Can you solve the mystery of this beautiful 80-year-old Austin 7 Ruby from Norfolk?

Austin Ruby. Picture: Newman Walker Associates

Austin Ruby. Picture: Newman Walker Associates - Credit: Newman Walker Associates

Discovered among dilapidated tractor sheds, old farm machinery, and abandoned tools, a once much-loved British car is due to go under the hammer at auction later this month.

Austin Ruby. Picture: Newman Walker Associates

Austin Ruby. Picture: Newman Walker Associates - Credit: Newman Walker Associates

Auctioneers are appealing for help to find out about the early history of a recently discovered abandoned Austin 7 Ruby. The classic car was found during a property clearance in the village of Goxhill, north Lincolnshire.

The number plate details show that the car took to Norfolk's roads more than three quarters of a century ago when it was first registered in the county.

The vehicle has since gone on to have seven owners but the details of who they are and when the car left Norfolk remains a mystery.

Robert Horner, a consultant with auctioneers CJM Asset Management, said: 'I had been called in to help the executors dealing with the estate of an 85-year-old.

'The property was covered with dilapidated tractor sheds and workshops full of old farm machinery, tools and other fairly run-of-the-mill stuff, but in a garage sat this beautiful, fully restored, 1936 Austin 7 Ruby.

'The BNG 108 number plate tells us that the car was first registered in Norfolk and we know from paperwork that the vehicle has had seven owners but who they were and when it left Norfolk is a blank. We would just love to know its early history and we would be delighted to hear from anyone who knows anything about it.

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'The Austin 7 was the car that ushered in the age of mass motoring in this country, so the Ruby would be memorable, quite likely one of the first cars that a family owned, perhaps even the very first.'

The car will go under the hammer in an online auction based at the CJM Auction Centre in Scunthorpe. The auction will close at 6pm on Tuesday February 28.

The sale viewing sessions are on Friday February 24, from 1pm to 4.30pm, and on Monday February 27, from 10am to 5pm.

Mr Horner did have some advice for anyone who planned to drive the car back home to Norfolk though.

'Bring a packed lunch,' he said. 'The car is in running order and it was driven down to Lincoln last autumn, so well on the way, but bear in mind that the top speed of the Austin 7 Ruby was 52 miles an hour and that was in 1936. It is going to take a little time to get home.'

Robert Horner's facts about the Austin 7 Ruby:

· The hostility to the idea was so great that Sir Herbert did the early design work away from the factory – on the billiard table at his home – aided by just Stanley Edge, an 18-year-old Longbridge draughtsman.

· Far from sinking the company the Austin 7 saved it. The 'Baby Austin' was a huge success that, with a price tag of £118 - £125, brought car ownership within the reach of many people for the first time.

· It was also much admired around the world. The first BMW, the BMW Dixi, was an Austin 7 produced under license. The first Nissan car was a ripped-off Austin 7 copy. The first McLaren racing car was a souped-up Austin 7, as was the first Lotus.

· The Ruby was an updated 7 model - with a more streamlined body, a more luxurious interior and a dashboard with 'proper instruments' - that was introduced to the range in 1934.

- For more details about the auction visit the website or ring 01724 334411.

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