Austin, The Age of Elegance revisits Bournemouth

Paul and Maureen Edwards By Melody A

Bournemouth’s popular ‘Wheels’ Festival opened for the second year in wind-swept conditions today but still drew huge crowds. Amongst the eclectic exhibits, ranging from scooter stunts to Monster Trucks was a dazzling classic car, a 1937 Austin Clifton.

The owners, Paul and Maureen Edwards of Wimborne, a friendly and engaging couple, were happy to share their experience of the elegant vehicle. It featured a cream body, maroon mudguards, canvas roof and leather interior. The Edwards purchased the car from a dealer in Weymouth 17 years ago to replace their previous passion for riding classic motorbikes.

The Austin Clifton is surprisingly economical to run despite its appearance as they are exempt from paying road tax because of the infrequency of use and also from having an annual MOT for this reason. They said they find replacement parts relatively easy to source. The Austin Motor Company was founded in 1905 by Herbert Austin, the vehicles were then considered the height of luxury, customers included Russian Grand Dukes, Bishops and a long line of the highest nobility, the brand appeared in many different popular incarnations over the decades but sadly Austins have not been manufactured as a pure brand since the late 1980’s.

This stylish Austin, which the owners have dubbed “Henrietta”, was purchased as it looked

This stylish Austin, which the owners have dubbed “Henrietta”, was purchased as it looked “fun !”, is still used occasionally for shopping trips, the couple also take part in the annual ‘Save the Children’ parade in Wimborne at Christmas. Last year the local Major managed to get stuck in the ‘Dickie seat’, (the small flip-up seat located in the rear exterior of the car), and had to be unceremoniously prised out. The car has also been used non-commercially for weddings with varying success, on one occasion it broke down outside a police station on double yellow lines on the way to pick-up newlyweds, after a 999 call from Paul, pleading an emergency, the police were lenient and eventually the car was allowed to be towed to and from the venue by a Camper Van as the bride was insistent she wanted to be transported in “Henrietta” regardless of how unorthodox the method.

This is the second time the Edwards have enjoyed exhibiting “Henrietta” at ‘Wheels’, she is obviously a much loved car, enjoyed by many.

Bournemouth ‘Wheels’ Festival 29th-31st May.10am-10pm Friday & Sat.10am-6pm Sun. For more details visit the Bournemouth Wheels website


Filed under Melody, Trainees blog

2 responses to “Austin, The Age of Elegance revisits Bournemouth

  1. This is an absolutely lovely piece with great anecdotes – especially about the Mayor getting stuck in the dickie seat.

  2. Really enjoyed reading this piece, a very colourful account of a great quirky event.

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