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One man and his car - 56 years later

2014-04-30 07:40

TRUE LOVE: Brain Rollings found his first love, a 1936 Austin Seven, 56 years after selling it in 1955. Image: YouTube/Daily Mail

  • Brian Rollings bought the Austin 7 in 1953
  • Saved for months to buy it for £140
  • Replaced it two years later
  • Tracked it down decades later
  • It was badly decayed, but restored

A man forms a special bond with his first car and Brian Rollings, 77, has proved the strength of that devotion by tracking down his long-lost Austin 7 61 years after he first bought it.

VIDEO: Brian Rollings and his 1936 Austin Seven

Rollings saved for months before he bought his dream car, a 1936 Austin Opal Tourer, for the equivalent then of R280 (a salesman's salary then was about R40 a week). It was not only his first car but also his first love… one which helped him to woo his wife-to-be.

According to a report in the London Daily Mail the famous model - known as the 'Baby Austin' - was wildly popular when first manufactured and remains much-loved even today.

However, after only two years, Rollings traded-in his Austin for a larger model in 1955 but never forgot about his first ride.


Decades later he tried to track down the old car and buy it back. His efforts were successful and, now aged 77, Rollings was able to buy the Austin 7 back for the equivalent of R71 000.

The Daily Mail report said that in the 56 years since Rollings sold the ca, it had decayed considerably - something sorted by three years of tender love and care. the Austin is now restored to its former glory.

Rollings, now retired and living in Walsall, near Birmingham in central England, said, said: “I bought the car from a greengrocer in Birmingham. I must have saved for months to find the money and I was worried someone else would snatch it up but when I drove it home for the first time I felt like a king.

“I sold it in 1955 after trading it in for a bigger car but always regretted doing that," he told the Mail. "I loved the car and over the years I just wanted to get it back. I got into classic cars and bought a Rolls-Royce and a Mark VI Bentley convertible but I always hankered for the old 1936 Austin Seven.”

Rollings eventually saw it advertised while attending a Practical Classics Restoration Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre  in 2011.


“I asked about the car immediately," he told the Mail, "but was devastated to learn it had been sold the day before. It had been off the road for 40 years in a barn. It was rotten and covered in toy teddy bears. I didn't recognise it but when I saw the number plate my heart jumped.

“I was determined not to let it slip away. The purchaser had agreed the deal and even though it was painted orange and in a very grim state I knew I could get it back to how it used to be.”

Rollings collected the car a week later and immediately started its restoration.

“I was 75 when I got the car back so I felt time was of the essence. On November 4 2012, 11 months after the project began, it passed itsroadworthy. I love driving it around - I feel exactly as I did when I was 17."

His wife Sylvia, 77, said: “I always say to people that Brian loved two things in this life, me and that Austin Seven. I remember him driving me around when we first started courting and it is lovely to go out again and re-live all those wonderful memories.”

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Read more on:    england  |  london

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