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Fitting into a Austin Seven

These days it seems many of us are a LOT taller than when the car was first introduced.

How do all of you tall people manage to fit into your Austin ?

What changes did you have to make to the car in order to sit in it comfortably..... relatively speaking ?

Stephen

Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

1) Narrow shoes essential. Size 11 trainers cause problems...

2) Seat brackets that allow an extra 6" of legroom (in a box saloon). Allows me to get my knees under the steering wheel but effectively does away with one side of the rear seat. Brackets are wedge shaped to recline the seat a bit which helps considerably.

I've yet to find a set of adjustable seat runners that will do the trick nicely but some use Ruby ones on a Box. Possibly something like an older Triumph Spitfire might have the right sort of thing.

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I am Mr Average in height, but I like a laid back driving position, so have wooden wedges under the Tourer's seat and will make a special seat base with varying grades of foam to change the angle further.

In the Special, I have moved the seat back, raised the steering column, and cut a third off the brake pedal. This allowed a lad of 6'4" to drive it to his wedding, which I was pleased with, the car, unlike the bridegroom, having a short chassis.

Simon

Location: On a hill in Wiltshire

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

My tall cousin and his nearly-as-tall son are building a SWB Ulsteroid, and Rod Yates is making a body for them which has the seat set back by 4".

David

Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I am just under 6' 4", Steve Hodgson is considerably taller, we both fit into standard saloons, Ulsters and Chummys + everything else so far, except Swallow Saloons!

I am not saying we can walk after long drives, just that we fit!

Steve has huge feet (size 15 from memory) and you know what they say about blokes with huge feet!

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

They have huge shoes.

Location: always happy to be corrected!

Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I have terrible trouble standing up in the wind with my size two daps! Terrible I tell you!

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Having tried my Gordon England Cup for size, with no seats. I cant for the life of me think how your going to get in yours Ruairidh. Im 6 foot and my feet wanted to be near the dynamo rather than where the pedals should be.

Location: not north wales any more

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Short legs, short feet - I'm not going into the rest!

I have driven many Cups over the years without issue - was unable to get into Tom Abernethy's Brooklands before he sold it however, I REALLY wanted to drive that!

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I'm 6' 4" with size 11 feet, so:

1. Fortunately a lwb Ulster rep, so great headroom

2. As Michael said, use of narrow shoes and also trimmed toe nails, as my driving shoes are a snug fit!

3. Rear bulkhead moved from in front, to behind the fixings, so technically inside the boot

4. Minimal padding to seat back

5. Rear driver's floor modified to get my backside right into the corner of the cockpit

6. Steering column adjusted for higher rake for thigh clearance and left a tad for more room for the right foot

7. Pedals adjusted forwards to give every possible part of an inch more legroom

8. Brake pedal contact surface trimmed (narrower) for more room with accelerator

The rebuild is almost finished, but I need to wait until my broken wrist heals sufficiently before I can have a final fitting and proper road test, so I'll let you know next month!

Bill

Location: Saumur, France

Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I'm "only" 5' 10 1/2" and only about 10 stone but getting into the American Bantam roadster is pretty difficult even for me. Everything has to be done in the right order - hold on to right windscreen bracket and put left foot in, lay left knee over to left and tuck under steering wheel, slide bum in while holding body (my body, not the car) up a bit with right hand on B-post and left on top of seat, then drop down into place. But that's without the hood up! Putting the hood up means another procedure which I have forgotten as I haven't tried it for so long - will have to work it out again. I bought repro seat spring bases from the US at great expense but the maker decided in his wisdom to use springs of heavier gauge wire than original. I had to scrap the cushion one and rebuild with foam on a wooden base, so I could see under the windscreen top rail and my head wouldn't hit the hood bow.
Try google "fat man steering wheel" - maybe that's what we need.

Ivan

Location: Wellington, NZ

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

This thread reminds me of a Laurel and Hardy film in which they both (alongside a generously proportioned lady) attempt to fit into an American Austin.
It's a good laugh, if you look up "Laurel & Hardy- Oliver getting married" on youtube it should pop up.

Location: Hereford

Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Ha, 'tis true that one often needs a sense of humour, as well as a passion for our older cars.

Ivan reminds me of when we rebuilt the TR3 with a custom sprung driver seat with 2" shorter springs, as well as locating the seat runners further back on the floor pan. Getting in with the hood up though should be avoided at all costs, due to not only lack of dignity, but risk of putting one's back out. The simpler solution is never use the hood and I don't ever. The two even more difficult cars to enter with hood in place are the Caterham 7 and Lotus Elise and getting out of the latter is a case of crawling out on you hands and knees, I kid you not!

