Please read "Change forum" post!
As announced, board is switched to "view only" - mode until closure for backup.
I thought I would start a new thread... as it says..
1971, Newcastle Upon Tyne and a hairy University student.
At that time the van was transport from home in Birmingham to Newcastle University [quite a long way...].
I recall fuel was expensive though, on a student grant :- afterall, you only got three gallons of 2-star for your pound note...
The van was also known as ''squeals on wheels" for [ahem] various reasons...
Anyone got any more pictures of themselves in olden times?
** I realise that , in these modern times, the terms ''Student Grant'' "2-star" and "Pound Note" are difficult concepts to grasp ...**
Charlie Carpenter leant me his RN saloon for 4 years whilst I was at University. It was my every day transport in Glasgow, including trips home to Bristol.
We used to drive it up to Glen Coe with our camping gear (three, and sometimes, four up) almost every weekend to go climbing and skiing - fabulous car, also the slowest one I have ever used.
One trip up the weather was so wild and windy that, as we rounded the corner north onto Rannoch Moor, the windscreen wiper arm blew right off into the pitch black blizzard never to be seen again - I had to continually wipe the windscreen clear with a gloved hand for the rest of drive. Almost the whole of that particular journey was done in second gear and took an eternity.
I have no early austin 7 life, but this is my grandfather...
I didn't have an Austin7 at university. I was the proud owner of a 4.3 litre Alvis. It did about 12 to the gallon. When petrol went above 50p a gallon it had to go. Replaced by an Austin 7 special. I still have it at the back of the garage.
Great shots. Keep them coming. Laid up after a hip replacement so need the entertainment.
Location: Vernon Briish Columbia
Paul , I did put it on another thread , your van is alive and kicking , taxed until December.
I have no pictures, but an Austin Opal was the first car I went solo in, not actually driving, as an inquisitive brat I took the hand brake off and it rolled away, fortunately my Dad an uncle were on hand to stop it before any damage was done, but strangely enough the car meet its demise only a few feet from that spot a year later, my uncle bought the car from Dad and built a Hamblin Cadet with it, the last we heard of the Cadet it had a steering arm brake and was written off.
Dad bought the Opal when I was born in 1953 and we traveled from Tottenham to Tenby at least twice a year till I got to big to sit on my Mums lap. Dad said he was once approached by two lads with a supercharged Ulster, they asked if they could look under the bonnet, Dad obliged them and explained the engine came out off a GPO van, the seemed a little puzzled and told Dad they had been following him for some miles and could not keep up with the Opel and wondered what tuning Dad had done.
Originally a 1929 saloon but when I bought it in 1955 fitted with a utility body.
By 1956 I had taken off the body- stripped and cleaned the engine and chassis, fitted a bucket seat and two gallon tin.
I drove this unregistered around Malvern and surrounding suburbs, finally fitting a 1929 Australian built Meteor Sports body.
The car is now under restoration in country Victoria.
I then bought a 1929 Holden fabric Saloon which I drove to Caulfield Tech each day (fully road registered this time).
Location: Malvern, Victoria, Australia.
Hi What a great new thread, Hope we have more put up
Two contributions from me - 1964ish, aged 12 with the Big 7 I persuaded my Dad to buy for £5, which we rebuilt and he used to commute from home in Somerset to Bath, until he forgot to put oil in it and seized the engine. It sat on our drive for several years until mother sold it for 30 bob. I found its stripped-out remains in Yeovil years later. The model Lincoln is still with me!
The second pic show me and my freshly rebuilt Ruby in Yeovil on the day I returned it to the road in November 1975. I was a trainee reporter on the Western Gazette at the time and they ran a story, with this pic,, headlined 'Its Ruby's Ruby' as it was 40 years to the day from when it was first registered. The car is still with me as well and has aged better than I have!
Location: Port Isaac
I didn't get into A7 ownership until the 1980s but here's a shot of me with one of my projects - an AJS 650cc 31 CSR Sports that I rescued from a collapsed garage near Rotherham for the princely fee of £5. It came attached to a massive Watsonian double adult sidecar, which was subsequently scrapped.
Nice bike in its day. Leaked oil more than an A7. Should have kept it, but...
Location: Gard, France 30960
Thought I would my first one in case it is still around. Taken around 1947,
Location: South London
John O'Groats, Summer 1966.
Left to right'
Cliff Bradshaw, Tony Hillyard, Chris Illman and myself.
