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A UK story

Authi Victoria - A UK Story

Mark Willcocks sent me some pictures of his Victoria which, by a strange set of circumstances is now owned by the couple from whom I bought my MG 1300 earlier this year.  In addition to sharing initials, Mark and I first met a long time back when I arrived in the UK with the Apache.  There is a picture of he and I discussing the Apache on the cover of Idle Chatter, magazine of the 1100 Club back in 1994.

Mark had located some spare panels for the Apache/Victoria from a warehouse which was reputed to have been part of a bulk shipment to the UK by Leyland SA.  However, shortly after this information came to light the majority of these panels were crushed in a warehouse clearance. 

Mark's car is now back on the show circuit in Hampshire with its new owners who have also converted it to RHD.

Anyway here is Mark's story:

The car was imported in 1980, hence the V registration in the early photos (Victoria 1 & 2). These photos show the car as found in a garage in South Molton, Devon by a couple of people from Hampshire Area of 1100 Club in 1988.  The car was rescued, apparently a few days away from being scrapped as works outstanding and original owner had died.

John Jennings and the Hampshire area of the club then owned the car for a few years and began to rebuild it, though in 1993 decided to sell it on as a very unfinished project due to time limits, etc, which is when I acquired it as a partly stripped shell, which was scattered across Hampshire with parts in Lymington, Portsmouth and Poole.

While happy to tinker, I cannot weld and have little mechanical knowledge, so photo Victoria 3 shows it as a fully stripped shell ready to go off for some bodywork repairs. A unexpected snow fall overnight made the trip on the trailer quite interesting.  In 1995 the car went off for its respray, and included fitting of a new wing (found in Worcester, when I also got one for you as Apache wings) and windscreen scuttle panel. I also had a replacement bonnet and boot and doors fitted.

Contact with DVLA enabled an age related plate to be obtained. The V5 says declared manufactured 1973, though think it may be a 1972 car, though cannot prove it and Gaydon have no records after the Authi factory closed. 

I decided to keep the car left hand drive, though I had to fit an alternative interior as the original seat fabric had gone very brittle in sun, so it has Mk1 Vanden Plas leather seats. Also I fitted different door cards as the fabric within these had gone brittle too, as had the headlining and carpets. Eventually it was finished and promptly failed its MOT when the suspension collapsed on one side. The plastic hydrolastic pipes used had touched the exhaust at the one tiny point between two sections of heatproof lagging fitted over them.

With the car repaired it passed the MOT eventually. I have made it to three 1100 club National Rallies in 2001, 2003 and 2006.   The 2003 photos are taken next to your old Apache, which probably one of the very few times a Victoria and an Apache have been next to each other.

Last rally was 2006, and there is some video of it in the National rally footage, which you can view from the 1100 club website (about 7 minutes in)

When I bought the car there were numerous photos with it including one of an orange Austin Victoria. I have no idea where or when these were taken, though probably in late eighties or early nineties. I have tried the DVLA website and it appears this car no longer exists as it was last licensed in 1986. Also have several photos of Victoria’s in Spain, which I expect were taken about the same time. The cars would have been at least 15 years old and from the photos I doubt any will still be around now.

Mark is quite right, this would be one of the rare times when Apache meets Victoria! 

Sadly, at this stage I had sold my Apache so I never witnessed this event.

This is the orange car Mark mentions and you can see the transition from LHD to RHD.




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