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Austin Seven owner celebrates 50 years of attending club rally

Published 03 May 2016

The 54th National Austin Seven Rally takes place at Beaulieu on Sunday, 3 July, and holds the record for the longest unbroken run of a one-marque club using the same venue for its annual gathering.

For one enthusiast the event will mark a particularly significant milestone. Bertie Fowler, who bought his first Austin Seven in 1966, will be attending his 50th Rally.

He purchased the 1936 ‘Nippy’ (one of the relatively few production sports models that Austin made) at the age of 19, negotiating the £90 deal in darkness by the Derby Grandstand at Epsom racecourse. It was, he says, ‘The best buy I ever made’.

Years of happy motoring followed - even in the face of what Bertie describes as ‘the usual Nippyisms’ of the doors flying open when negotiating fast corners.

The car came off the road in 1976 and lay under sheets at the bottom of the garden shed for several decades but in recent times has been restored by the expert work of Robert Foreman and Chris Gould (a legend in the world of sporty Austin Sevens).

Austin Rally

Austin Sevens at last year's national rally.

Bertie will be proudly displaying the end result at the Rally and will be joining many other ‘Austin Seven Sports and Racers’ that are the theme for this year’s special display.

Several extremely rare and famous Austin Sevens will also be attending, including Graham Beckett’s ‘Simplicity’, the Tony Hutchings built OK7095 works racer replica, and several of the Bert Hadley Championship cars being brought along by the Pre-War Austin Seven Club. It is very likely that the display will be one of the largest seen in recent years and will be of great interest to enthusiasts and the general public.

The event is open to all Austin Seven owners regardless of whether or not they are 750 club members and entries come from all over the UK and Europe. Austins form the core of the event, but pre-1975 vehicles of all makes are invited to attend and will have a designated parking area on the rally field.

The National Austin Seven Rally is an ideal day out for enthusiasts and for families alike. Beaulieu is home to a wide variety of attractions and the rally entry ticket also gives access to the historic Palace House and Gardens and The National Motor Museum.

For entrants wishing to make a weekend of it camping facilities are available and on the Saturday there is an organised run through the picturesque New Forest followed by the ever-popular evening barbecue on site.

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