Rare Austins fac­ing ex­tinc­tion

The Austin 3 Litre Own­ers’ Club is des­per­ate to help save the last 3 Litre Limou­sine in ex­is­tence, plus super-rare hearse and am­bu­lance con­ver­sions

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - CONTENTS - ❚ austinthree­l­itre.co.uk

The Austin 3 Litre Own­ers’ Club to­day put out a des­per­ate plea to save three 3 Litres for restora­tion. Fewer than 10,000 ex­am­ples of Austin’s last big car were pro­duced in pe­riod – and even fewer wore spe­cial limou­sine, am­bu­lance and hearse bod­ies like the cars in this col­lec­tion, brought to­gether by a 3 Litre fan in the Nineties.

All three cars, cur­rently lo­cated in Gatwick, will need a great deal of work be­fore they see the road again; the 3 Litre Own­ers’ Club, which is low on funds, is wor­ried that the cars may end up even­tu­ally be­ing banger raced. It can’t take then on – but will of­fer spares free of charge to any­one who can. Chair­man, Neil Kidby, said: ‘We are a free-to-join club and there­fore have no funds as such. Any­thing we spend es­sen­tially comes from my per­sonal pocket.

‘As a club, though, I am try­ing ev­ery­thing I can to find a home for them. The limo had a huge num­ber of parts miss­ing and it will be a mas­sive project.’

The cars came on to the mar­ket af­ter 3 Litre Own­ers’ Club mem­ber, Mal­colm Stephens, passed away. His widow, An­nie, moved them on af­ter he passed.

The limou­sine is the by far the rarest of the three 3 Litres as Neil be­lieves that no oth­ers have sur­vived. The col­lec­tion de­te­ri­o­rated over the past two decades in the hands of their se­cond-to-last cus­to­dian, who bought the hearse as a run­ner with the am­bu­lance in a poor-but-com­plete state. These too, like the limou­sine, are on the en­dan­gered list, but their sur­vival rate isn’t quite as dire as their stable­mate. Neil said: ‘The limo is the one that re­ally con­cerns me as it is the last of its type. At least the other two have a sis­ter out there some­where.’

Ven­dor, Jerry Ansell, would rather that the cars are pre­served than raced; he told

Clas­sic Car Weekly that en­quiries have so far been split evenly be­tween re­stor­ers and rac­ers. He priced the limou­sine and hearse at £3500 and the am­bu­lance, the best of the trio, at £4500 in the hope of find­ing a long-term owner or re­storer. He said: ‘If I’d have sold them for £1000 each, they’d have ended up track­side in no time.

‘If it means they stay here for a while wait­ing for the right buyer to come along, that’s fine by me.’

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