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Winterbourne's rare Austin Sixteen Six

Rev Leslie Stevenson was Rector of Winterbourne 1954 to 1970. His son Hilary owned a very rare Austin Sixteen Six between April 1963 and September 1965.

Austin 16/6 in the Pyrenees

The photograph shows the car, and owner Hilary Stevenson (while a student), on top of Pyrenees en route to Spain. The only trouble he had was a water leak from the packing gland on the waterpump on the way back. A common, minor problem.
We don't know what happened after 1965 but Mr Gareth Jones of Bridgend purchased the vehicle in 1979 in a dismantled condition and discovered our Winterbourne connection during his researches.

Austin 16/6 in 1979

The car left the Austin factory as a "bare chassis" 16hp 6 cylinder - generally known as Sixteen Six or written 16/6, presumably not to confuse it with the Seven, which was 7hp. The body number 5TS showed it was destined for a specialist coachbuilder (C T Weymann) for commissioned bodywork. It was first registered in Derbyshire in 1930 with the registration RB 2297.

It took Mr Jones a year and a half to establish who the coachbuilders were. Help was sought from The Motor Museum at Beaulieu, and a trawl was made of their library of photographs to identify the coachbuilder. Contact was made with F T "Freddie" Henry of Devizes (a lifelong associate of Arthur Waite - P A to Herbert Austin) and Freddie actually remembered seeing two, possibly three, of these "Magnet" coupes in the Pass and Joyce showrooms (London's West End Austin distributor) during his frequent visits to Austin's Oxford Street Headquarters. Freddie was, amongst many other things, Principal of the old Austin Apprentices. Sadly he died in 1997. The chassis was bodied by the French pioneer aviator C T Weymann at the old Bleriot Factory at Addlestone. One of these "Magnet" coupes is believed to have been scrapped in the 1960s. No others are known to specialist Austin clubs.

During the rebuild every piece of timber had to be replaced (with ash) - mainly at woodwork evening classes! All mechanicals were overhauled as time allowed. The only job not tackled by Mr Jones during the rebuild was the aluminium cladding.

Strangely, a photograph emerged in 1998, from a source in Hanham, taken sometime in the late 60s for the then owner (someone subsequent to Hilary Stevenson).

Austin 16/6 in the 1960s

The location was the Blue Bowl pub in 1998. This photo was sent to an Austin club on the off-chance that the vehicle might have survived. At the time of this enquiry the car was in fact not far away, in Yate having the aluminium cladding renewed! This photograph was the first time Mr Jones had seen the car in complete condition.

The rebuild was completed in mid-2003, and previous owners are still being sought. The very first owner (1930 until 1962) who probably commissioned the bodywork, was thought to be a Miss Hetty South Holloway. From the "continuation log book" issued in 1949 she was living at Beckenham. A trawl of Holloways in that area failed to establish any links. Since the car was originally registered in Derbyshire it was assumed Miss Holloway had connections with this area in the 1930s, but this proved difficult to research.

Rebuilt Austin 16/6 in 2003
2003 after rebuild.

and here's a picture, taken at Atlantic College, Vale of Glamorgan, during one of its road trips in 2004.

Rebuilt Austin 16/6 in 2004

The car now has a new owner after the 27 year restoration. Mr Jones reluctantly passed the car on to Mr John Blackton and in the summer of 2007 it was transported back to Etwall in its home county of Derbyshire. John Blackton has reported that the car is running well, and that it was awarded the Ray Blanchard Memorial Trophy at the Vintage Austin Register Show at Ashover, Derbyshire on 19th July, 2009.
In 2010 at the Vintage Austin Register Renishaw Hall Rally held on August 1st John Blackton received the "John Lye" Shield for the best Austin 16/6 with his Pass and Joyce 'Magmet' Weymann Coupe.

John also provided more details of its first owner. Miss Hetty South Holloway LRAM, who purchased this rare car new in 1930, was then 35 years of age and the Principal and Head Mistress of The Grange School for Girls, Park Road, Buxton, Derbyshire in the 1930s.

The Grange, a large property, became the Belgium College during the war years and was then demolished. John Blackton standing by the remaining stone gatepost
Only the stone gatepost remains and our photograph shows John leaning on it.

John is now actively seeking photographs of Miss Holloway and information about the school. Hettie South Holloway is a rare name and there are likely references to a Hettie South Holiday born 1896 Bromyard, Herefordshire and Hetty S Holloway died 1966 Bromley, Kent. No marriage details have yet been found - presumably she remained a 'Miss'.