How many people have owned the same car for 50 years?
Perhaps it’s more that you might think.
Regardless, one of them, British resident Bertie Fowler, will attend his 50th National Austin 7 Rally on July 3 at Beaulieu, which will be hosting the event for the 54th year in a row, “one of the longest unbroken runs for a one-marque club using the same venue for its annual event,” the National Motor Museum said in a news release.
According to the museum, the Austin 7 was the first truly mass-produced British car.
“In the 1920s and 1930s it changed the lives of ordinary people by giving them the opportunity to buy an affordable motor car for the first time. It is one of the most enduring and endearing of all pre-war British cars,” the museum said in its release.
“Between 1922 and 1939 some 290,000 were built and more than 8,000 survive worldwide today. The 750 Motor Club was founded in 1939.”
Fowler purchased his 1936 “Nippy,” one of the few production sports models produced by Austin, when he was 19 years old, “negotiating the £90 deal in darkness by the Derby Grandstand at Epsom racecourse.”
Looking back, he notes it was “the best buy I ever made.”
Fowler said he’s had years of happy motoring, even with “the usual ‘Nippyisms’ of the doors flying open when negotiating fast corners.”
Fowler drove the car until 1976, when he retired it beneath covers in a shed in his garden. However, he’s had the car restored by Robert Foreman and Chris Gould — Gould is considered a living legend in the world of sporty Austin 7s — and will show the car at the rally and in the special Austin 7 Sports and Racers display.
That sports and racers display also will include Graham Beckett’s “Simplicity,” the Tony Hutchings-built OK7095 works racer replica and several of the Bert Hadley championship cars.