My First Car: Austin A40 part of the family

Martin Cooper in his Austin A40 45 years ago. Picture: Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper in his Austin A40 45 years ago. Picture: Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper’s first car really was a family car – he bought it from his grandfather and later sold it to his cousin... for a profit.

My first car was an Austin A40 which turned out to be a family car but not by the usual definition.

I bought it from my grandad for £50, just after I passed my test in 1973, when it was about 11 years old. The bottoms of the front wings and sills had rusted away but my brother was a welder so I used his kit – and his metal – to repair them for the MOT test, and painted them with grey primer.

I was out in the street one evening cleaning the interior of my new pride and joy when a voice at the window said “Hello, remember me?” I said “Of course”, playing for time until I could see who it actually was.

It was Joy, the daughter of the switchboard operator where I worked. Once I recognised her we chatted and ended up going out together and eventually marrying more than 35 years ago. The picture shows what I looked like when she wanted to go out with me!

I sold the car to my cousin for £55 a year or so later so it was a real family car.

But I never did paint the repairs the same colour as the rest of the car.

Tell us about your first set of wheels – email your memories with a picture to or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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