APL 179 was Cliff Bradshaws car, OY8166 was and still is my first car.
This is OY the day I bought it, early 1963 for £2/0/0.
This is last week at The Cat and Fiddle in the Peak District.
Location: Vernon Briish Columbia
Dave Mann writes:
Attached is a photo of my Seven with father and brother in it and me, beardless, outside after I'd assembled it in 1963 just before I took my driving test. It had been dismantled to make a special and then abandoned in a garden, so father bought it for my seventeenth birthday. It took about 9 months to assemble and paint-maroon body, post office red wings and ivory wheels. I still have it minus those indicators and more appropriate colour scheme. Please can you post it under the above heading on the forum, regards Dave Mann
PS I suspect the reason your or should I say Charlie's RN was the slowest you've had is because it had the later small bore tail which went over the back axle, I put one of these on one of our cars and it was like I'd left the handbrake on.
"This email is a natural hand made product. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects."
p.s. The tailpipe was large and short exiting to the side afore the passenger rear wheel. I suspect it was slow due to the cargo - often 3-4 adults + climbing, skiing and camping gear I drove it over 60k miles without any real issue - it worked hard for me!
All marvellous stuff...
really enjoying these..
** do you realise how, in the 1960's, these Austins were only 30 years or so old? ...... that equates to 1986-ish vehicles now.... ultimately useless, but maybe sobering, maths...
Not for Bill or the Ians etc.........
Paul has pointed out that Sevens only 30 years old in the 1960s. The state of old cars then very different from the typical old car now, and this despite many 1930s being little used during WW2. My RP had by 1950 patched doors and extensive repairs to rear floor and inner guards. Engine, gearbox, diff all been apart, the engine numerous times. I started work on my car while at school but ended up in the SI before car was mobile. I thought I needed a car and knew if I bought a proper one would not return to the heirloom. Christchurch is a flat city and was noted for old cars; in 1960 still occasional Model T in regular use and a few scuttle lamp Sevens. I sampled several Sevens in the lower price range L30 to L45. (L15 about tradesmans wage.) All dreadful; some utterly powerless and/or brakeless, some upholstery panels painted ply, substitute seat cushions, home made upholstery, rough repaints etc. I settled for an early Ruby which sounded OK until the spark advance corrected, but went well, although no brakes. No discs remaining in the s.as and passengers in rear at risk of falling through. Two 17 and two 16 wheels. The occasional low mileage original car fetched about L75. I could have obtained a pristine 1929 chummy for L50 but open cars seen by me and others as not practical.
Location: Auckland, NZ
I've posted this picture before, but here is me with my late brother wearing the hat and my first car back in 1969 as I was getting it ready to drive it legally the following year.
It always started easily but struggled on the hills and that's when I found every single piston ring was shattered.
I found a set of Hepolite piston rings at ACE ignition in Willesden, not far from where I was living at the time and I remember the packet having 9/6 written in pencil on the front...so I had the car running on top form for less than ten bob!
This is a great thread.
Seem to have struggled to get all of me and all of the car in one picture back then...One rear wheel of my Special! This was taken at the Goodwood 10,000 mile record attempt in 1978? (I think) I was part of the oily fingered team who maintained/mended Chris Gould's Ulster Special.
here's the rest of my '32 special along with a line up of other sevens at the same event.
this is me with the Chummy that Vince Leek owned back then (1979, I think) we shared the driving of his car on the Monte Carlo run.
Somewhere in the south of France one of the headlight brackets snapped due to metal fatigue. As someone (Cyril Lyford, I think) had bought an Oxy Acetylene kit on the run with them, I borrowed it and welded the bracket back together.
The bracket later snapped right alongside my weld, giving an object lesson about the problems with the HAZ (heat affected zone) when welding.
Location: N W Kent
Bill Sheehan writes:
Hi R. Daresay it will take a while to come down to earth again after Spain. Meantime could you please submit the following for me in the current "Memories" posting?
Photo 1. 1925 Chummy. Helped by Clubmates Tony Johns, David Davidson & Alan Loughran, restored in 3 1/2 months between office work (funny, everyone had jobs then). No time to restore hood or s/screens before shipping to New Zealand for International Vint. & Vet. Rally 1972. Only driven 8 miles (to get WOF) before Rally around both Islands. No problems. Photo from NZ booklet.
