New Zealand Classic Car - - Readers' Writes -

Ihave a strange story for which I thought your read­ers might be able to pro­vide a so­lu­tion.

I live in France for seven or eight months of the year and in New Zealand for the bal­ance, work­ing at Sea Ser­vices, which sup­plies pro­vi­sions/stores to cargo and cruise ships.

When I was about 18 years old, around 1972, I bought a 1939 Austin 28 Ranelagh limou­sine that had once been owned by Sir James Wattie. The Ranelagh is a big car, and beau­ti­fully fit­ted out, in­clud­ing a slid­ing glass par­ti­tion be­tween the driver and pas­sen­gers, with ad­di­tional drop-down seats be­hind the driver.

The car was a bit weary, but drove okay, and I had the guards re­moved and re­beaded, and also or­dered some rub­bers to re­pair a leak­ing sun­roof. How­ever, I lost in­ter­est in the car, bought a Tri­umph TR6, and af­ter about a year, I de­cided to sell it. There was a clas­sic car sale be­ing held at a car park at the top of Onewa Road in Birken­head, so I reg­is­tered the car and re­ceived some mod­est at­ten­tion. One gen­tle­man and his two sons showed par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est, and asked if they could take the car for a spin, which I read­ily agreed to — but I’ve never seen it since! In their con­ver­sa­tion they said they lived on Ewen Alison Av­enue in Devon­port, Auck­land, but af­ter door knock­ing ev­ery house, that turned out to be a dead end. I re­ported the car stolen at the time, and also con­tacted the Austin Club — life went on.

If the car is still in New Zealand, I’d love to know what sort of shape it’s in. It would be a one-off over here, as they were a pretty un­usual car even in the UK. I’m not try­ing to re­claim it, or get some sat­is­fac­tion for its orig­i­nal theft — that all hap­pened too long ago, and it has prob­a­bly gone through a few own­ers since then. For me, it’s more a gen­eral in­ter­est thing so I can put the car to rest. I prob­a­bly still have the orig­i­nal own­er­ship pa­pers some­where in a box in France. Brian He­witt, Auck­land If any­one knows the where­abouts of this rare Austin 20–based limou­sine, send your de­tails to edi­tor@clas­s­ic­, and I’ll pass the in­for­ma­tion on to Brian. AGW

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