This annual event in Cofton Park, next to the Longbridge car plant has grown to a large, free one day event to celebrate the Austin brand of motor vehicles which used to be built at Longbridge before the demise of the major British car manufacturers. Originally, the Longbridge site was the size of a small town and manufactured Austin cars for nearly 100 years. In the later years it was part of BMC, then British Leyland, then Leyland cars. A large part of the British motoring industry came together under the Leyland cars banner, including Austin, Morris, Jaguar, Rover, Triumph, MG, Riley, Wolseley, Vanden Plas, Daimler and Land Rover. Longbridge was the home for many famous models, including the World beating Mini and the much earlier Austin 7 which helped bring motoring to the masses.
Due to the wet weather in recent weeks, a smaller area of the park was in use this year and it soon filled with hundreds of cars representing a large cross section of British motoring history. Early Austin 7’s represented the early days, dozens of Mini’s of all types filled large areas of the hillside, while newer Rover and MG models from later years showed that their owners were proud of their British Motoring history. An impressive lineup of Rover 200 BRM hatchbacks attempted to beat previous records for the largest gathering of the model in one place. They were all lined up across the park, with the distinctive orange front grills contrasting nicely with the British Racing Green paintwork. The rarest vehicles were probably two Austin Ant prototypes, of which only 7 were ever built. It was a small utility vehicle designed to take on the Land Rover, but production costs were projected to be nearly as high as the Land Rover and so the project was scrapped.
© Simon & Janet Wright