Meet Richard and his car
One of the joys of being a Petrolhead is the conversations that ensue when an ‘interesting’ car is nearby.
We happened across Richard Harrison at a local car meet a few Saturdays ago when he came to chat with a few us standing around a 1980s Porsche 911. The conversation inevitably turned to “what have you come in?” and that’s when things became even more interesting.
It seems that Richard bought his car second-hand in 1972. It’s a 1947 Austin 10 in fairly original condition. That’s original as in never restored, as opposed to original as in out of the showroom! And yes indeed, he’s the second owner.
“Someone ran into the back of me in 1972, but I couldn’t afford the repair and so the rear light fitting is missing a bit”. That may offend any concours judges who are reading this, but I’m pretty sure Richard won’t be too bothered about that.
The car, it seems, is reliable, runs well, stops eventually and is pretty cheap to maintain. The factory sunroof, leather interior and period clocks all still do their job, if perhaps looking a little tired in places.
The engine is a 1125cc 4 cylinder side valve unit that delivered about 33hp and 60 mph. It came with in-built jacks in each corner, just like the World Sports Car winning Aston Martin DBR1 at Goodwood 11 years later in 1959. “I’ve removed them from the car, but I still have all of the fittings. They were never too reliable in the 1940s and not something you want to fail in use!” adds Richard as he shows me the jacks’ hydraulic fluid cylinder in the engine bay.
I’m then fascinated by the rear offside tyre. It looks like something off an armoured car. “It’s the only tyre I could get that would fit the rim. It was some years ago and works well.” No doubt any subtle changes to the car’s handling characteristics have been absorbed into the car’s general character and presentation.
We’re looking at a car with 75 years of patina and chatting with the person who’s put 50 of those years into it.
Thank you, Richard. You could not have been more fun to chat with and, more importantly, to listen to.