Cuckfield classic car owner Roger Learmonth and his 1930 Auburn Speedster have reached the final of the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership competition.
The car is one of 20 set to battle it out at the NEC Classic Motor Show in Birmingham this weekend, with the visiting public having the casting vote for the ‘Pride and Joy’ of the show.
The car is one of just 11 Model 851 Speedsters built for right-hand-drive. Its first owner was in the Philippines. “In an effort to win the affections of the girl he loved, plantation owner Eduardo Montinola bought the fast sports car she craved most of all,” said Roger. “Eduardo lost interest in the car when his amour left him, so he sold it to his brother Renato. Renato was more of a fan – he didn’t sell it for almost fifty years.”
Renato hid the car when the Japanese invaded in 1941, only selling it to a UK buyer in 1986. The car was shipped to the UK for restoration, and enjoyed for over a decade. Shipped to the US in 2000, it was returned to the UK in 2011.
“I restored it a second time when I bought it in 2011,” says Roger. “Among the things I did was to fit a simulated alligator-skin interior, like the famous Speedster Barbara Hutton bought for an umpteenth husband. It’s a strict two seater, with no easy access for luggage. I suppose it was expected that it would only be used for boulevard cruising by well heeled Hollywood types, so practicality was of no concern.”
For more information on all the show features, exhibiting clubs, various ticket prices and booking details, visit http://www.necclassicmotorshow.com/
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