Tag Archives: Austin Seven

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NEC Magic

Mea Culpa, the Special Correspondent sent me this piece ages back. It got lost in what passes for my filing system but has popped back into view and is too good to waste……..so a quick look back to the 2016 Classic Car Show at the NEC.


The 6/80 and its 4-cylinder counterpart, the 4/50, were the first new post-war Wolseleys, having much in common with Nuffield’s new range of Morris cars presented at Earls Court in 1948 – the Minor, Oxford and Six. They used the same 4-door monocoque body, the newly-introduced torsion bar independent front suspension ( a first for both Morris and Wolseley), the fashionable steering-column gear change and even the pull-out door handles. The Wolseleys, however, used overhead camshaft engines and the Morris Six shared the 6-cylinder unit of the 6/80.

The first public awareness of the future MGA was the appearance of prototypes under the code EX 182. Ken Wharton and Dick Jacobs carried out testing in April 1955 at Silverstone and three cars were entered for that year’s Le Mans 24 Hour race. Ken Miles and racing motorcyclist Johnny Lockett finished 12th in the car shown above and Ted Lund and Swiss Hans Wäffler came 17th. The third car was crashed at the White House corner and burnt out, Dick Jacobs being seriously injured, bringing to an end his racing career.

Three cars also raced in the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod, one with an experimental twin-cam engine.

Singer launched their 1100 c.c. Ten in 1912, the first proper light car (as distinct from the cyclecars), and forged a fine reputation with it. This was enhanced with the introduction of their excellent Junior in 1926, by which time Singer was Britain’s third largest manufacturer behind Morris and Austin. The Junior was given an 847 c.c. overhead camshaft engine, the smallest British car so equipped, although Wolseley and Rhode had been using this layout beforehand. The little Singer came with a variety of body styles from the outset.

On December 4th 1928 Bill Deeley of the Aylesbury Motor Company and Ernest Wood of the Singer dealer in Exeter took a Singer Junior Sports Model to the notorious Porlock Hill in Somerset where the gradient was as much as 1 in 4.5 and where there were two very sharp hairpin bends, and made 100 ascents and descents in 15 hours, all under R.A.C. observation. In recognition of this achievement Singer renamed the boat-tail Sports model the Porlock in January 1929.
This is one of them.

This is a 1936 Rover Speed Twelve Sports Tourer. The Sleaford, Lincolnshire Rover agent, Billy Maidens, entered the car for the 1937 R.A.C. Rally in March and achieved 924.4 points out of 1000. The car also ran in the Scottish and Welsh rallies that year.

It was specially prepared (probably at Rover’s Seagrave depot in London) and had twin downdraft S.U. carburettors.

Good to see the latest Ford GT which won the LM GTE PRO class at Le Mans in 2016.

This Triumph was one of three specially built Gloria four seat Tourers with lightened chassis, all aluminium body construction, a 17-gallon slab tank and twin spare wheels entered for the 1934 Monte Carlo Rally. John Beck and Reg Tanner finished 27th overall. The design became the prototype of the popular sporting “Monte Carlo” model.

TAILPIECE

This is an authentic example of the Military version of the Austin Seven of which about 150 were built in 1929-31 with bodies by Mulliners of Birmingham. They were useful transport for junior officers and NCOs.

David Blumlein, June 2017

Drive to Arras

40th ARRAS BOURSE D’ECHANGES

With the centennial commemorations of the Battle of Arras just three weeks away, the organisers of the city’s annual classic car event must have felt they were fighting a new battle as gale force winds and lashing rain poured down during the run-up. Fortunately the rain at least had abated by the day itself and Club Ravera will have heaved a collective sigh of relief as the 500-space outdoor parking once again filled-up with classics of every sort, whilst indoors the large autojumble thronged with those anxiously seeking that vital component.

Fighting a battle of their own must have been Ray and Kathleen Brogan as they had journeyed over from Kent to display their ex-London County Council 1952 Reliant Regent three-wheeler van. With open sides and a top speed of 40mph it would have been quite a journey – their first problem was convincing Eurotunnel that the vehicle actually existed! They are regular visitors to the show, more usually with a Sunbeam Talbot, but this was the first time with the Reliant.

And they were not the only Brits to take part, with others bringing vehicles ranging from a stunning fabric-bodied Austin Seven saloon to a Ferrari 328 GTS. Morris Minor owners from Kent were also in attendance. They are in the main repeat visitors, knowing that they will get a very warm welcome from the organisers and show visitors alike.

The indoor display represented good variety, ranging from pre-war machinery such as a Chenard Walcker, Panhard and Peugeot, through to familiar cars and ‘bikes from more recent times. There was variety a-plenty too, from a Fiat Dino Spider to a 1941 Gnome-Rhone motor-cycle and sidecar that was used in large numbers on the Russian Front. Many were imaginatively displayed too, such as the Peugeot 404 and caravan in holiday mode. Amongst the clubs, the Matra Simca Rancho owners were celebrating the cars’ 40th anniversary, and in true French style the members were tucking into some very creamy chocolate cake!

Outside there was the inevitable plethora of Citroen 2CV’s and Traction Avante’s, including one rare LHD Slough-assembled 1950 Light 15, one of just 304 built between 1949-54, it was delivered new to Casablanca in 1951. There was even a couple of Lomax’s, one three-wheeled, the other with four wheels. The British-built kit car is based on 2CV components, but now with the relentlessly upward trajectory in 2CV values in recent times it must be becoming increasingly hard to source donor vehicles.

Otherwise there was the full spectrum from rat-look VW 1500 to a superb Aston Martin DB6 that appeared to have travelled a bit. Although French registered, the RHD car bore a Wales badge on the back and a New York City technical inspection sticker on the windscreen.

It was not the only car present to have crossed the Atlantic as Americana was very much in evidence with several Ford Mustang’s, an enormous Buick LeSabre and Chevrolet El Camino pick-up amongst others. The show was stolen late in the day though, by the arrival of a stunning black 1971 Buick Riviera which quickly had the crowds gathering round.

An extremely enjoyable event that not even the weather could spoil; always held on the third Sunday in March, it’s well worth a quick hop across the Channel.

John Elwin March 2017