AN old four-wheeled friend has returned to its former home in Whitby after more than 40 years – a welcome early birthday present.
In 1959 Pete Thomson, then aged 20 and serving in the army with the Royal Engineers in Chatham, bought his first car – a 1934 Austin Ten registered VN6138 for £45
He owned the car for eight years before he sold it on and in the intervening years heard no more of it.
Then four weeks ago he got a phone call from the present owner suggesting that Pete may have been an earlier owner.
He also said that he was considering selling it and wondered if Pete would be interested in buying it back.
An exchange of emails and photographs established that the car had indeed been the one Pete, a retired coxswain with the Whitby lifeboat, had owned in the 1960s.
During the 44 years it had been out of his keeping it had been completely stripped down to its chassis, rebuilt and sprayed a different colour but had never been used on the road.
Pete (72) went to Eston in Teesside where the car was kept and after a short test run decided to buy it back.
He said: “As I was the last person to drive the car since 1967 even the tax disc and log book were with her.
“It was a nostalgic drive home to Whitby and brought back many happy motoring memories.
“Now she’s back home with me her 44 years in the wilderness have ended. I’ve joined the Austin Ten drivers’ club and plan to use her for pottering about in and going to vintage car shows with her.”
Pete, of The Avenue, Ruswarp, said the car had previously been owned by about three different people who had bought it with the intention of renovating it but had never finished the work and had sold it on.
Wife Alison added: “He has gone on about it for donkeys years so to get a call out of the blue was a really nice surprise. He is like a kid with a new toy and it’s his birthday on Sunday.”
It does about 40 to 50 miles to the gallon – but Pete isn’t saying how much his £45 car cost him the second time round.