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No air, stereo? No worries

FORMER Gympie optometrist Peter Goldsworthy does not see the problem.

Here he is driving around Gympie (and even around Queensland) in a car no larger than a billiard table and not a lot faster.

No air con, no stereo, no internet connectivity, no lumbar support, no carpet, no computerised fuel injection and the kind of acceleration that will take you from zero to 60kmh in probably something like 25 minutes...

Yet it is, he says, a lot of fun to drive. And you don't need an optometrist to see that.

His 85-year-old Austin 7 was not originally designed as a baker's van, but when a large falling tree branch ended its good looks as a roadster, the owner rebuilt it in a more useful form.

"It was owned by a Peter Baker, so I guess that makes it a baker's van one way or another," he said.

The tiny 1929-30 car gets there in the long run, "but it is a long run," Mr Goldsworthy said.

"I drove it to Rockhampton earlier in the year," he says, "two days each way."

"I don't know how many times it's been around the clock or how many engines it's had.

"It's been rebuilt three or four times I'm aware of," he says of his town car.

"It causes a stir around town. I keep well to the left going up Calton Hill.

"It's a proper motor car, but shrunk.

"It will fit on a billiard table. It's 2.9m long and just under 1200mm wide.

"It's a great fun car.

"The Austin 7 was the first car to be driven up Cape York, in 1928.

"Hector Macquarie and a mate drove it up there from Sydney. They were going to drive it around the world, but the ship it was on sank.

"So they went to New Zealand and bought another one and drove that around the world.

"My highway speed is 60kmh, but it will do 80kmh downhill and with a good tail wind.

"I've driven one of these to Canberra and to Brisbane many times - as long as you don't go on the fast roads," he said.

Gympie Times

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