NEW ZEALAND CLASSIC CAR READERS’ WRITES Looking for a Limo
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll pass the information on to Brian. AGW