Photo 2. Raced Austin 7 specials for others over several years. Then mid-70s built my own, partly to subtley advertise my then new business Chummy Enterprises. NOT for inclusion in current postings for "What is a genuine Chummy" !! (15" wheels, Ruby chassis shortened and altered to look like a 1927, every panel from radshell to sparewheel drum in Aluminium, even genuine-looking petrol tank, horn etc.) Always unblown, only ever won one race, but in another event beat all the blown Sevens - very satisfying. Note steam due to held on start line (no fan) for 10-15 minutes to suit televising of race. As no glass in w/screen frame, my face effectively prevented the scalding water from dampening the Sandown circuit.
Was all that really 40+ years ago? Cheers, Bill
Second car from the front in your line up of cars at Goodwood is my special. I still own that car.
Alan Fairless writes:
Stuart's photograph got me going through old files - this is my
special photographed in 1977 I think. First one is the PWA7C Peak Trial.
Norman Green in the passenger seat and Stuart Ulph in the back. John
Barlow walking behind. Second one is Donington Park, the same year (I
think). Gerald Walker? behind, and Neville Barr in the Forrest Special
at the back. As I remember, Neville managed to overtake me, but then
spun on the last lap, making me 3rd Seven home. Its nearly 40 years ago,
seems like yesterday
My, Alan, that's brought back a few memories.
I think I can see the late Dave Wilcox to the side of John Barlow (?) facing away from the camera, Bob Ansingh to the left of VW 2513 and I believe the box saloon is Bob's as well. The lady on the extreme left is Andy Storer's first wife.
I think that is also me drawing water from a trough behind the Rising Sun pub.
Interesting to compare the two photos. In those day people trialed, sprinted, raced, went down the pub etc., in the same car. Andy Storer's Type 65 is a classic example of this and it's still in good fettle... as is Alan's.
Location: Melton Mowbray
Location: N W Kent
The leather gauntlets are my grandfathers. First driving licence 1903. His father was a 19th century motorist.
I can't find one of me yet but to be going on with here is one of my father John Foreman taken in September 1935 at Randall's garage at Wingham, Kent. He was 2 years and 9 months old at the time. He is wearing a Champion spark plug cap which we still have and the car was bought new from the garage who were Austin agents by the village doctor Dr. Mercer.
Location: Deepest darkest Kent
Dad bought mam a 7 in 1980/81, he always said 1979 to me, the V5 says 1981, I think this pic is 1980. Anyway, no me, the git tied me to the roof stays on the steam roller for a ride. I would have been a toddler, 2 or 3 years old. This is actually a picture of my first memory of steam and 'Jemima', a picture I've only just found.
When I say bought, dad swapped a crashed Beetle, a Willis Jeep with no engine and £400 for it. It came from John Colley, some of you VSCC types might know him, lived in Llansannan and Cardiff over the years. But he isn't the previous keeper on the V5!. Somewhere it got christened Jemima. Its a RP, 1st registered in March 1934.
Mam and dad drove it around for 2 or 3 years, dad taught me to change gear in it, that was until a conrod got freightened of the dark. Time to restore the car. The floor was terrible.
Off for a floor. Me bare chested.
Back from a new floor, having the woodwork replaced
Off to be painted
Restored 1990 (from memory). I still have my jumper (knitted by mam).
Sadly, in march this year Jemima came to me. Or technically to my daughter. I spent a bit of time recomissioning it as it had been laid up for a few months, then drove it home from Ruthin with Nerys in the passenger seat. Here is the new owner at her first event at the Tavern Inn near Market Drayton.
And more recently at Audlem, Mrs Jones in charge. I'm in my car behind as is Nerys who now owns Jemima.
While Jemima was in pieces father bought me a project. The bodywork off a 1930 saloon, a RL according to the stampings on the floor. Not Jemima in the garage behind.
With bits mostly from dads spares and a chassis from a close donor with rotten bodywork and a log book, I built this (I am in both photos, I am under the car doing up bolts.
Which essentially looks like this now, other than I've put some black wheels on it, pending some new spokes. The driver is good looking dont you think?.
Inspired by the recent thread which we all enjoy, I include period (1969)
pictures of Vanda and I during the 7 weeks of courtship before I left for
England. Keen observers will note the chrome S.U sticking out the bonnet and
the extractors below.
