1936 Austin Ruby my precious gem for 54 years

Judith Dale still owns her first car – a 1936 Austin Ruby – 54 years later. Picture: supplied

Judith Dale still owns her first car a 1936 Austin Ruby 54 years later. Picture: supplied - Credit: supplied

Judith Dale's first car was an Austin Ruby and, 54 years and a few house moves later, the now renovated 1936 car is still very much part of the family.

This is a picture of me with my first car – a 1936 Austin Ruby – which was bought for me by my mother for £20 in 1963 when I was 18 years old and I still have the car now!

I met my future husband, Martin, when I broke down on my way home one day and he towed me back and I managed to break the tow rope. Martin and I married in 1969.

I used the car regularly for many years but gradually less and less as I went on to more modern cars. However, we kept the Ruby and, when we moved house a couple of times, she came too.

Eventually about 30 years ago we decided to renovate the car to what it is today. We did a complete body-off restoration, mostly carried out by the Austineers company near Bath. However, I bought material and put in the roof and doors lining and all the other bits and pieces to put it all together again.


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My Ruby is kept in our barn, wrapped up when not in use, and usually only comes out in the summer and when it is not raining!

I do not know how many miles it has done as the speedo has not worked for many years. I guess I do little more than 150 miles a year now, mostly down quiet roads as it is a bit scary driving on main roads with a car that struggles to get to 40mph and has no seat belts.

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My Ruby rarely lets me down and, if it does, it is usually easy to fix as it is a very simple car to service and repair.

I drive often on the lanes around Cotleigh where I live with my husband, and memorably to a fabulous classic car show in Sidmouth last September.

I now belong to the Devon Austin Seven Club and enjoy many rallies and meetings with them.

I think the the Ruby is worth about £5,000, not a lot but then it is no Rolls-Royce but I love it!

Tell us about your first car – email your motoring memories with a picture of the car to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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