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16 Times A Winner - Mike Smith's £30 Austin is Truly a Jewel
Thu 04 May 2017
The National Austin 7 Rally will be held on Sunday 2nd July at Beaulieu in Hampshire, and will feature ‘The Jewels in the Crown’ of the legendary Austin 7 range - the Ruby, Opal and Pearl models.
Mike Griffiths, one of the rally organisers, has owned his 1938 Austin 7 Opal since 1960 – it was the first car he bought after passing his driving test at the age of 17. Purchased as a wreck for £30, the car was stripped down by Mike and his younger brother, rebuilt in the garden, and painted in the bedroom. It cost them £70 to do it up and half that amount was for a new hood. After a lot of use it was overhauled again in the 1970s and 80s.
Austin is believed to have built some 700 Opals of this type from 1936 to 1939 and today just 63 are recorded as surviving. Since 1990 Mike’s car has won its class at the National Rally no less than 16 times.
The car is in very regular use and has been toured in France. Last year on the rally field at Beaulieu, Mike’s 15 year old grand-daughter Emily started learning to drive in the Opal. The beautifully presented Opal will be there again this year and will be joined by a huge variety of other Austin 7 models and a great selection of trade stands catering for all Austin 7 needs.
The National Rally is organised by the 750 Motor Club and the event is open to all Austin 7 owners regardless of whether or not they are 750 Club members. Pre- 1976 vehicles of all other makes are welcome to attend and will have a designated parking area on the rally field.The Rally is an ideal day out for enthusiasts and for families as the rally entry ticket also gives access to the historic Palace House and Gardens, and The National Motor Museum.