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I know Grasshoppers have been a touchy subject in recent months, but I've been collating all the information I have from the usual books and websites, purely for my own interest, and I'm left with a few contradictions and questions. I won't list them all, but can anybody enlighten me with the following:
1. AOX 3 - Mike Eyres (1968) says it went to Portugal, but Brian Purves says it went to Australia on the outbreak of WW2
2. I have a picture of the 1935 Le Mans cars (BOA 57 as '59'; BOA 58 as '60' and BOA 59 as '61'. I assume '62' was the present day CZ6324 Speedy of recent fame? But did the fourth car BOA 60 go to the 1935 Le Mans, perhaps as a 'spare' car?
3. Was it ever established if COA 120 formed the basis for UI 3345?
4. Can it be confirmed that COA 119 was the car Kay Petre took to the 1937 Paris-Nice Rally, or was it COA 121?
5. If the three entrants to the 1937 Le Mans were COA 118, 119 and 121 and COA 120 was already 'written off', does this mean there was no 'spare' car, and do we know which of the cars were assigned to Dodson, Petre and Goodacre?
There's a can of worms for you all!
Location: Doncaster, South Yorkshire
your'e quite right about the 'worm' factor and I've no doubt there are knowledgeable Grasshopper geeks out there.
What I can say is that CZ 6324 was sold into Northern Ireland in 1934 as a production type 75 'Speedy' and has never been other than. I believe that the other 3 cars that ran at Le Mans in 1935 were possibly 'Hoppers' - in fact I have seen a photograph which would seem to prove this suggestion but they were not entered as such.
From Peter Hornby's Grasshopper Register, the answer to No 5 "Who drove which cars in the 1937 Le Mans 24-hour race" is:
COA 118 was driven by Goodacre/Buckley
COA 119 was driven by Kay Petre/G. Mangan*
COA 121 was driven by Dodson/Hadley
*It is belived that this was the car driven by Kay Petre and Mme. Itier in the 1938 Paris-Nice Trial
Hope that helps.
Location: The south-eastern corner of Surrey
The next A7CA Mag may answer some of your questions...
Dave Wilcox is correct in that the '35 cars were not entered as Grasshoppers, but there was an interesting description error made on the entry form - about which you can read in the upcoming Assoc. Mag., as Robyn suggests. However the official entry from Austins for the 1937 Le Mans race does specify the cars as Grasshoppers. Cheers, Bill in Oz
Location: Mount Eliza, Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for all the responses.I look forward to seeing the next Association magazine - I hope it's got pictures!
Location: Doncaster, South Yorkshire
A rather belated response to Mick Hanna's post:
1. AOX 3 is almost certainly in Portugal, a grasshopper is there, and was seen and photographed 3 years ago and I would bet is AOX 3, albeit with some grasshopper parts missing and some minor but significant changes in bodywork since 1939.
3.I am very doubtful that COA 120 had any part in the construction of UI 3345. There is no firm evidence to support this. (chassis no, engine no, - why bother to change them rather than rebuild the original?)
4. I do not believe that COA 121 could have been the Paris Nice car; photographs of it in the Lands End Trial in April 1938 (amongst many others) show it on high chassis, with supercharger and unique, faired in cycle type front wings.The only picture which I have seen of the Paris/Nice grasshopper (Motor Sport Sept 1938) shows a low chassis unblown car on a ramp, in front of an HRG, single spare wheel, with trials spec swept wings.
By August 1938, COA 119 was on high chassis with a blower and a body widened at the rear of the doors, (fitted uniquely) with handles. Jock Wilson always said that he had been told that COA 119 was the car, but there seems to be no real evidence to support this.
It seems to me that this will remain a mystery until another photo of the Paris?Nice car emerges.....
As you can see, all personal views.....
Thanks Peter. Your answers have been very helpful, and although you say they are personal views, they are informed and and I can now dispel with some of the contradictions I seem to be faced with. It seems the more I read about these Grasshoppers, the more it draws me in. Where do you stop?
Location: Doncaster, South Yorkshire
My partners family still have COA 119 in the family. We take it out now and again. It was rebuilt when his dad totalled it I think in the fifties. It's a fab little car.
Don't know if your are still on this site but my partners family have COA119. It stills runs and we love taking it out. If you are still on here it would be lovely to hear from you. xx
It was then driven by my father in law. xx
Have you seen 'A Comprehensive history of the Austin Seven Grasshopper' written by Peter Hornby and Michael Hanna in 2014 ?
COA 119 is included of course.
