Trevor Cole is an inspiration in many ways. Today he drove from Ivanhoe in Melbourne with his Austin 7 that he purchased in 1971 and unloaded it from its trailer as he always has. This year he is 91 years old and is still hurtling up Rob Roy Hill Climb in his Austin 7 the same way he did when he started racing in 1951 at Sydney Speedway. Trevor speaks of one of his proudest moments, “I used to run in the same races that Jack Brabham did and of course he was up the front and I was at the rear. My greatest memory was at a place called Darling, which was a women’s army camp during World War 2, the access roads are still there even if the rest has been pulled down. The Preston Motorcycle Club used to run meets there and I used to service the presidents car and he said “Why don’t you bring your Austin 7 up?”. Quite a few Austin 7’s went up there, they had mostly 500’s, 250’s and the like. Anyway, I went out in a handicap and I won it! I have got the trophy at home still.”
Trevor has raced a variety of cars over the years including a Lotus 18, HQ Holden and a Datsun 1600, apart from his beloved Austin 7. Trevor explains the origins of his vehicle, “It was built by a chap named Dale Shaw, who was an apprentice mechanic, he converted a touring car into a racing car incorporating a lot of ideas that had been previously tried, and it was frowned upon when it was first built because it was so specialised. It was a very successful car and a very quick car and I have endeavoured to keep it as he built it. I am the fourth owner, I have only owned it for 43 years. It’s a good toy and it doesn’t cost me too much to run. My pension doesn’t cover my hobbies very well.
Trevor also has some opinions on motor sport today and the difficulties many competitors face, “What you see around you today is as good as it gets for people like us, in other sorts of racing you have to be some sort of millionaire or have some sort of financial support”. Even though he feels the financial pressures of the sport he said it is always worth it to participate at events such as Rob Roy, “You see all the old cars come out and the old owners, the first time I raced here was of course in the 1950’s. When I come here, everybody knows me.”
OAMPS have agreed to insure Trevor up until 2015 and the rumour is that this will most likely be his last Rob Roy Hill Climb. However, what is most apparent is Trevor’s amazing attitude to getting in his car after all these years. When asked how it felt racing at 91 years of age he said, “Nothing's changed, it’s the same car, I still fit in it and it’s the same hill I come back to every year.” CAMS wishes Trevor Cole and his Austin 7 all the best, it is an inspiration to see our oldest licenced member still going strong after all these years.