Austin Healey 100/4

Racing against somebody else feels instinctive. I will presume that many politically correct people who believe that we should all be equal will perhaps take umbrage at this opening statement but I will attempt to explain.

You see, when we were all living in caves and having to scrabble around plains for food, it doesn’t appear to my small brain that there would have been a group of people not willing to race against others to bag the best beast first. Likewise, I don’t suppose that there may have been that many people tending to purple sprouting broccoli in favour of a steak dinner or standing under a tree in the hope that an apple may decide to stop hanging on to the branch and sacrifice itself to the naked fruitarian waiting below.

For we are human and the phrase has been coined that we are in a race, the human race. We are animals and as such all what we have been programmed to do is to survive. That is why I believe that to race against others is an instinct. And we know by watching amazing BBC Wildlife documentaries that those who are last become food while those in front continue to survive.

Now, I’m not so pig-headed that I don’t understand that as humans our power of awareness and understanding of others means that we can help the weakest in our race so that they don’t become food but I like winners. I like competition for I feel it makes people strive to be the best that they can be. Rather than put everyone on the level, we need to have the best of the best. How dull would the world be if we were all the same?

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Think about it. There would be no reason for someone to try because others would try for him or her. The Olympics would see the gun getting fired at the start of the one hundred metres and then everyone would trundle to the line at the speed of the slowest competitor. Gold medals all round for taking part. Horse racing would come to a standstill because if one horse refused a jump then they would all need to circle back to sit down and discuss the reasons for not jumping and it would simply become a discussion group. Formula One would see qualifying binned as tracks would just be widened to accommodate the field driving past the flag all abreast and twenty drivers all on the top step of the podium. How shit.

So, I would like to think that instead of making everyone equal, we should relish in the fact that some people are cut out for competitive sports and others are not. Instead of making a child take part in say football that they have no desire or ability at, then support him or her in what they are good at. I was atrocious as a footballer for example but I had stamina when running and loved throwing things. The Discus and the Javelin were right down my alley as was running the third leg of the 4x100m relay but I had no concept of the offside rule and the fancy footwork of a new born Bambi, yet I was still shouted at to try harder and even picked to play in the football team.

The result of which led to me straying so far offside that the referee thought I was one of the opposing teams defenders until he was shouted at and I was substituted. That was the end of my playing football outside of an occasional kick-about with friends and I was the happier for it.

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But even though I was a talentless footballer, I did appreciate the competitive side of sport and continued to support my friends who did play in the team and for that I am truly grateful because it has allowed me to view talented people with admiration and not jealousy.

Nowhere more is my admiration for talented sports people more shown than motorsport. I think seeing anyone with a passion for anything is a beautiful thing but to be up close and personal with a driver who displays their competitive streak, their love of racing and their euphoria of winning is a thing of beauty. The raw elation of being first whether it is in a go-kart or a Formula One car is always displayed. From a pedal car to banger racing there is a winner drenched in endorphins and punching the air with that primeval instinct of not having been eaten. And at least the loser gets to fight another day too.

The reason for that diatribe was not because I’m about to regale you with the story of one such victorious driver but more of a lasting testament to the car of one, an original Austin Healey 100/4.

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A young man, who, in his ‘20s had an inheritance from his parents, purchased this Austin Healey from the UK. He had been racing in another car and wanted a Healey so shipped this purchase back to the USA where he fitted a roll cage, removed the windscreen and off he went. The car only has a verified three hundred and twenty-one miles from new on it and has some ‘60’s and ‘70s racing plaques on the dashboard and was a one-owner vehicle.

Sadly, that owner has passed away and his widow has allowed the car to be sold to a great pair of hands and it has now finally arrived back here in Britain. The plan is to retain as much of the patina as possible while returning the car to full racing order and having it take part in future events such as the Goodwood Revival and Le Mans.

It will all be a long process but will be worth it because it will go from being at the back of the pack and allowed to be ravaged by time and forgotten to being bought back to life and allowed to race again. It may never win a trophy, it may never be more than last in the field but it will be allowed to do what it was intended to do.

Take part and race.

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The people who rescue these cars from barns, fields, sheds and the like will be featured in a new section of The Mather Collection where will be focusing our articles on bringing you their stories. These are the people who prepare, resurrect or very occasionally, have to put down these cars in order for them to survive. For just as we as humans need to embrace that we are not all equal neither are the objects of our affection. One mans love is another mans hate but we should embrace the diversity and be thankful that we live in a world where we can do that. Otherwise the colour in the world would fail to be so vibrant and who knows what car we’d have to drive around in then.

A Kia probably.