SIR HERBERT'S HANDY HISTORY
(from the Solent A7C magazine October 1998 with many thanks)

1917 Herbert Austin knighted

1920 Slump in the motor industry -Austin Twelve too expensive - Finances bad. In early summer Herbert Austin considers making a cheap small car - makes rough sketches.

1921 Designing takes place in the billiard room at Lickey Grange near Bromsgrove (Austin's home) Young draughtsman, Stanley Edge draws the details.

1922 January - Car announced to public. Early in the year 1st. prototype OK 2950. Specification:- (a) Touring type (canvas hood) body to carry two adults and two children in back. (b) Small 7 hp (RAC rating) engine of 696 cc. Soon enlarged to 750 cc in 1923 (c) Brakes on all four wheels (d) No speedometer (e) 3 speed and reverse gearbox 1922 (July) Road tests by motoring press were enthusiastic. Good power, road holding and brakes etc. OK 2950 competes at the famous Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb

1923 The cars are raced at Brooklands and on the continent with light fabric bodies. The production car becomes known as the "Chummy". Pram Hood, headlamps on scuttle. Price 165. 2 1/2 cwt Van body available.

1924 Shock absorbers introduced (none before)

1926 Small coachwork firms offer two-seater sports bodies:- Burghley, Taylor, Thomas Hughes, Austin's own, Gordon England and Boyd Carpenter. Racing continues with success at Brooklands and Shelsley. The Gordon England Cup and Brooklands models most famous, the latter sold with a guaranteed 75 mph. J. Paves (brother of Dinah Paves) races the ex Arthur White car “Slippery Anne" *See note below - Ed. Hood and side screens improved. Larger brake drums. All racing overseen by Sir Herbert's son-inlaw Colonel Arthur Waite.

1927 Saloon bodies introduced. "Top Hat". Headlights moved to front. Colonel Waite is sent to Australia to market the cars there and start racing. Herbert Austin sails to America to discuss marketing the Seven there. Finds a manufacturer. The Bantam begins.

 

1928 Competition! The Morris Minor is announced and also other makes such as Clynor. Austins manufactured under licence in France - the Rosengart - and in Germany - the Dixi - later to become BMW. Austins introduce the Super Sports.

1929 The Swallow coachbuilt saloon appears. Built by the Swallow sidecar company. Eventually becoming Jaguar. Start of coil ignition. End of magnetos.

1930 Front and rear brakes coupled. The Super Sports becomes the "Ulster". Army orders military version.

1931 The 100 Morris Minor. Austins were 122 but still sell well.

1932 More roomy bodies, fourspeed gearbox. Wheelbase increased by 6 inches. Petrol tank moves to rear. Another Sports model announced - the "65". 1933 "65" name changed to the "Nippy". Prices increased but Austin get down to 100 guineas for 2 seater. Ford Tudor 120. All this time, record breaking was taking place at Brooklands and Montchery. MGs slightly faster because of overhead valves.

1934 (Oct.) Three new Models: The Ruby, Opal and Pearl. Chrome radiator superseded by painted cowl as for body colour. 17" wheels. Smoother lines. Engine still the same. Vans still available.

1934- Another sports model - The Speedy

1935 Only a few (18?) produced. Too heavy?

1935 Peak production year of the Seven - 27,280 sold.

1936 Sir Herbert authorises manufacture of 3 or 4 special racers - The Twin Cam.. Leading designer - Tom Murray- Jameson. Great success after early teething troubles. Drivers: Pat Driscol C. Dodson, Bert Hadley, W. Baumer, Charles Goodacre

1937 Various improvements to the range. Existing body made smoother, centre bearing for crankshaft (1936), Girling brakes. New "Big Seven" introduced - Popular.

1939 (January) Production of the Seven finishes - as the design is now dated. Big Seven production continues.

1939 (March) Last Seven Van

1941 (23rd May) Lord Austin dies.

Frank Claxton With many thanks –Ed


“I read the article ‘Sir Herbert Austin History’ with interest.  If you look at 1926 you will find ‘J. Paves (brother of Dinah Paves’ and I thought it might interest the members to know that the name is mis-spelt. It should have read ‘John Pares, (brother of Dinah Pares)’ . Dinah Pares being a deceased member of the Solent Club. John Pares was my father and Dinah Pares, my aunt, left me Austin 7 OU 6194 which is a member of the DA7C at this time!
After getting his degree in the early Twenties, my father, John Pares, went to Austin as a production engineer and learnt his trade both on production and in racing for the company at Brooklands.  He owned ‘Slippery Anne’, the Austin Special Number 1 and was involved in several meetings until 1925 when he suffered severe head injuries when his car “went over the top” from hitting an oil slick during the 200 mile race.  Sir Herbert Austin later complained that “he paid him to put cars together, not smash them up.”!  JP contributed to the evolving design of the Seven and invented, among other refinements, the reserve tank.
I still have Slippery Anne’s name plate and other souvenirs of that Brooklands’ season.

Ann Harries DA7C