The Home of Austin Cars and Light Commercial Vehicles from 1939-54

Ray Dawes RIP

It is with great sadness that the directors of ACCC announce the death of our colleague and friend Ray Dawes. Ray died in St James Hospital Leeds on 15th October 2021.

As ACCC Spares Secretary for 30 years, Ray did more than anyone to keep our ‘Counties cars’ on the road. He was a technical ‘tour de force’ always able to answer members’ questions and provide solutions. It is a further sadness that Ray had decided to retire from the role in 2022 and directors were working to identify alternative arrangements.

We will remember Ray with fondness, admiration and gratitude for all he achieved for the ACCC. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.

A full tribute to Ray, and to his extraordinary contributions to our club will appear in the November/December issue of ‘County Counsel’.

Introduction of E10 Fuel in the UK

Members may (or may not!) be aware that many of the UK’s petrol stations have now switched over to using E10 fuel as the standard unleaded provision.

E10 is petrol with 10% ethanol mixed in with it. Whilst we have been using E5 (5% ethanol) for some time, the switch to E10 is likely, according to many credible sources, to damage components of our classic cars.

You should therefore try and use only E5 in your cars. E5 petrol is still going to be available, in ‘most towns’ we’re told, but will be branded as ‘Super Unleaded’ or similar.

You may also have to travel to an independent filling station to obtain it, as most supermarket retailers now seem to stock only E10, and of course, since there will be less demand for it, prices of E5 will be somewhat higher than previously.

If you’ve accidentally filled up with E10, don’t panic – the damage caused by E10 builds up over time, so the advice is to top up with E5 as soon as you can.

The FBHVC offers a comprehensive explanation of the perils of E10, and the situation in respect of future supply of E5 here and here .

FBHVC Publishes Fact Sheet on UK Classic Vehicle Ownership.

You can see the details here .

Some of the facts will immediately ring true with our members – others less so – but that’s a product of the wide range of clubs and vehicles included in the FBHVC’s data.

For example – relatively few ‘Counties’ members will have a vehicle worth the £26,000 average value quoted for classic cars, Few, unless undertaking a significant amount of work on a vehicle, will spend £4,000 or so per annum on a vehicle.

But, perhaps that shows one of the great strengths of our club, the membership of which, despite the pandemic, is holding up well.

We have some great vehicles – members have won ‘Car of the Show’ at the annual NEC Classic Car Show in the past, and prizes in ‘Concours d’Elegance’ elsewhere – but generally our cars are ordinary old Austins, maintained on a budget, by enthusiasts, so whilst we certainly have some ‘elite’ cars, we have never succumbed to elitism.

We may use our cars a little less than the average – but many classic cars in the FBHVC’s survey will be significantly newer than ours (and the membership of related clubs might well be younger on average too).

Anyway, the data is there and I’d recommend taking a look – You can add your comments to this post, or, if you prefer, you can write to ‘County Counsel’ .

Lord Austin’s Office Moved to Gaydon

Another piece of history has been removed from what was once the largest car manufacturer in Britain.

It seems that without very much in the way of consultation with groups interested in preserving the history of Austin at what is left of the Longbridge site, Lord Austin’s office, which up to now had been preserved at the site, has been unexpectedly moved to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.

This has provoked a degree of controversy – as you can see in this article in the local newspaper here.

New – Pay for your Membership Online

You can now pay for your annual membership online by credit or debit card.

If you choose to do so, you will be taken to a secure Worldpay page to enter your card details – the club doesn’t see your card details, and obviously doesn’t therefore retain them.

If paying online, please ensure that you still complete and send a membership or membership renewal form to Mike Greasby – we’re still very keen to know details of the vehicles our members own. Please do not include credit or debit card details on any emailed form – email is not a secure form of communication.

If you are renewing or rejoining after some time away from the club, please remember to enter your membership number in the space provided on the ‘Checkout’ page. For those that are renewing, you can find your membership number on the envelope you receive ‘County Counsel’ in.

You can find the link to pay online here or by visiting our membership page

FBHVC Statement Concerning E10 Fuel Introduction in the UK

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs has released a statement on the introduction of E10 petrol in the UK.

E10 petrol contains up to 10% ethanol. Ethanol has been shown to cause damage to various part of our old cars, including degradation of rubber and plastic components, such as hoses, seals, fuel lines and filters. It also absorbs water from the atmosphere, potentially leading to condensation and corrosion in fuel tanks, lines and other metal components.

The full statement from the FBHVC can be read here.

New Old Stock Spares

Spares Secretary Ray Dawes has some new old stock items for sale, which are being made available to club members.

Stocks are limited, and other items will be added from time to time as they become available.

See here for further details.

Spares Update from Graham Potts and Ray Dawes

During the last couple of months Ray and I have had many enquiries and have been able to fulfil most of them. It has been good to talk to members, many of whom are busy with restorations or just servicing their cars. During these conversations or email exchanges we come across interesting discrepancies. The most recent is dealing with two overseas members who both have GS3 Devons but with a GS2 engine fitted.

As the restrictions ease Ray will be able to make infrequent trips to the club stores to obtain parts and will continue to avoid the Post Office. We have decided that we will have a ‘Spares Despatch Day’ each week. Orders will need to be received by Tuesday evening for packing Wednesday and despatch Thursday. Ray will continue to use various courier services for the delivery of parts which may incur an additional carriage charge. I will continue servicing any requests from the parts I have in my stores in Kent.

As the country continues to recover from the crisis we expect that some parts may be difficult to source particularly the New Old Stock (NOS) parts. These are either purchased from autojumbles, dealers or the general public which is impossible at the moment. Water pumps are still a problem. We have few to recondition and are having problems with our suppliers. We will continue with our efforts to resolve this. If you have any old pumps please let us have them.

My final comments refer to cheques. We are no longer able to accept cheques as we cannot bank them. The bank we use does not accept scanned cheques so they need to be paid in at the counter which Ray is unable to do. We have the facility to do a bank transfer and the details will be on subsequent invoices. We can also accept most credit and debit cards.

Ray and I would like to thank members for their support and understanding at this time and the cheery phone calls.

Graham Potts and Ray Dawes

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