Sadly, very sadly, I did not purchase a seven whilst in London but a morris
minor, and therefore missed out on the obvious camaraderie that still exists
Vanda came over to the UK at the end of 1970 and we were married within
weeks in the delightful little church in Leigh near Reigate. I was living at
Kew Green then just meters from Bill Williams' old establishment and would
have visited had I known it. Regards Russell
Aside from the traveller's accounts and various tales of derring-do this must be one of the most interesting threads I've seen on the forum. Keep them coming chaps!
Ron Hayhurst writes:
A picture of me showing an early interest in the car in which I later learned to drive and shortly after became the owner. My father collected this Big Seven new from Longbridge at Whitsun 1938 and after twenty years as the family car, he passed it on to me when I was student in London. The brakes on DTB 91 by then were “very demanding” – several hairy stories could be told!! I eventually, and reluctantly, sold it for £10 knowing it would never pass the new MOT regs. If the forum had existed then, I would have had the knowledge to fix them! After a short spell with a Morris 8 (which I found to be a pain) I was lucky enough to buy another Big Seven with a genuine 40,000 mileage. This then became our family car for several years until obliged to get a modern in 1966.
According to mycarcheck DTB 91 is now carried by an Austin saloon colour Blue/Black, first registered 21/09/1984 of 900cc.
Edit - Ah, it must be your Big Seven as DVLA have it as date of manufacture 1938. It's obviously been off the road for some considerable time i.e. pre the introduction of SORN (31 January 1998) as like my 1936 Morris 8 Tourer it's listed by the DVLA as 'Not taxed for on road use' within a green box - i.e. it's not unlawfully not taxed - cars like my Morris that have been off the road prior to the introduction of SORN, can't be SORN'd within the present legislation. Had your former car been illegally not taxed or SORN'd, the tax status would have been shown in a red box.
It's not on the chassis register.
Location: Almost but not quite, the far North East of England
And from Ian Sly....
Attached are two photographs for 'The Younger me and my Austin 7' please can you post them for me.
Beaulieu 1973, with my faithful Mk1 Ruby. It's either 1973 or late sixties. I remember E.C. Gordon England being there. The second photo may be of interest, and help to confirm the year.
Yes Ian - I am almost certainly in this photo!!
Ian Moorcraft writes...
A nice period photo of future Mrs M aged sixteen taken in 1964 on the way to Brighton at a stop for tea.
Note the Esso tiger tail hanging from the interior mirror and the six volt 'Notek Blue Spot' light that would send a pencil beam for about a half mile down the road that would mesmerise you on long night journeys,missing everything outside it!
Loving this thread Ian Moorcraft
Taken in 1962 houses car and everyone in this photo still exists apart from the dog! Mum is now 92, brother holding dog 68 and me 72 in a couple of weeks
What a great series of photos, may it long continue. Obviously the Sevens,but also the insight into the people (e.g. Ron H and Ian M certainly didn't look like that when I met them!), the hairstyles & fashions on the ladies, the race-paddock & rally scenes etc, make the lot worth preserving. Hopefully when the quantity increases, some astute Friend will publish them in a booklet. Congrats Paul on instigating an interesting series. Cheers, Bill in Oz
Location: Euroa, Australia
About 1969 I found this Ruby tourer lying fallow in an orchard in Churchdown, Glos. I got hold of it for nothing and with some tins of Dulux house paint made it look quite presentable in red and black. Sometime later the three bearing crank broke and I found a two bearing engine and put that in. Longest trip was from Gloucester to Maidstone which reuired an overnight stop at the Hogs Back Hotel. In the morning i found a Rolls Royace parked either side of my car. Sheena my first wife complained bitterly that as it had no hood, we looked like a pair of idiots in the morning rush hour, in the pouring rain, in January, in Gloucester. As Sheena said that it wouldn't be so bad if we were in a car that looked as though the hood should be down..... I sold the car for £27 and bought the MG TC for £100. I understand that FK8042 is on the register as an Ulsteroid. I see I was using a bicycle bulb horn as the legal requirement for the car horn.
Location: Nr Upton upon Severn
This is not my car but the Special belonging to my best friend George,with me in the passenger seat, photo I think 1956/7.
The car proved quite unreliable and was constantly overheating due to the lowered radiator and no water pump. Still, this is the car that introduced me to Austin Sevens and their maintenance.
Note the straight through large bore exhaust. I could hear him coming two blocks away.
We made the Aero Screens from Perspex, gently warmed in the gas oven and formed over the end of a galvanised tin bath.