Shelly Park local Bruce Cooper used to drive tanks in the South African Army. His love of all things mechanical has continued over the years, and he has amassed quite the collection of vintage cars, functioning model steam trains, and remote-controlled boats.

His garage is an engineer’s dream, adorned with classic motorcycles, and working on projects.

The upcoming Brit-Euro Classic Car Show (March 1st), will be Bruce’s 5th appearance, he will be bringing his prized 1925 Austin Clifton.

The Clifton has had eight owners over the past 95 years, and Bruce has rebuilt the engine. He acquired it after childhood memories of Gumdrop, a series of children’s books penned by Val Biro which featured a similar model that went on adventures.

1925 austin

Amusingly, “Gumdrop” is an example of onomatopoeia representing the sound made by the Austin starting up.

The  Times was lucky enough to be given a ride in the grand old lady, which chugged it’s way down to Cockle Bay Beach and attracted curious looks from bystanders.

Bruce says “he gets used to the attention of people seeing something from yesteryear” making its way around the quiet streets of Shelly Park. He has even taken it as far as Northland, aided by its recommended cruising speed of 80km per hour.

The Brit&Euro Classic Car Show is a free event, held annually at Lloyd Elsmore Park, and this year a record 1140 classic cars and motorcycles have signed up, pushing the show to capacity.