Austin Seven in an 875-mile journey

Graham and Niki Cooke at Land's End with their Austin Seven.
Graham and Niki Cooke at Land's End with their Austin Seven.
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A FATHER and son have successfully negotiated more than 800 miles in a 90-year-old car.

Graham Cooke, 55, and his son Niki, 24, from Shaw Road, South Shore, travelled in an Austin Seven along A-roads and at a top speed of 40mph from John O’Groats to Lands End.

Their 90-year-old car, which has been in the Cooke family since the 1970s, completed the 875-mile route in 32 hours during the Bank Holiday weekend.

Mr Cooke, a self-employed businessman, said: “The car went really well and we both loved the drive over Glen Coe and past Loch Ness and Lock Lomond.

“The hills were tough on the Seven but she managed.

“Our only two real problems were around midnight when we overheated and found the cylinder head core plug had sprung a leak.

“We visited the local village pub where they found some containers for spare water.

“They didn’t believe us when we told them how old the car was, so they all came out to see for themselves and were all very keen to help.

“Our only other problem was the car’s sudden thirst for oil which stopped us later on in the journey.

“We are still mystified about why this happened.”

The Austin Seven was only able to travel along more steeply inclined A-roads because of its average speed of between 35 and 40mph which whould pose a danger to other drivers on the motorways.

Mr Cooke added: “The car drove so much better at night because of the air density and we enjoyed driving along the Welsh borders, but found the A30 through Cornwall a real drag.

“The roads had very long inclines which the car seemed to object to.

“But both Niki and I loved the whole experience and we were given a fantastic reception when we arrived at Land’s End.

“We were greeted by motor club members and holidaymakers who were amazed at the little car’s achievement.

“I wonder how many of today’s cars will be running in 80 years time?”

The Austin Seven survived the journey in one piece and was immediately returned to Towcester, in Northamptonshire, where necessary repairs will be carried out before Mr Cooke plans his next adventure in the Austin Seven.