Meet the motoring-mad Herefordshire 11-year-old building his own car – Hereford Times

A CLASSIC car-mad Herefordshire boy  has seen his Austin Seven  named “best restoration” at a major car show by a classic car magazine after embarking on an ambitious project.

Hereford Times: Henry Dukes with his 1937 Austin Seven, Ethelbert, at the NEC Classic Motor Show Henry Dukes with his 1937 Austin tx Seven, Ethelbert, at the NEC Classic Motor Show (Image: Hereford Times)

Henry Dukes, from Bromyard, saw his project car take pride of place on a club stand at the particular NEC Classic Motor Show in November, after two years of work.

The 11-year-old Sutton Primary Academy pupil started their project  just after his ninth birthday in 2020, when he found a completely derelict and  seized 1937 Austin Ruby engine that had not run for over 60 years.

Hereford Times: Henry working on his engine Holly working on his engine (Image: Martin Prior)

Henry was very keen to find out how it worked and, under the supervision of granddad Martin Prior, a coachbuilder and lifelong Austin Seven enthusiast, he began the long job associated with rebuilding it.

Eight months later, he reached a milestone moment when the engine ran for the first time in decades on the bench.

Hereford Times: Henry with his chassis and bodyshell Henry with his chassis and bodyshell (Image: Matn Prior)

And it was not long before this became clear that the particular project has been growing, grandpa Martin said, as Henry had also been busy scavenging the family’s accumulation of Austin texas Seven parts, unearthing the chassis, a stripped bodyshell, and various other parts, all in need of total restoration.

But along with a minimal budget, plenty of components still needed, and work fitted around school, the particular car had been still a long way from complete.

In 2021, assisted by his own Facebook page, Henry’s Dark red , word of Henry’s project began to spread through the Austin 7 community, and offers of parts and services started to pour within.

And in July this year, another milestone was hit, as Holly drove his car close to his grandparents’ garden below its own steam for the first time.


Work is now underway on the car’s interior, with wood framing made by Henry’s granddad and his uncle, David Prior, and seats restored by their grandma, Jo Prior.

On Nov 9, the car was granted the new registration by the particular DVLA, putting it a step closer to returning in order to the roads.

Hereford Times: Henry's Ruby at the NEC Classic Motor Show Henry’s Ruby at the NEC Classic Motor Show (Image: Hereford Times)

“He’s very serious about it, and has done most of the work himself, ” Mr Prior stated.

“He has put two years of function into the vehicle and it has shown no sign of losing interest! We are very proud of the effort he has put in. “

Hereford Times: Henry being interviewed by YouTuber Hubnut at the NEC Classic Motor Show Henry being interviewed by YouTuber Hubnut in the NEC Vintage Motor Display (Image: Martin Prior)

Henry has also been given sponsorship by RH Specialist Vehicle Insurance and has been produced an honorary member of the Square Wheels Club, upon whose remain his Dark red, Ethelbert, took pride associated with place at the NEC Classic Engine Show.

Hereford Times: Henry with YouTuber Furious Driving at the NEC Classic Motor Show Holly with YouTuber Furious Driving at the particular NEC Basic Motor Show (Image: Matn Prior)

The keen youngster plus his car were a hit among visitors to the display, featuring on two of his favourite motoring YouTube channels, HubNut and Furious Driving.

His car was furthermore featured in Classic Car Weekly, with the publication labelling it the “best restoration” on the show.

Hereford Times: Henry with DriveTribe's Mike Fernie and Richard Hammond's Opel Kadett Oliver at the NEC Classic Motor Show Henry with DriveTribe’s Mike Fernie and Richard Hammond’s Opel Kadett Oliver at the NEC Traditional Motor Display (Image: Hereford Times)

Henry mentioned he was “very excited” to have been able to exhibit his car at the particular Birmingham  show, where he also met DriveTribe’s Mike Fernie and has been given the chance to sit in Richard Hammond’s Opel Kadett, Oliver.

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