My first car was an aesthetically challenged Dodge Aspen, a boxy beast in a shade of tan only seen on Coppertone sunscreen bottles when SPF numbers didn’t top two or four. My friends had a spunky little Sunbird, a Toyota Corolla, and an El Camino. Nineteen-year-old Callum Grubb of Scotland bested us all with his choice of a first car: a sleek black 1938 Austin 10 Cambridge.
According to the BBC, Grubb says he is obsessed with the pre-war era and has been saving his pocket change for several years to buy this car. Incidentally, he also wears clothing from the period and uses a corded telephone from the 1940s. Modern electronics are not his thing; Grubb says he is “rubbish” with technology.
"I was forced to have a laptop for college, and I hated it," he said.
In the Austin 10, he’s certainly picked a classic. Launched in 1932, the car was assembled by the same British company that produced the Austin-Healey sports car line in the early '50s. The 1938 Austin 10 was built on a ladder chassis and was produced for 15 years before its retirement. Grubb met the owner of the car at a museum and later bought it for 7,000 GBP, or about $9,000.
A video featuring Grubb shows that the Austin 10 had some unusual features like trafficators, which predated turn signals; a windscreen that opens outward; and “anti-dazzle” blinds in the rear. It’s right-hand drive, naturally, with a four-speed gearbox. Under the hood is a 1.125-liter (1125 cc) engine and it has a top speed of about 50 miles per hour.
“A lot of these cars in museums and whatnot will never go again, that’s them for the rest of their lives in a museum and that’s not what they’re there for,” said Grubb. “They’re meant to be used and enjoyed.”
Grubb named his car “Poppy” and has become a viral sensation; he doesn’t really see what the fuss is all about. It’s just who he is; a kid who prefers the simpler times of the 1940s to today.
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