According to a buff card log book in the file this lovely Austin Ascot saloon was first registered on 30th June 1934 to a Mr. Devon of London and a little bit of research confirms that its BMH654 registration is one of a series of numbers issued in London from May 1934 onwards. It has been in the care of its current owner since 2003 and has clearly been in regular use as everything appears to work well apart from a slow reading speedometer and the Hobson Telegauge fuel level indicator though it does come with a perfectly serviceable dip-stick!
As far as I can see it is very original apart from having been repainted in 1970 from cherry red to primrose yellow with black wings and roof and at some stage the front seat cushions appear to have been recovered though they match the rear seats very well. The four door saloon coachwork is sound and makes no untoward rattling noises as you drive along and the doors open and close without dropping on their hinges. To be fair the some of the paintwork could do with a bit of tidying here and there but the general standard of its finish is good.
The upholstery is smart with no tears in the seat backs or cushions and the door trims are complete but slightly worn as you might expect given their age and the door pockets are also showing signs of regular use! The headlining is good, the sun roof works and the working rear compartment roller blinds are a nice feature.
The term “oily rag” could be applied to the under bonnet area but the engine belies its less than concours appearance by starting very readily, running very smoothly, delivering plenty of power and maintaining good oil pressure – in fact the whole car appears to be in very good mechanical condition as the gearbox is quiet and easy to use with good synchromesh on third and top, the transmission is also quiet with no untoward rumbling noises, the brakes are strong and it steers well so all in all it is a car which gives the impression that it will keep on going wherever you want for a long as you want! As a testament to its capabilities the last picture in the sequence shows it reaching the top of the Test Hill at Brooklands which is a pretty good demonstration of what it can do!
If you are not familiar with old Austins you could be forgiven for not knowing what good quality cars they are and here we have a really nice and very useable example which is a pleasure to drive and has the sort of patina which only maturity and regular use can produce. I can’t think of any good reason why you could not use this car (affectionately known as Primrose) on a regular basis for social outings and car shows or even just doing the shopping – it will be a lot more fun than your soulless modern box!
P.S. It is worth knowing that there are a couple of good clubs which cater for Austins of this era and as well as social and driving events they offer good technical and spares support.