Describing this Austin 10 as a piece of automotive history would do it an injustice. As prewar cars go, this ‘Light Car’ is in great shape, with original features, characteristic patina and an untouched interior. It's a beautiful reminder of the pre-war era, but what makes this vehicle special, however, is its story and incredibly documented history.
Its history contains a few usual items such as past MOT certificates but the true highlights are the journals. These notes detail mile-by-mile, each trip, journey and event, all penned by the owner during their 21-year ownership. Not the usual thing you would expect to find in a car's service portfolio but these incredible moments captured are an amazing insight into the car and owner's life. These moments are not just your average events, however, for the owner was not your average man.
On the evening of February 20th 1944, Commander John Winfield Heath jumped into this Austin 10 and set off from Cornwall to his home in Dorset, just hours after surviving a U-Boat attack in the British Channel. At 11:50 am, the alarms rang on HMS Warwick, a German U-Boat fired a fatal torpedo, splitting the ship in half.
The historic event was one of the most significant attacks ever on a British ship in British waters, an attack that saw the loss of sixty-six crew members. Fortunately, Commander Heath alongside 43 other crew members were rescued by an aptly named fishing trawler called Lady Luck, who returned them safely to Cornwall where the Commander shrugged off the events, made an entry into his journal and embarked on his home journey.
The allure of this car is remarkable, especially when you learn that the car is still very much original with an untouched interior, an interior that Commander Heath enjoyed and experienced. It's a charming piece of history that needs to be preserved and kept alive for future generations to learn and experience its amazing life.
THE HISTORY AND PAPERWORK
UK registered May 1937
Commander Heath owned the car from new (13th May 1937) until 1974 (37 years) when on the 2nd August 1984 it was sold to a Mr Boorer - he had laid it up after 21 years in 1958 and it was garaged from then until he sold it.
Original ivory logbook
Incredible portfolio of history
Eight handwritten journals documented the car's mileage and journeys
Diary entries of events, thoughts and opinions documented in journals
Additional typed-up service record, completed by Commander Heath
Commemorative medals from the coronations of Edward the VIII (the King who was never crowned)
Additional Austin memorabilia
Cigarette card album
Past tax discs
Past MOT certificates
151,655 miles completed by 1958
Unused until 1973 when it was recommissioned by its second owner
Given a cosmetic restoration of the third owner in 1977, remained unused
Paperwork relating to maintenance up to the early 90s
Original, preserved interior
Wear & patina present
An interior that deserves to be left untouched
‘Do not change a thing on the inside’ Word the current owner was told by the previous owner, who had heard it from the previous owner and so on. If you buy this car, please, do not restore, retrim or repair the interior. There's wear, marks and scuffs but nothing is damaged, broken or cracked, it still has its original features all carrying a charming patina. It's incredible to know that the driver seat is the very same that Commander Heath sat in, taking himself back to Dorset after that eventful night.
Displaying some age and wear
Previous repairs and paint
The Austin has survived wonderfully and while you can see that the body has been painted in the past and that the chassis has been welded, it is in impressive, presentable condition. It isn't perfect, there are marks and scratches but it's perfect as such. It's an antique and deserves to be kept as is, to be loved but unspoilt.
1.1L four-cylinder engine
Started numerous times without fault
Driven for a few miles, performed well
The mechanics of the Austin are reported to be in fine performing order. There have been several recommissions over the years but the current owner has kept the car running and operational. Like most pre-war cars, their capabilities are not that of a modern-day car and while it will perform easily around town it wouldn't do so well on a race track.
An incredible reminder of an era that is becoming long forgotten, the Austin 10 is a fabulous pre-war car that enthusiasts across the world continue to adore. This Austin 10 is much more than just an Austin 10 however. It's a story, its history, its a physical, living, breathing character from Commander Heath's journals. This car is irreplaceable and must never be changed so that we may continue telling the story of Commander John Winfield Heath and his little Austin 10.
Notice to bidders
This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*
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1937 Austin A10 Cambridge
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