As historic vehicles lined up for the start of the Cornwall Vintage Vehicle Society run from Helston to The Lizard recently, one car had an impressive back story that few can boast.

The black pre-war Austin Seven ‘Forlite’ driven by Douglas Castle of Helston has, unusually, been in his family for 70 years.

Douglas was with his grandfather on September 27, 1947 when the then nine-year old car, with two previous owners, was bought for £280 – the equivalent of £10,570 today. Very few cars had survived the war intact and as new car production had not yet resumed, the prices of second-hand cars in good condition were high.

His grandfather needed the car for his work as a Ministry of Housing Inspector, visiting new-build sites around south London and Surrey six days a week, but a young Douglas also got to enjoy the occasional day out in it during the school holidays, when his grandparents visited.

His grandmother, whose brothers Alderman William Rogers and Jack Rogers both served as mayors of the old Helston Borough, had been born at Rosevear near Mawgan and they often travelled the 335 miles from their home at Bexleyheath to see their family – the journey taking 18 hours.

Douglas’s mother then used the car from 1956 until 1971 and when it was passed to him nostalgia meant that he could not part with it, but with a young family and lack of any mechanical ability the car was put in storage, where it deteriorated.

It was not until 2001, when Douglas and his wife Janet saw historic vehicles gathering at Helston Cattle Market that he decided it was time to have the car restored. While much work has been done to the car over the years, its 900cc, 25bhp engine, gearbox, axles and suspension remain the originals.

Now with 67,230 miles on the clock, it is one of only 140 Forlite known to survive worldwide from the 8,000 built.

For several years Douglas and Janet’s grandchildren enjoyed outings in what was once their great, great-grandfather’s car – something few children can surely say.