1934 Austin Seven Tourer

The Collection’s Exhibit

The Austin Seven was the salvation of the Austin Motor Company. Herbert Austin’s eponymous firm went into receivership in 1921 and its major creditors – specifically banks and insurance companies – put in managers to run the operation. Austin himself felt excluded from his own business and took to spending most of the day at his house. It was there he conceived the Seven.

Austin’s ambition was to ‘put Britain on wheels’ with a car that was both small and affordable. He took an 18 years old draughtsman, Stanley Edge, from the factory design office and gave him the task of putting his (Austin’s) ideas onto paper. Edge worked secretly on the design of the Seven at Herbert Austin’s country home, Lickey Grange, near Bromsgrove, and the resulting prototypes were built clandestinely in a corner of the Longbridge, Birmingham, works.

The Seven was a success from the day it went on sale in 1922, and quickly put an end to the prolific cycle-car trend that had hitherto existed in the light car market. By the time production ceased in 1939 some 290,000 cars and vans had been produced.

Small and light with a four-cylinder engine – originally 696cc but increased to 747cc in 1923 – and a three-speed gearbox, also designed by Edge, the basis of the Seven was a simple ‘A’ frame chassis that allowed a variety of different body styles, on a wood frame with metal or fabric covering, to be fitted. The Seven had four wheel brakes, but initially the brake pedal operated only on the rear wheels, the front brakes being applied by the handbrake – all brakes were operated by the foot pedal from 1932.

The Shuttleworth Collection Tourer was built in 1934 and differs from the standard model in that it has the chrome plated lamps and larger tyres normally associated with the 1935 models. The bumpers also appear to have come from a later specification vehicle.

 

Manufactuer: Austin Motor Co Ltd, Longbridge, England
Model: Seven, open tourer
Engine: 747cc  four-cylinder
Top Speed: 50 mph

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