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Austin A35 Pick Up racer


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#1 nicanary

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:38

Elsewhere on the internet I have seen mention of an Austin A35 Pick Up which had been seen at a show, with corresponding literature claiming racing history in the 50s. The car had wire wheels, bucket seats, rev counter etc..The paperwork included contemporary race reports.

The post was placed at 9.54am and there are no replies. This is one for TNF. Something in the back of my mind says Birkett 6-hr relay race. Any thoughts?

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#2 Graham Gauld

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 13:49

Elsewhere on the internet I have seen mention of an Austin A35 Pick Up which had been seen at a show, with corresponding literature claiming racing history in the 50s. The car had wire wheels, bucket seats, rev counter etc..The paperwork included contemporary race reports.

The post was placed at 9.54am and there are no replies. This is one for TNF. Something in the back of my mind says Birkett 6-hr relay race. Any thoughts?




I am pretty sure you are talking about the A35 pick-up Jimmy Blumer raced at Charterhall and such places.

#3 nicanary

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 13:57

I am pretty sure you are talking about the A35 pick-up Jimmy Blumer raced at Charterhall and such places.


Thanks. I'll pass the info on. What category was that then? Saloons, Production cars or Small-capacity transport vehicles?

#4 Graham Gauld

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 08:25

Thanks. I'll pass the info on. What category was that then? Saloons, Production cars or Small-capacity transport vehicles?


Back in those days we lumped all saloon cars into the one race no such subtle categories

#5 nicanary

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 09:32

Back in those days we lumped all saloon cars into the one race no such subtle categories


Quite. Happy days indeed. A sort of "run what you brung" before people got obsessed about winning.

#6 CoulthardD

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 08:12

Jimmy raced the car at Ouston on 8th August 1959. He set the fastest lap, but DNF'd on the last lap whilst "...half a mile in the lead...". He competed at the Blagdon Hall Sprint a couple of weeks later. "Jimmy had a hectic day when he entered himself as a one-man team driving three different cars in the Kings College Motor Club's sprint at Blagdon. He competed in the 100S, Murray's legendary racing A35 pick up, and a special Jaguar [DC: possibly the 'Border Reivers' Lister-Jaguar?]. He dead-heated with himself for FTD and took the team prize. The prize giving saw him heckled with shouts of 'pot hunter' when he stepped up to collect the latter award." from “Big Healey in Competition” by John Baggott.

The A35 was owned by Murray & Charleston Ltd., an Austin delaer from Newcastle. This is from a letter written to a local paper, from the late 1990's:

We raced a Downton-converted A35 Pick-up, registered TTN1: it sounded magnificent when revved up in the workshop, a former tram depot. The Austin was always driven to events. Once, going to Rufforth, our tester, Bruce Gunn, was stopped on the A1 by a Police Austin A95. He had been cruising at 100mph, perfectly legal for cars before the 70mph limit, but the police pulled him over for exceeding the commercial vehicle speed limit.

Bruce explained that it was taxed as a private car. The policeman replied: "It has to have seats behind the driver to qualify." Bruce then unzipped the rear tonneau, revealing two bench seats from an old Newcastle trolley-bus. They had to let him go.

Jimmy Blumer raced TTN1 at Charterhall, Rufforth, Oulton, Blagdon Hall, etc, achieving good results.

My own car, an A35 in British Racing Green (965 EBB), had a roadgoing Downton conversion: smooth and potent, it often surprised the drivers of bigger cars.

Murray & Charleton had a second A35 Pick-up (registration: 69 DTN), in standard trim. I was pleased to see it in excellent condition at a recent car show held at Ouston.

Back in 1959 we collected our first Mini from the factory, concealed under a tarpaulin. Unveiling it secretly back in our workshop, we were horrified. Used to the narrow A35, the chunky little Mini on its 10-inch rubber seemed a shock, a joke, more Dinky toy than car. We agreed: "It'll never sell." How wrong we were: we soon came to love the Mini's superb handling, even though that early model's footwells flooded whenever it rained! Happy days. But I wonder if TTN1 and 965 EBB have survived?


I saw TTN 1 a couple of years ago at the Croft Nostaliga weekend, and very nice it looked too!

DC

#7 Graham Gauld

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 13:17

Jimmy raced the car at Ouston on 8th August 1959. He set the fastest lap, but DNF'd on the last lap whilst "...half a mile in the lead...". He competed at the Blagdon Hall Sprint a couple of weeks later. "Jimmy had a hectic day when he entered himself as a one-man team driving three different cars in the Kings College Motor Club's sprint at Blagdon. He competed in the 100S, Murray's legendary racing A35 pick up, and a special Jaguar [DC: possibly the 'Border Reivers' Lister-Jaguar?]. He dead-heated with himself for FTD and took the team prize. The prize giving saw him heckled with shouts of 'pot hunter' when he stepped up to collect the latter award." from “Big Healey in Competition” by John Baggott.

The A35 was owned by Murray & Charleston Ltd., an Austin delaer from Newcastle. This is from a letter written to a local paper, from the late 1990's:

We raced a Downton-converted A35 Pick-up, registered TTN1: it sounded magnificent when revved up in the workshop, a former tram depot. The Austin was always driven to events. Once, going to Rufforth, our tester, Bruce Gunn, was stopped on the A1 by a Police Austin A95. He had been cruising at 100mph, perfectly legal for cars before the 70mph limit, but the police pulled him over for exceeding the commercial vehicle speed limit.

