Just in time for the centenary year of the Austin 7!
Synonymous with being of the most well known vintage cars along with the model T Ford and bringing an affordable car to the masses in Brittan, the Austin 7 or “Baby Austin” as it was affectionally called was one of the most popular cars bought by the British market. So popular were these cars in fact that BMW’s very first car was a licenced copy called the BMW Dixi, France had the Rosengart and even Nissan used the design as a base for their vehicles (though not under licence).
Sir Herbert Austin commenced work on the concept of a smaller vehicle in 1920 mainly to meet the needs of small families aspiring to purchase a motor car after the advent of World War 1. During this time, the British government introduced the Horsepower Tax of 1921 which spurred the idea on however the design concept met opposition from the company’s board as the vehicle was very different from the usual Austin vehicles already in production. To add to this, the Austin Motor Company was in receivership thus did not want to take on a ‘risky’ project. Sir Herbert Austin then decided to undertake the project in secret at his home, hiring a young 17 year old draftsman named Stanley Edge and various other people with expertise in car design to assist.
The first prototype Austin 7 featured a scaled down Austin side valve engine with a capacity of 696cc giving it a RAC rating of 7.2hp. The cylinder block was of cast iron with a aluminium crack case and detachable head. The crankshaft used two main bearings, roller at the rear and ball bearing at the front, with splash lubrication. The engine was mated to a 3 speed crash gearbox with power being sent to the rear via a torque tube. Braking was on all 4 wheels but with a unique catch (by today’s standards) with the foot brake operating the rear brakes and the hand brake operating the front both cable operated. Later in March 1923, the engines capacity was enlarged to 747cc with a RAC rating of 10.5hp and electric starter.
Three prototyped were produced which were shown to the board and then shown to the public in 1922. Since Herbert Austin financed the creation of the cars and also patented his inventions in his own name; he was able to charge the Austin Motor Company royalties on the use of the patents of two guineas per car. Production of the car started in 1923 with 2,500 being sold within the first year. Though sales were under what Herbert Austin had expected in the first year, sales would grow in a satisfying way until the end of production in 1939 by which time around 290,000 Austin 7’s had been made.
The Austin 7 had many different body styles in it’s life time from Tourers, Saloons, Cabriolets, Sports bodies, Coupes, Vans. Many Austin 7’s even went into competition, still being used to this day for hill climbs and rally’s around the world. So much to it’s success, licenced versions were produced as previously mentioned and even started famous brands in their first motoring endeavours such as BMW (BMW Dixy) and the Swallow Side Car Company eventually culminating into Jaguar. The “Big Car in Miniature” had eliminated cycle cars and taken over as Britain’s equivalent of the Model T Ford bringing car ownership to the masses.
This characterful 1929 Austin 7 Chummy is in delightful condition. Believed to be restored in the late 60’s, the vehicle’s condition has held up remarkably well for its age with a little bit of patina here and there adding to its old-world charm. Many original features remain in place from the radiator mounted temperature gauge to the many original brass fixtures and fittings within the engine bay and interior; most of which are hard to source.
Documentation that comes with the Austin records it’s history from 1966 when it was bought from Douglas of Neutral Bay, Sydney for 40 pounds (with 3 pounds delivery). The Austin had suffered damage in a fire at a restoration shop before it was bought however came with many spares. Upon receiving the car, a full restoration took place back to the bear chassis which was completed around 1975. While most of the restoration was completed in Sydney, the owner moved up to Maroochydore in 1971 in which the Austin was transported in the back of a furniture van for the journey. Upon completion, the Austin was entered into various events and rally’s where it won it’s class in the Austin 7 clubs Peregian Beach rally in both 1975, 76, 77 and outright winner in the SCACC annual concourse in 1976. Subsequent history of the Austin is sporadic however it appears that it has been kept within South East Queensland since 1971 and is known to the ‘Austin Seven Register of Queensland’.
This delightful Austin 7 comes with a small folio of paperwork and tools as well. Sold unregistered.
1928 Austin 7 Chummy
Engine: 750cc inline 4 - 3 speed manual
Engine No: M83500