Seen here at the Ardingly Vintage Car Fair, this 1930’s Grocer’s Van is a wonderful example of an Austin 7 which was a popular delivery vehicle for small grocers in the 1930s. It was found in a Blacksmith’s yard in Sussex in 1962, in an unloved state and in danger of disappearing under the brambles and stinging nettles.
It’s current owner, Mr Millchamp of Pulborough, East Sussex, was a teenager when he found it and did a deal with its owner, buying it in exchange for the front axle of another Austin. He had not passed his driving test and it would not start, so he pushed it home but with the help of his father he got it going and then learnt to drive in it before starting it’s restoration in 1967. He has been exhibiting it for 43 years and won many prizes. It is extremely rare, as these workhorses were usually worked into the ground and only a handful survive today.
It was first owned was Mr Frank Thompson who ran The Stores in Hurstpierpoint. He bought it new in 1935 and used it daily for deliveries around the village. His wife was amazed when Mr Millchamp contacted her and revealed he was winning prizes with her late husband’s old Austin. She had not seen it since he traded it in for a Trojan van after 21 years of service in 1956.