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Brian Brooks -  Austin A30
Members Cars
Club member, Brian Brooks tells the story of  losing, finding and restoring again his Austin A30.

 I obtained my licence in a 2-door A30, my very first car, which I bought from my boss who ran a service station in Centre Road, Bentleigh.  From 1966 to 1969 I owned a number of A30s and restored and modified many of them during this period.  I pored over many English technical magazines and modification booklets to learn how to improve the performance of the cars I worked on.

 I first bought my current 2-door A30 in late 1969 in Bentleigh with the intention of restoring and modifying it.  Over the next four months I fitted a Cortina motor and gearbox, disc brakes and an Anglia 105E diff (with GT Cortina centre and GT drum brakes).  The engine was bored to 85mm which gave a capacity of 1650cc, Wade 154 cam, extractors, big valve head and twin 1ĺ SUs fitted to a Head Mod fabricated manifold.

 The car was really quick and could quite easily match acceleration with standard V8 Falcons and Holdens of the time.

 I enjoyed constantly tuning and modifying the car, and even fitted twin 42DCOE Webers on an extended manifold.  The car was quick with these carburettors, but not significantly quicker than the SUs.

 In 1975 I tired of the endless series of modifications and decided to sell the car.  This was a decision I regret to this day.  After selling the car I often thought about trying to track it down again and kept putting it off time and time again.

 In early 2000 I was talking to Thorpe of the Morris Minor Company and was reminiscing about the old days with the A30 and our misspent youth etc.  He gave me Bob Talbotís phone number (then President of the A30 club) and suggested I call him to track down my old car.  I rang Bob and described the car and some of the modifications.  In an instant he told me he knew of the car and gave me the phone number of Anthony McQuiggin, the then owner.  I was looking forward to a long and arduous chase calling on all my detective skills, but in the end it was all too easy! I got in touch with Anthony and was able to buy the car back from him.

 I began digging out and studying my old photos of the car, going to Swap Meets to purchase parts and planning how Iíd go about it.  I had a few other projects on the go at the time and didnít actually start work on the car until 2002.  I thought I could finish the car in about six months.  How wrong I was!

 When I originally owned the car, I imported two brand new grille badges from England, fitted one to the car and kept one aside just in case.  It gave me great pleasure to put that second badge in a restored grille even before I started the restoration work.  Everything I did after that was one step closer to fitting the grille to the car.  Apart from the joy of seeing it on the car as it is now, Iím once again reminded that being a magpie isnít such a bad thing!             

 The process of restoring a 50 year old car to sound condition and manufacturing and modifying components is painstaking, particularly if you want to do it properly.  Iíve estimated that the entire project took me in excess of 1000 hours.  I spent three nights just making the brake pipes in the engine bay.  Parts fabrication for the brake and clutch mechanism took about 50 hours. I donít even want to think about the time spent in fitting wind-up windows, and making them work. The engine bay in an A30 is very small and it is very difficult to make the engine and components from a larger car fit.  This has probably been the greatest challenge. 

 I originally intended painting the car the original colour Ė Zircon green, a GT Falcon colour, but was talked out of it by my friend Tony Bennetto.  He managed to convince me to paint it mid-blue and it looks great. 

 The task of restoring and modifying the car to the way I wanted it has been long but worth it.  Would I do it again?  Never! It was much more work than I anticipated Ė but I really enjoy driving the car and am very pleased with the finished result. The car attracts a lot of attention and many positive comments.  Just about everyoneís mum or dad or Uncle Fred owned an A30 just like mine at some stage, it seems.  Even by todayís standards, the car is still quite quick Ė just ask Bob Talbot! 

 Iím still making improvements and have recently purchased a close ratio gearbox, so I will be fitting that together with twin 1ĺ inch SUs in the next few months.

 As a footnote, at a barbeque last Christmas Eve I met someone who had an Anglia 105E fitted with a 1650 Cortina engine, big valve head and twin 1ĺ inch SUs.  Most of the components and the mix sounded similar to those that I had purchased some time in 1970 in Coburg.  I told him that I purchased the parts from a bloke named Peter Zampelis. He said, ĎThatís meí!  Coincidences keep happening.

 Iím grateful to my friends who Iíve driven crazy with progress reports and stories of the restoration over the past four years.  Iíd particularly like to thank members of our club for their support, advice and friendship during the restoration.  Without their help it wouldnít have been possible.           

    Brian Brooks.

 

Brian Brookís Wins at Winton   2009

 Brian,

Congratulations on winning a deserved award. 

On behalf of the Historic Winton committee I thank you for taking the time and effort in bringing along your car for others to enjoy. We are dedicating a lot of effort in providing the car display area, and cars such as yours are making it happen.