Inspired by the article in an English magazine about the Austin factory tourer and spurred on by my elderly father (who wanted something to do), a decision was made to remove the roof. The body was stripped to a bare rolling shell, supports welded across the door openings in case the body twisted, and the roof was removed using the 9 inch angle grinder. That was the easy part, about 10 minutes work. Loaded onto an 8’ x 5’ tandem trailer I then delivered it to my fathers place - now he had something to do.
We fitted a roll over frame to the bare body and proceeded to install steel plates to the sills, added a support to the rear of the body and strengthened the windscreen pillars. The inner and outer body skins at the cut were attached to each other with shaped sheet metal sections. When all the fabrication was completed the body was restored and painted, including underneath, as it could be rolled over. Mechanical restoration was total from new copper fuel lines to a fully reconditioned 1098 cc A series Sprite motor with Datsun manual transmission and high ratio differential.
For our own safety and also as the vehicle was subject to a Road Traffic Authority mechanical inspection, the braking system was changed to power assisted 4 wheel hydraulic, 8 inch front, 7 inch rear. The braking ratio front to rear is the first thing checked at the inspection work shop.
Re-trimmed (by a motor trimmer) in cloth and vinyl with upgraded adjustable bucket seats, it is not only comfortable to drive but has good road performance. Restoration took approx. 12 months and the car was first used at AOA Adelaide 1999. The car was also trailered to Echuca 50th Anniversary Rally behind an Austin A95 and used at the event.
As it shares the garage with our 1954 2 door sedan and 1955 Countryman and I have limited time to use all cars, it has only covered approx. 2000 miles since restoration. We look forward to the warmer months as you cannot beat an early morning drive through the Adelaide Hills in an open car.
We look forward to meeting other members in the future at events such as AOA.
(Geoff has since sold this car to a member of the A7Club of SA)