A decades-old Inverness van has been restored to its former glory – 83 years after beginning its service in the Highlands.
The Austin 10 van, first registered in Inverness in 1937, was purchased by David Ralph two years ago, becoming a passion project for the car enthusiast.
The 58-year-old, from Crawley in West Sussex, bought his first old vehicle in 1982, a Bedford Lorry, to mark his 20th birthday and for the last 38 years, he has devoted his time to restoration.
Mr Ralph explains how he came to own the Inverness van.
He said: “I saw the van on the internet on a classic car sale website in December 2018.
“I like Austins; I have had a lot of Austins over the years. I have already got an Austin 10 car so I thought it would be nice to have an Austin 10 van as well.”
The vehicle, bearing the registration ST9438, is understood to have been first registered to Andrew Douglas Munro of Innes Street, a local butcher by trade.
For the last two years, the car enthusiast has invested around £2,500 in restoring the vehicle for display in classic car shows across the country.
He explained how the lockdown became both a hindrance and a blessing in completing the renovations.
He added: “The lockdown has been the most challenging because when doing some of the jobs I needed an extra pair of hands, particularly when I was bolting bits back on and putting the engine in but due to lockdown I couldn’t have friends or relations over to help me.
“I was off work for three months because of lockdown so I did a lot of work between March and June.
“I am very happy with it.”
As works near completion, the proud owner is now dedicating his time to establishing the history of the city butcher and how the van came into existence in the north.
Mr Ralph is hoping one day he can make the 600 mile trip north to bring it back to its hometown.
He said: “Any vehicle I own I always try and trace all the history because it’s not just an object, it’s not just a vehicle, its part of history. Other people have owned it and driven it and it’s nice to try and trace previous owners.
“It would be nice to find the original signwriting on it when it was new because I would like to put it back exactly as it was in 1937.
“I will be taking it to classic car shows but it would be lovely one day to be able to bring it back up to Inverness.”