Bruce explained that it was taxed as a private car. The policeman replied: "It has to have seats behind the driver to qualify." Bruce then unzipped the rear tonneau, revealing two bench seats from an old Newcastle trolley-bus. They had to let him go.

Jimmy Blumer raced TTN1 at Charterhall, Rufforth, Oulton, Blagdon Hall, etc, achieving good results.

My own car, an A35 in British Racing Green (965 EBB), had a roadgoing Downton conversion: smooth and potent, it often surprised the drivers of bigger cars.

Murray & Charleton had a second A35 Pick-up (registration: 69 DTN), in standard trim. I was pleased to see it in excellent condition at a recent car show held at Ouston.

Back in 1959 we collected our first Mini from the factory, concealed under a tarpaulin. Unveiling it secretly back in our workshop, we were horrified. Used to the narrow A35, the chunky little Mini on its 10-inch rubber seemed a shock, a joke, more Dinky toy than car. We agreed: "It'll never sell." How wrong we were: we soon came to love the Mini's superb handling, even though that early model's footwells flooded whenever it rained! Happy days. But I wonder if TTN1 and 965 EBB have survived?


I saw TTN 1 a couple of years ago at the Croft Nostaliga weekend, and very nice it looked too!

DC



This is the Jaguar you are talking about David. I do not remember who owned it but it was an XK120 Coupe that I photographed at Ouston.
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#8 CoulthardD

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 15:01

It was probably his own. He had a bit of a soft spot for them! I have a lovely photo of him autocrossing a XK120 convertable in 1957. His wedding car was a brand new E-Type and of course he won the Motor Six Hours in the Equipe Endevour MkII 3.8 with Mike Parkes.

DC

#9 Mistron

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 15:05

Can anyone recall who owned the A35 van which was used as both a tow vehicle for the owners privateer F1 car (A brabham, I think) and also raced in the saloon car races at the events, tow bar and all?

I think it was used / raced in Scotland in the '60s.

It may have had the rear side panels cut out to make windows, and had a one piece alloy rear door. I think the back axle had quite a sophisticated location system. It sported flared wings and Lola wheels. I think it was featured in C&SC in the early '90s as a 'hauls of fame'

I saw it in a crowded storage barn in the early 2000s. One day I hope i'll be back for it with a trailer!

#10 Charlieman

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 16:43

According to the tax man, the A35 Pick-up was a passenger vehicle. The goods bed did not extend for two thirds of its length, so it couldn't be a commercial. This significantly increased purchase cost and limited sales. The survival rate for them is low. The teenage daughter of an ex-girlfriend almost had kittens when we encountered a small convoy of them on the M1 in the 1980s.

#11 Catalina Park

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:30

According to the tax man, the A35 Pick-up was a passenger vehicle. The goods bed did not extend for two thirds of its length, so it couldn't be a commercial. This significantly increased purchase cost and limited sales. The survival rate for them is low. The teenage daughter of an ex-girlfriend almost had kittens when we encountered a small convoy of them on the M1 in the 1980s.

I read something in the Australian magazine Restored Cars a few years back about them being classified as a passenger vehicle due to the lack of a tailgate. When the Tax man changed the classification BMC had a problem on their hand with unsold cars that they couldn't sell in the UK so they carted them off to New Zealand instead.



#12 nicanary

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 09:53

The OP in the other website thread is asking if anyone knows the present owner. The registration is 5DTN - it's dove grey with red wheels and radiator shell. This registration does not tally with Jimmy Blumer's or the one seen at Croft two years ago. Naturally, it could have been re-registered.

#13 CoulthardD

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 17:50

You may be correct. TTN 1 isn't found as an Austin on the DVLA web site. However, 5 DTN is - a 1957 built car, with a 998cc engine, in grey.

DC

#14 D-Type

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 19:42

I don't know about the legal situation regarding pickups, but the van was certainly classified as a commercial vehicle and free of purchase tax. If I remember the legalities correctly, you could buy a van and you could legally fit a rear seat immediately. But you could not fit windows aft of the driver's door until it was three years old. This is why a Mini Van was a popular form of transport for the impecunious in the sixties.

#15 Stephen W

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 09:15

I don't know about the legal situation regarding pickups, but the van was certainly classified as a commercial vehicle and free of purchase tax. If I remember the legalities correctly, you could buy a van and you could legally fit a rear seat immediately. But you could not fit windows aft of the driver's door until it was three years old. This is why a Mini Van was a popular form of transport for the impecunious in the sixties.


If memory serves Mini vans came with a fold-down rear seat as standard. However you had to have VERY short legs to be comfotable!

#16 Geoff E

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 09:54

My dad bought a Commer Cob van in 1959. The front passenger seat was an extra 10gns and the folding rear seat a further 15gns.

But you could not fit windows aft of the driver's door until it was three years old.

Yes, I think that's right.

Edited by Geoff E, 15 August 2012 - 09:56.


#17 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 12:16

I read something in the Australian magazine Restored Cars a few years back about them being classified as a passenger vehicle due to the lack of a tailgate. When the Tax man changed the classification BMC had a problem on their hand with unsold cars that they couldn't sell in the UK so they carted them off to New Zealand instead.

A grey one somehow arrived in Invercargill NZ and went to a farm in Branxholme nearby. One G Clarke raced it a few times at grass track events on his own property and went like the wind in it to the Green Roofs Hotel for a beer after work.
It was said that because of the long grass on either side of the road he often took tractor & slasher/mower from the farm cutting the grass to the pub and then back so he could get a nice clean veiw between corners with his various cars.