Shropshire garage owner's favourite car turns up – after 43 years after being sold
A retired Shropshire garage owner has been reunited with a car he fell in love with 43 years ago – after his son unwittingly bought it at auction.
John Edwards, aged 81, sold the 1972 Saab 96 from new for £1,023 when he was director of Westbury Garage in Shrewsbury.
He was so taken with the car that he photographed it in 1972 and hung the picture in the garage for many years.
Last month Mr Edwards's son, James Edwards, who took over the running of the garage when his father retired in 1996, spotted a 1972 Saab 96 at auction and bought it for £5,000.
He recognised the vehicle had been registered in Salop – the official name of Shropshire between 1974 and 1980 – as old-style number plates start with three letters identifying the place of registration.
But he had no idea that the car, which he bought from Richard Edmonds Auctions in Chippenham, Wiltshire, had been sold by his father 43 years ago.
Mr Edwards Snr, who lives in Shrewsbury, was stunned to see the vehicle returning to the garage's forecourt.
The original paperwork for the sale was tracked down in the garage's archives.
His son, 43, of Ludlow, now plans to use the car and display it in the garage, which is now an all-makes service centre, and is researching its history.
"I was amazed to discover Dad had sold the car all that time ago," Mr Edwards said.
"I knew there was a local connection, but had no idea it was such a strong one."
Mr Edwards also tracked down Doris Williams, 89, from Westbury, who had worked in the garage and washed the car in 1972 while it waited to be sold.
His father, who is still a chairman of Westbury Garage, sold the car to Charlie Rodgers, who had lived in Church Stretton, and kept the car for around 20 years before selling it to Bill Jarvis, who lived in Hodnet.
The car, which has now clocked 97,000 miles, was later sold to a new owner in the Norfolk area.
Auctioneer Mr Edmonds said: "When James told us the story about the car and his father, we were blown away.
"I feel like we've played matchmaker in this story, which is wonderful for us and our team.
"Saab 96s were once very common in the UK but now you rarely see them up for sale. This one was in fabulous condition."
The registration of the car is BAW 77IL.
Anyone with information about the car's history after it was sold by Mr Edwards is asked to contact the garage, in Featherbed Lane, Shrewsbury, on (01743) 441445.
Westbury Garage was originally set up in Westbury by Mr Edwards Snr and his wife Sheila in 1964.
The business moved to the site in Shrewsbury in 1982.
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