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Ian Creese

With Thanks to Ian for his story.

Note: This is the car that appeared in the book, "The Cars of BMC" by Graham Robson.

Pictured above in 1994 at the Bromley Pageant of Motoring.

After finishing a sympathetic restoration on my 1948 Standard 14 I was looking for a new project. One evening I was surfing Ebay when I came across a picture of a car that intrigued me as I had never seen nor heard of it before, It looked vaguely familiar and upon reading the description I realized it was based loosely on the Austin 1100/1300 range of cars. It was an Austin Apache and I had to have it, luckily I won the auction and 3 days later it was delivered to my home by the owner who turned out to be Sam Glover the technical editor for Practical Classics magazine.

The car had languished for the past 22 years in a lockup garage in London and Sam had taken ownership to help out his friend who had owned it for the period of it’s lay up. Sam had decided to sell some of his collection of cars and I was the one to buy the Apache.

The car was in a poor state as the paintwork was scratched and chipped from it’s time in storage and I soon found out the paint that had been applied sometime in the late eighties was Gipfast 60 (horrible stuff) this was a baked on paint used for quick resprays and was very thick so trying to repair all the scratches and dings was going to be a mammoth task so I made the decision to strip the paint off and start from a blank canvas. When all the paint was off it revealed just one rusty patch on a wheel arch and a severe dent in the boot lid I assume from everything sliding off the roof when the car was extricated from the lockup. While stripping the Black paint off it became obvious the car was originally Yellow! Now I am not fond of yellow cars so I painted the roof Old English White and I mixed a colour consisting of Maroon and Black to my own blend for the rest of the body. I replaced the carpets and cleaned the headlining and that was all that was needed for the interior.

Whilst the car was in storage it had been used as a parts donor so lots of bits were missing, the first thing I noticed missing was the brake light switch, the driveway to my garage is very steep and when we unloaded the car from the trailer with Sam and my wife pushing I jumped in to steer and when the car started down the slope I pressed the brake and nothing, pedal to the floor and car speeding up so I pulled the handbrake and prayed, the car stopped just inches from the garage door. Upon opening the bonnet all became clear lots of bits robbed from the engine including the switch from the brake junction.

When we started using the Apache for shows we noticed it was trying to signal other cars with smoke signals and it got worse and worse so out with the engine and rebore, new pistons and shells and to top it off a reconditioned cylinder head converted for unleaded fuel. The body restoration took 16 months to complete and we then used it for the show season.

I did the engine rebuild over the winter so the car wasn’t off the road in the show season. We do at least 15 shows a year and also club nights once a month during the Summer.

Gerry as we call him because he is a small Apache (get it Geronimo was a full sized Apache) when finished I e-mailed Sam Glover to show him some pictures and next day I had an e-mail from James Walshe deputy editor of Practical Classics to ask if they could do an article for the magazine so it should be in Sept issue.

I have the original paperwork for the car and even the jottings that the South African gentleman used to do when he put oil or fuel in the car and how many miles to the gallon even when he had the tyres changed round and to what position on the car. I have invoices for work carried out at his local garage.

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