austin Healey Sprite Mk2 and I still have the very car to this day!
I bought it in 1970 when I was 15 years old. I used the summer to redo the body and change the broken crank in the engine.
I drove the car year-round and it never failed me, driving back and forth to high school and a few years in college. Driving in the snow storms in Ottawa was certainly a challenge.
After upgrading to a Mazda, the car sat for a few years in my parent’s yard until I had a place of my own and I finally totally restored it in 1982. The car is still quite presentable and certainly brings back fond memories (mostly of old girlfriends) every time I drive it.
2021 makes it 51 years of ownership and still counting!! I have attached a picture of the car as it is today
16) My first British car was a 1953 MG TD "Snoopy". Bought it in September 1956 and still have it. 2021 makes it 65 years of ownership
Read the great story about Bob and Lynn driving "Snoopy" (click on the blue link) all the way from Collingwood, Ontario to Reno, Nevada. They drove to California, up the West coast to British Columbia, then back home. They traveled through or across 19 States and 2 Provinces covering a total of 13,784 kms from June 9 to July 20, 2011
11) My first British car was a 1957 MG Magnette ZB, dark green, very nice but badly rusted, no floor boards, but being a 17 year-old, I loved it.
10) Morris Minor 1949 green, I had it in 1951/52 (used)
It was during that period, 1952 that I drove with a friend, George Scully in his new Jaguar XK120 coupe in the first North American Mountain Rally out of NYC, thru the New England states and back to NYC. It was at that event that I saw my first Austin-Healey 3000, driven by a factory driver, Jackie Cooper, the movie star. Several of the motor companies had cars entered (Shiela van Damm was driving for Rootes)
8) My first British car purchased in 1967 was an Austin A30 purchased for the princely sum of 15 pounds. All my college friends worked for the car companies in Coventry and all drove sports cars so my mundane A30 could not compete in impressing the girls.
Rather than give up I had to at least join in the fun and purchased a 1959 Austin Healy Sprite for 100 pounds. It came with an aftermarket fibreglass front (why anyone would want that I can’t imagine). After a few months I located a proper bugeye hood that was red. My car was white. A friend who had a body shop painted it white but the red bled through to give it a charming shade of pink. Back to the body shop for primer and another final coat of white.
The car was great fun to drive and quite reliable though kind of slow. It wasn’t until I was outpaced by a Reliant three-wheeler that I really realised how slow. As I had no money it was something I learned to live with.
Every time I see one, I am reminded how much I loved that little car
7) 1960 Austin Healey Sprite on a Picnic at Wasaga Beach with my favourite Girl
6) Paul Green, at age 21, with his first British Car, a 1933 Singer Nine Sport.
This is the four seater version of the famous (to some) Singer Le Man race car. The Le Man car was a two seater with a slab petrol tank instead of the occasional two rear seats of the Sports model. No one could sit upright in the rear seats if the top was up! They both shared the 9 Horse Power overhead Cam engine with twin carbs and, wait for it, four hydraulic brakes! It had a four speed crash gear box (you had to double de-clutch to change gear, or, go straight through using no clutch at all (if you got the correct revs right) !
5) 1961 MG Midget. Love those driving lamps and folding mirrors.
4) New 1958 Vauxhall Victor in red
3) My first British car was a new 1962 Austin Mini with fog and spot lights mounted high in the front of the vehicle (a motoring law back then).
Note the MG Car Club badge on the grill.
2) My first was a 1962 Mk 1 Ford Cortina. It cost me $500 in the spring of 1969.
It was a devil to start and I had to try to park it on a hill so I could roll it towards the bottom and jump the clutch. In August 1970, it was hit from behind on the eastbound 401 between Yonge and Bayview when I ran through a pool of water from a downpour, soaking the electrics. Everything died. I was stopped on the shoulder when a vehicle behind me lost control on the slick road surface and hit the driver’s side rear quarter.
Luckily that’s where the spare was stored in the trunk and the tire absorbed much of the impact. The unlamented Cortina went for scrap.
1) My first British car was a red 1959 Austin Mini. 850cc’s of pure fun. A wonderfully economical bit of transportation to, along with the joy of the ride, take me to my summer job and back in the summer of ’62. Bought it in April and sold it in September – along with a new $300 paint job. Profitably, of course.