The Champ comes home

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More than 20 Austin Champs drove through the old Longbridge site to celebrate the vehicle’s 60th birthday as well as the Queen’s Jubilee.

Nearly 13,000 of the all-terrain vehicles were built at the factory from 1952 until 1956, but it is now being developed into homes and offices.

Phil Plumb, from the Champ Owners’ Club (which organised the event) said: “We appreciate the opportunity to celebrate the vehicle’s 60th birthday in its birthplace as part of our Jubilee Rally, which brings together 116 Champs including armoured, ambulance, anti-tank gun and fire engine models.”

The British Army commissioned the Champ in the late ’40s, but despite its ability to wade in six feet of water (thanks to an adjustable snorkel) and fully independent suspension, the contract with Austin was terminated before completion. The military opted instead for the cheaper and simpler Series I Land-Rover.

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