Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

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.

From 1922 to 1939, 290 thousand Sevens were produced. There were also licence-built versions:

American Austin (later Bantam)
Photo by sjb4photos@ Flickr

French Rosengart
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:

1922 Austin Seven XL-3 (third) Prototype

1923 Austin 7 Type AB Tourer

1924 Austin 7 Sports 50mph

1925 Austin Seven Type AC Tourer

1926 Austin 7 Type AD Van

1927 Austin Seven Gordon England Cup

1928 Austin Seven Fixed Head Coupe by Maythorn and Sons

1929 Austin 7 Swallow 2 seater

1930 - Austin 7 in the Antarctic

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:

* austinsevenfriends.com

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Comment by Roverdriver on January 17, 2012 at 4:59am

A 7's were fun to drive, but the ones that I came across had a fierce clutch. Just put the car into gear with the clutch pedal depressed, then just a wriggle of one toe and you were off!

Comment by Pilsner Panther on December 30, 2011 at 9:24pm

Buster Keaton's "Baby Austin" comes to a bad end:


Comment by David King on December 30, 2011 at 6:22pm

And according to the Top Gear group (I'm a big fan), the Austin 7 is the first car with the modern control layout.

Comment by lojzo on December 30, 2011 at 2:05pm

Small is beautiful. ;-)

Comment by Cap'n Tony on December 30, 2011 at 8:11am


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