Vintage Austins power into Warrnambool

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140 of Australia’s oldest and best-preserved cars are coming to Warrnambool for a special centenary celebration.

The Austin 7 National Rally will be based in the city from April 9 to 14, with about 300 Austin enthusiasts in attendance from across Australia.

Warrnambool Mayor Cr Vicki Jellie said that hosting the rally, which is only held once every five years, was a big honour for the city.

“It’s been planned for a long time and the people who have pulled this together have done a great job in bringing tourists to the city,” she said.

Cr Jellie said that the combined 1800 bed-nights the rally created would be great news for the local economy.

“These are wonderful cars and it’s great for tourism, not just for Warrnambool but the wider region, so it’s really fantastic,” she said.

Everyone can get a good look at all the cars involved in the rally at a Show and Shine event at Fletcher Jones on Tuesday April 12 from 12pm-3pm.

Entry is by gold coin donation, with money raised helping to fund a new rapid infuser for South West Health Care.

You can also see the cars touring the South West taking in the local sights throughout the week.

Austin 7 National Rally Treasurer and local Austin 7 owner Robert Baudinette said that Austin enthusiasts would be coming from far and wide to attend the event.

“We have cars coming from as far as Perth and Bribie Island, so right across Australia,” he said.

“There’s so much variety with Austin 7s, they come in so many shapes and sizes.

“They’re just fun little cars and they have plenty of history, being the first mass-produced car in England in the 1920s.”

Austin 7s were first produced in 1922, and were considered England’s answer to the Model T Ford, bringing car ownership, and the freedom that came with it, to the wider public.

The Austin 7 also played an important role in the early motoring history of Australia. In the mid-1920s Austin chassis were imported by various coach builders, as well as Holden, who constructed the car body around it. This was more than 20 years before Holden would design and produce an entire car themselves.