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50 not out for Austin 7 couple

2012-02-15 08:05

SEASONED TRAVELLER: The Cookes and their Dingo at the Texas state line on the US's Route 66.


Classic-car enthusiasts enjoyed the hundreds of vintage cars on display at the Old Car Show, George in Western Cape, February 2012.

While a major rally will be held in the grounds of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, England, on Sunday July 1, 2012, to toast the Austin Seven Ken and Eileen Cooke will have a celebration of their own.

They have attended every one of the 50 Austin Seven rallies held at Beaulieu since they began in 1963.

Ken said: “In 1950 I bought my first Austin Seven for just under £30. It was a 1927 Chummy and pretty rough but I heard that the 750 Motor Club catered for these funny little cars and that some members were converting them to sports specials.


“In 1952 I built a two-seater body for it and for its first outing I drove down to the Isle of Sheppey (in the Thames estuary, east of London) with a friend. We came across a young girl struggling to get her bike over a style and stopped to give her a hand. My friend took her address but it was me who followed it up.

"By the end of 1953 I had joined the 750 Motor Club and married Eileen, the young lady from Sheppey!

“In 1965 we bought the bones of an open-top Austin Seven Chummy and worked on it through the next nine years. We got it on the road by Easter 1976 and called it Dingo after a famous Austin Seven racing car. Dingo has taken us to nine European countries as well as coast-to-coast in the USA on the 3500 miles (5633km) of the famous Route 66.

"It has done more than 140 000 miles (225 300km) in our hands."

Ken and Eileen Cooke, and their Dingo, will join hundreds of other Austin Seven owners and their cars from all over the UK and Europe at the picturesque Beaulieu estate on July 1 for the National Austin Seven Rally.

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