Austin 8 a handy conversation starter

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Austin "Martin" . . . David Mills, of Dunedin, with his 1947 Austin 8, named Martin, in the car park near Dunedin Ice Stadium in St Kilda. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

David Mills, of Dunedin, talks to Shawn McAvinueabout his 1947 Austin 8.

How long have you owned your Austin?

My father-in-law, Jack Kane died in 2014 and it was in his garage and no-one wanted it. I had to do a fair bit of mechanical stuff to it but it still looks the way I got it.

I see your number plate surround reads: The Lord has a sense of humour, I prayed for an Aston. Please explain?

That’s why I called the car Martin, most people call their Austin car Jane, after Jane Austen.

How does it drive?

I drove it to The Vintage Austin Register National Rally in Ashburton about a fortnight ago. It was its first run out of the city and it got better the further it went. On the way home it was touching 80kmh.

What’s it like to own?

I love it. It’s a great wee machine. I call it my granny grabber. You pull up in a car park and little old ladies start yelling “oh, I had one of these when I was courting”. It’s economical, easy to fix and cheap.

How much is it worth?

About $5000.

Do you take it out often?

I’m out in it most days.

What event will it feature at next?

The annual Best of British Charity Motoring Day. It’s a great day and Austin is the marque of the day this year.

Best of British Charity Motoring Day. Departs car park near Dunedin Ice Stadium in St Kilda for Outram Reserve from 9am on Sunday, March 11. All proceeds to Chatbus Trust.