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Wareabouts - From Fairground To Microcar & 'Goonbarrow'?

Wareabouts - From Fairground To Microcar & 'Goonbarrow'?

The Ihle Brothers, Rudolf and Fritz started a coachbuilding business in Bruchsal Germany in 1930. By this time Dixi were building the Austin 7 under licence, Ihle built alternative bodies to fit this chassis.

When BMW took over Dixi they continued making bodies for them, as well as Hans, Opel, DKW etc.

It is thought they developed this car for fairground use before the war, though main production was post-war.

One of these was recently advertised on ebay in the USA, residing in Mexico. It was advertised as 1938 though the general opinion of others was that it was nearer 1950. The bonnet has the frontal features very much like the Studebaker Champion. As built this car would have been fitted with a springy metal bumper all around it.

It had a Hirth single cylinder motor driving the rear wheels. It was not a bumper or dodgem car, rather one built for an oval track around which the cars raced. One version in this country had been known as the Brooklands Speedway.

Deliberate bumping was not allowed though inevitably there was contact hence the springy metal protection all around. In preservation this bumper was often removed, as in this case, and the resulting vehicle sold as a microcar, even though it had no lamps and only very rudimentary braking.


MANY PEOPLE HAVE names for their classic or earlier cars.

Often the letters in the number plate remind them of a name. But there are many other reasons. My first Austin 7 built in 1931 was bought in 1956 and came at the time when I was a early member of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society.

This railway was the first to be taken over by preservationists and was in a very run-down condition. One of the four surviving original coaches had a weak spring which gave it a lop-sided appearance which earned it the nick-name of “Limping Lulu” – an ideal name for my newly acquired Austin 7.

Then with friend Viv Orchard we built up a very potent 1930 Austin 7 saloon, much lightened and breathed on which we called it “Thunderbox”, boy was it noisy inside. It was very successful in trials especially the MCC long distance events. In 1955 Viv Orchard had been given a 1932 Austin 7 tourer as a 21st birthday present. He kept it until his death last year.

Along with “Limping Lulu” it was a founder car of the 750 Motor Club’s Austin 7 Rally at Beaulieu which dates back to 1962. In later years it was also a founder car of the very successful club, Isle of Wight Austins.

Back in those early years Viv was looking for a suitable name for his car. He worked for British Rail Western Region in the signalling department. He discovered that there was a signal box at Goonbarrow Junction in Cornwall.
With our love of the Goon Show it was natural for him to name it “Goonbarrow”. A name it proudly bears today. Viv’s family have sadly decided to sell “Goonbarrow” (details from [email protected]), I do hope that the new owner will wish to keep the name.

The letters column is open for you to tell us the special name of your car and why it is so called…
Michael Ware's Wareabouts - from p. 11 of issue June 2016

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