While the year is nearing the end of the course, I want to offer you a ride in the first true "people's car" produced in Old World - the Austin 7.
"The Seven is an enthusiast's car. A mechanic's car. It can be truly be enjoyed by a driver who has touched all it's bits and pieces. The Seven begs that every nut and bolt be tightened, adjusted and caressed - a four-wheel delight. Driving the Seven and being able to feel all its parts working in harmony is a sensual experience in motoring to be envied by all who drive vehicles of lesser character*."
This smart little car was designed by Sir Herbert Austin and Stanley Edge in 1921-1922. Its spiritual predecessor was the Peugeot Bébé(1913) designed by no other than Ettore Bugatti:
Photo by robertknight16 @ Flickr
Like the Bébé, the Seven was lightly built, weighing only 794 lbs (360 kg). It was compact, the wheelbase measuring 6 ft 3 inches (1.905 m), and the track 40 inches (1.016 m). Powered by a 10.5 bhp four-cylinder sidevalve 747 cc, the car was fitted with a three-speed gearbox.
American Austin (later Bantam)
Photo by sjb4photos@ Flickr
Photo by gueguette80@ Flickr
German Dixi (later BMW)
Photo by Zappadong@ Flickr
The luxury version was built from 1927 by the Swallow Sidecar Company, co-owned by William Lyons:
Photo by Albert S. Bite@ Flickr
To serve a pleasant reminder: nine years after, the same company released the Jaguar, and the rest is history.
Now comes a New Year's Eve show, from the collection of Austin7nut@ Flickr - one Austin Seven per each year of production:
1931 Austin 7 Type RM
1932 Austin 7 Type RP
1933 Austin 7 AEW 4 Seater Sports
1934 Austin 7 Type AJ
1935 Austin 7 Type ARQ Ruby
1936 Austin Seven Type AC Pearl Cabriolet
1937 Austin 7 Gould Imp No.1
1938 Austin Seven Type AVK Van
1939 Austin Big 7
and some Australian and NZ Sevens:
1928 Holden bodied Austin Seven 2 seater
1930 Australian Austin Seven Van
1937 Holden Austin Seven Coupe
and finally, a real bonus: