A lot of people have remarked that it must have been quite a sad occasion to see my Austin Seven Special, ‘Sunita’ go. No. Not at all.
I’d cut my teeth on Special building with the Austin and, I don’t mind admitting that the detailing on Sunita is better than on the Hillman; I could go as far as to say that Sunita is a better built car altogether. But, it was always going to be a bit too small for me and now I’ve built the 6 cylinder Special, Sunita just doesn’t go fast enough. Yes, I could have added a few fandango bits and pieces to the engine, but I couldn’t have made the car more comfortable without radical surgery – something I wasn’t about to get involved in.
So at 3.30 one morning, Counsel and I pulled away from the farm with Sunita on a trailer, off on the journey to her new owners in Holland. Arriving at Big Sister’s at around 5.00am, we would take Sunita off the trailer and then dash down the M20 to the Eurotunnel terminal before slipping across to Calais on the 6.10 shuttle for a rendezvous with the van Kleef brothers – collectors of fine furniture and vintage automobiles; Sunita has been generously described as an amalgamation of the two.
I was jolly glad to have Counsel behind me in his Mercedes going down the M20 towards Folkestone; even at that time in the morning, the traffic was murderous and lorries just lost sight of you when they overtook. Evasive manoeuvres were twice called for.
As we pulled in to the car park behind ‘Toys R us’, the heavens opened and I got absolutely drenched – punishment for parting with the car no doubt. Sunita has gone to a good home and now shares a garage with a Bugatti, a Rally ABC and a Peugeot Bébé, not to mention a fine collection of classic 50cc racing motorcycles. I’m delighted that she’s in such good company and I’m invited to visit next time I’m passing. I shall keep that date.
I’m witness to another special delivery about this time of year when I get involved with bringing the cows up from their summer pastures to their winter quarters in the yard. To see these magnificent beasts thundering towards you is a sight that never fails to impress – and you have to look lively as well; they don’t stop for anything or anyone!