Warm memories of celebrating 8 decades of the Austin 8 International 8@80 Rally 22-23 June 2019, Worcestershire.
Worcestershire 8@80 event
The Austin 8 was launched in February 1939 and we were celebrating its 80th birthday with a week-end program of social activities in 2019. We hoped for 20 of these characterful little cars to come from around the UK and abroad, and that's about the figure we managed including; saloons, civilian and military tourers, vans and the unique woody estate from Germany, as well as Bertie the NAAFI military canteen van.
You can order a DVD with highlights on this event here.
A short introduction version is shown on this page.
We have tried to have the amount of Austin Eights brought together, to be mentioned in "The Guinness Book of World Records" The attempt we went for was "The biggest parade of Austin Eights" One Austin Eight out of 19 was not firing up the engine, so we managed 18 cars to be part of the actual parade.
Actually we had 19 and a halve Austin Eights attending the event, since Joy 1 the Austin alligator bonnet based pedal car turned up as well.
Unfortunately the world record attempt was turned down by "The Guinness Book of World Records" as being "too specialist"
However the record was definitely set in the long life of the little Austin 8.
The feedback was great and we all had a wonderful and memorable weekend event, which will be remembered for the rest of our lifes.
The event started at the Friday evening and there were only a few attendees who knew each other. So the event was started on Friday and Saturday being strangers and ended on Sunday being close friends which had an enjoyable birthday party.
These images are from the last day of the event at the Avoncroft Museum in Bromsgrove.
These photos were taken in front the windmill of the Avoncroft museum in Bromsgrove and was used for the front page of the special booklet which was produced for this event. The cars belong to Craig Polly (saloon) and Robin Wilson Tourer). In case you look closely you can see the special made 8@80 car badges mounted on the cars.
Here is a photo of Lizzy, the 1939 Austin 8 Tourer of Robin Wilson and his family was taken in April 2019. It shows the car to be almost complete after a 45 years restoration. It is a remake of an earlier photo from the past when the car was still un-restored. Robin made it in time to have Lizzy ready for the 8@80 event. Well done Robin!
On our way to Longbridge on Saturday I drove behind Robin, with DOT our 1939 Tourer, when Lizzy came to a sudden stand still. There was only a short moment of "panic", but a loose battery connection seemed to be the only problem, so we were on our way again in no time.
More restoration images in lower section of this page.
Official closure ceremony, Birthday cake for 80 years old Austin Eights Lizzy and Dot and all their brothers and sisters. Robin Wilson, Marcia Blake and Hermann Egges are cutting the cake.
The video shows well what a great event we had.
These memories are available on a DVD, which can be ordered here.
Other highlights of the 8@80 event
return to Longbridge
During the 8@80 event, we drove to Longbridge, the place of birth of our little Austin Eights.
There is only a small part left of what used to be a huge manufacturing plant. We were allowed to make a photo shoot with John Lakey, which was a great moment.
There are rumors that we might be the last club who was given the opportunity to make the occasion, since the last remains might be teared down soon.
Another amazing experience, which was also featured in three Classic Car Weekly magazines in a row.
Reunion with JOY 1
In Issue 1495 - page 6 of Classic Cars Weekly, you will find a nice article about a joyful reunion of the Austin Pedal car Joy 1 with its first lady driver at Longbridge during the 8@80 event.
Marcia Blake sat in the pedal car in 1946, as an 8 years old, for promotional purposes. Her father was one of the Austin production engineers and also one of the engineers responsible for the design of the Austin Joy 1 Pedal car, later manufactured as the well-known J-40 pedal car, Marcia was now reunited with it and now sat in DOT, the Austin 8 tourer register car, which was a better fit for her at the age of 81.
A remake of the original 1946 image was made, now with Georgie, the granddaughter of main organizer of the 8@80 event Robin Wilson. She took place in the Austin Joy 1 pedal car, which was just a great moment of Joy. We had photographer John Lakey with us to make the photo shoots. He owns the copyrights of attached images, but he allowed us to share them with you.
More Information about Joy 1 the Austin alligator bonnet based pedal car can be found here.
Austin image re-make.
Here are the results for the 1946 picture re-make, during the 8@80 event. The 1946 photo was made to celebrate the production of the 1 millionth Austin car which was not an Austin 8, but an Austin 16, same as in the re-make picture made during the 8@80 event. It was also the debut of Joy-01 the famous pedal car now to be found in the Gaydon British Motor Museum.
We know the mix of the Austin 16, four Austin 8s and Joy 1 is a bit incongruous, but we believe it echoed some of the feel of the June 1946 debut of Joy 1.
The most difficult bit of preparation was painting the black stripes on the old bits of carpet. We all know that carpet is all too easy to paint when you don’t mean to, but believe us it’s not so easy when you do mean to paint it with defined colour edges! It took some time to get the re-make set up together, but we managed!
Dot meets Joy 1 pedal car
80 years old, 1939 Austin 8AP Tourer “DOT” meets 1946 JOY-01 Austin prototype pedal car during the 8@80 anniversary event. How great is this. Look at the shapes and how big this pedal car actually is. DOT was pleased to meet her baby sister after 70+ years.
Joy 1 was allowed for a weekend out of the Gaydon British Motor Museum, where she is displayed since she was rescued from an antique dealer. Thank you very much for having the opportunity to have Joy-01 available during our Austin 8 anniversary event. It must have been enjoyable for Joy 1 to meet her big brothers and sisters Austin Eights during the event. Just a few shots I made which I thought to share with you. Since this will probably never happen again. Also some shots with the later J40 pedal car.
1939 Lizzy restored