Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Austin 7

My friend from England, see positive letters blog, requested a post on the Austin 7. The Austin 7 is very interesting from a historical perspective. The Austin 7 was a vintage car produced from 1922 through 1939 in the United Kingdom by the Austin Motor Company. Shown below is a prime example of a 1929 Gordon England Wembleau Saloon.
The reason that this vehicle is interesting is that most people are familiar with the rise in popularity of the Model T and Ford Motor Company. The effect that the Austin 7 had on the British market is very similar to the impact that the Model T had in the United States. The Austin 7 was considerably smaller than the Ford Model T with a wheelbase of only 6'3" and weighed only one half as much.

It also was licensed and copied by companies all over the world. Actually, the first BMW models were licensed Austin 7s. In Japan, Nissan also used the Austin 7 design as the basis for their original cars, although not formally licensed.

After World War II, many Austin 7's were rebuilt as specials The first Lotus, the Lotus MK1 was based on the Austin 7. A beautiful example of a 1937 Opal Tourer is shown below.

The Austin 7 name was so well regarded that it was reused for versions of both the A30 in 1951 and the Mini in 1959. We will have an upcoming post on the historical Mini in the future! A 1937 Peal Cabriolet is outlined below.

Austin Motor Company was advanced from a technical standpoint. The Austin 7 was the first mass market car to be fitted with a "conventional" control layout that is found on today's modern cars. Also, the engine was a aluminium crankcase with a cast iron cylinder block and head. They were light years ahead of other auto manufacturers. Shown below is a 1939 Big Seven Sixlite.


  1. Hi Pete .. thanks I've taken a copy to show my mother and we'll talk about the old days and travelling round the garden in our Austin 7!! .. obviously not damaging the garden - lawns & paths .. as it was so light.

    Our number plate was, I think, YJ YJ 64;

    we had the plate in the garage .. so perhaps in those days they never considered transfer of plates .. til cars became so numerous?

    I didn't know your information re the Austin 7 and its historical development & obvious merits in being licensed for use around the world - presumably spreading the rise of the vehicle?

    I learnt to drive on one of the first minis - aged 15 in the garden at home (1964) .. but that's another story!

    Thanks .. we'll enjoy our memories ..
    all the best Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

  2. Hilary,

    Who says your not a car person! You have wonderful car histroy!

    Glad that you enjoyed the post! The Austin 7 was a fabulous milestone in English automotive history.

    Best Regards


  3. Hi Pete .. my Mum loved the post and we talked a little .. she didn't remember much .. but things might pop back in - her brain is very fertile!

    She laughed uproariously with your intro .. "My friend from England .." .. she thought that was very funny & had a good belly laugh .. which is great ..

    Did I say I had a Sunbeam Alpine - a red one? My father bought it for me .. new!!!! Lucky girl! .. actually he wanted it I think & loved his daughter driving round in it.

    I was watching a gardening programme last night & the lady was driving her Dad's 'golden' coloured Alpine round her old haunts. He collected vintage cars and she collected plants! - hence she's very knowledgeable .. another post for my Ma coming up!!

    I loved those days .. I then got an Austin Healy red again! .. & then a blue Lancia ..

    enough of cars .. and memories for now ..

    Happy days - Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

  4. Hello Hilary,

    I am so happy that your mom enjoyed the post! Let me know if she would like me to do a post just for her!

    No, you did not say you had a Sumbeam Alpine! A friend of mine had one when I was at college. Talk about a blast from the past!

    Wow! You have had some very interesting cars! More food for thought!

    Best Regards


  5. Hi Pete .. just luck & a very generous father! I do like snippets of info .. as you've gathered .. it's an easy way to 'learn' .. well encourages thought - I'm not a 'blue stocking'? - do you use that term?

    I have another 'whammy' for you at some stage!! Can't use all my stars at once!

    All the best - Hilary

  6. Hilary,

    Thanks for your comments on the post! I agree with your snippets, that term is not used on this side of the Atlantic but I like all these English terms.

    What is a blue stocking? Let me know when you going to hit me with a whammy!

    Best Regards


  7. Pete, I did not know you were such a history buff. Thanks for the lesson professor!

  8. Hello Dr. Bob,

    Thanks for the comment! I am attempting to ad a new dimension to my blog. Actually, there have been a number of positive comments about certain historical points that visitors found interesting.

    Best Regards


  9. Hi Pete ... thanks for the post across to my "positiveletters" blog .. my Ma loves the name of the Gordon England Wembleau Saloon!! .. we can't understand 'Wembleau' .. rather than Wembley - funny name!! I still need to write my post on our Austin 7 .. & her remembrances .. then I'll link back ..

    Have a good weekend .. thanks Hilary

  10. Hilary,

    I agree that is a fancy name! Thanks for the information on the name! I thought that Wembleau was an English name.

    Great idea on your Austin 7 post! Let me know and we can link! It has been super working with you!

    Have a wonderful weekend!