From memory they are writing an updated version (and I hope an addendum to the first book)
ooh! can we see some recent photos, perhaps?
The authors o the Grasshopper book mentioned above regularly read this Forum and am sure will be in touch.
Mr Press is correct in that the book is currently being updated, revised and extended with new information. We should have it ready by year end / beginning 2017.
Chris Garner - PWA7C Limited
Location: Melton Mowbray
Peter and I have almost completed our revision of the Grasshopper book. I am just about to leave for Devon, this morning, to try and track down an illusive piece of information about one of the sister cars, COA 118.
There is still time to incorporate any up-to-date pictures of COA 119 if you have any to share. I wrote to the Wilson family in Dunoon back in January, but there was no response unfortunately. I think the most recent picture of COA 119 we are including in the book is one taken at Brooklands in 2002. An update on the car would be of great interest to us and our potential readers.
I would have contacted you directly but can't seem to use the 'email' facility, but other Forum readers may be interested in the exchange and it might throw up additional contributions!
I've been trawling the internet looking for information on COA 118, my parents used to own this Austin 7 in the early sixties, my Dad sold it to his brother and I'm not sure what happened to it after that.
I have no memories of the car, but my parents have pictures of them & me as a baby in front of COA 118.
I would be so interested in finding out more about it's life after the 60's
Peter Hornby and I have documented the post war history of COA 118 in our book 'A Comprehensive History of the Austin Seven Grasshopper'. Although you don't name your father am I correct in assuming him to be Maxwell Bennett who owned the car from 1960 to 1962 before his brother Stuart took it over from 1962 to 1963?
We would love to see copies of your photos if you are willing to share them. The earlier post war history of the car during the mid-1950s has been causing some head scratching on our part (1953 to 1957) which we have noted in the second edition. We tracked the son of an earlier owner to Market Rasen in the hope we might uncover some of the earlier 1950s history, but received no positive response. It is great to learn of more connections to these cars. There are many pictures of your Dad's car in the book which you may not have seen. The book is available to buy from the Pre-War Austin Seven Club (see the advert for Sales and Wants on this site for details).
Yes, indeed my dad is Max Bennett. I will dig out the pictures of COA 118 - although this will entail rummaging around my parents loft in their 'photo suitcase' - so bear with me!.
Oh the wonders of the tinernet - it didn't take me long to track this info down and I'm pleased to have been able to add to it.
Small world. Max Bennett and I are members of the same sailing club.
You would be surprised how many people are now rummaging around in their parents' lofts looking for old photographs as a result of this posting - and coming up with some real 'Grasshopper' treasures. Fantastic!
I owned the 1936 Grasshopper COA118 from 1957 to approx 1959 when I hit a cow and had to sell it damaged.
I sold it to Charlie Hoskins (Grimsby) who repaired it fitted the Sindilla Magneto and raced it at Silverston.
I have a few photos of it if anyone is interested. Just ask and I will send them to you.
I'm not sure how to email you directly from the link provided on your posting, but you might be able to email me from your end? We(Peter Hornby and myself) would be really interested in seeing any photos you may have of the car.
Two days ago I submitted an article to the editor of the Pre-War Austin Seven Club in which we claimed the chain of ownership for COA 118 was now complete and describing the process leading up to this and updating the information accordingly. As soon as I've finished this posting I will have to have the article withdrawn for further amendment!
We had listed Graham Hoskins from Grimsby as the owner from 1957 to 1959 and clearly this is now incorrect, but it's reassuring to know he did have the car before it went to J. Swinburne-Butterfield in 1959. If the rest of the ownership chain is accurate would we be correct in thinking you bought the car from Neil Jones's (see other postings) parents Clive and Norah Jones of Tadley in 1957?
I'm sure many others on the forum are eager to learn more about the car.
Very excited to learn about your connection to the car, David.
Yes, Dave, same Charge Hoskins.
Sorry, Charlie Hoskins!
Our understanding is that Charles Hoskins is the son of Graham Hoskins of Grimsby who bought the Grasshopper, but we had heard of the VSCC connection. We are happy to be corrected.
Our Grasshopper replica finally broke cover at Powderham in July, far from finished, but getting there. Father has built the body, which is dimensionally accurate, with very few changes in construction technique.
Sorry its on facebook, but I really cant get on with photo bucket these days, it screws my computer up! If anyone wishes to convert it so it displays properly, feel free.
You might have seen from recent Forum comments that photobucket isn't getting on with anybody these days anyway and is best left alone.
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.