Bill

Location: Saumur, France

Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

One of my party tricks, years ago, was to get in and out of the Ulster with the hood up - not done it for a while, hmmm!

I rode in a Lotus 7 last summer, I can vouch that it was a real struggle.

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I have found I need to remove the right shoe totally to get my foot to operate the accelerator. Interesting sensations on a hot day.

Location: Sunshine Coast Queensland

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I'm not big (well not wide anyway), having a profile akin to a racing ferret although I'm nearly 6'2" with size 11 feet and I have to admit I don't really have much problem driving the RP although the winder for the o/s window does get in the way of my right knee from time to time so I tend to drive with the window partly open even in winter so it's out of the way. The handle is a Hobson perfect so it's either in the way when fully up or OK fully down as there are only two positions it can be fitted in. The driver's seat is fitted with a set of Ruby seat runners so I can jack it backwards if I need to, but I don't like driving too stretched out. The only problem is that since I had the front seats recovered the cushions have a bit too much foam in them. OK for normal driving but if I open the windscreen the Lucas (DW3) wiper motor is right in my line of sight and I have to stoop.

Location: Gard, France 30960. Used to be Languedoc-Roussillon but now it's Occitanie

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I'm 6'2" and have only recently bought an RP Box saloon. I looked at various other pre-war cars prior to buying an A7, and found the A7 the most comfortable. I was shocked when trying an Austin 12 Harley - could hardly get my legs in and out without pulling my ankles in, and then the steering wheel was practically sitting on my lap!
I agree with Duncan, though, and drive without my right shoe on!

Location: Hull, East Yorkshire

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I'm 5'7" and fit in the Nippy perfectly. My wife is 5'0" and can't reach the pedals. I'm currently scratching my head how to alter it. I might have to fit a smaller steering wheel but I do like the big four spoke Bluemels.

Location: Isle of Wight

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I don't recall any difficulty at all getting into or out of the Nippy that I used to have. Hardly ever had the hood up. It also had the big Bluemels steering wheel which was a lucky find at a wrecker. A previous owner had "modernised" the wheel with what he thought was a Nardi lookalike, cut from thick aluminium, and with holes in the spokes - you know the sort of thing.
Ivan

Location: Wellington, NZ

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

At 6 ft in a Ruby there is also room for a hat - bowler, trilby or boater.
Colin

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

If you are too tall just wait a bit- as tempus fugits I am now down from 6'1" to under 6'.

I find I now fit into the Saloon a little better (still have to sit across into the passengers seat then swing legs in) but unfortunately the Sports has become a rather more difficult proposition when trying to clamber up over the side!

Still much more fun than the modern though

Cheers, Tony.

Location: Melbourne. Victoria, Australia.

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

At 5'8 1/2" and slight I have no difficulty in fitting into the Chummy, also the Ruby. I did find it a squeeze dragging 2 airline bags out of the Ruby back seat daily whilst on tour in NZ and I can appreciate the advantages of Ruairidh's trailer.
I am therefore apprehensive of the UK tour this summer in the Top Hat with narrow suicide doors. Never have sat in one. Will have to be extra careful of the trim edges when daily loading and unloading those heavy bags. cheers Russell

Location: oz

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Russell,
I'm really looking forward to meeting up with you in the summer at Beaulieu.
Yes, you will find Type Rs are not easy to get in or out of. You feel that your legs have suddenly grown!
Once in, however, they are just like any other SWB Seven...but noisier.

Chris

Location: Melton Mowbray

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

As yet no mention of winklepickers....

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Did somebody mention winklepickers?

 photo B4B68310-ED0F-445F-A1AD-D30A115B1867_zpshskaxuur.jpg

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Elvis lives !

Location: Melbourne. Victoria, Australia.

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Excellent footwear...I suppose the only problem with these is that they tangle with the wiring under the dash, particularly if you have an 8-Track fitted!

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

I'm just under 6' tall and can fit into most Austin 7s with one notable exception, Tom Abernethy's fantastic and I think I'm right in saying first recreation of a Brooklands Gordon England. My then brother in law Alec who is the same height as me could and that brings me to Leg to Trunk(Chest + Abdomen) length. I've a friend who is exactly the same height as me but has longer legs who cannot get into let alone drive my M2 Swallow Saloon admittedly that has Chummy style seats. With the correct ones I don't think I would find it possible and I have distant memories of trying a 'correct' one many years ago and regarding it as a 'no-go' model ! I agree with comments about 'narrow shoes' a prerequisite to driving both Swallow and Gordon England Cup models. All LWB standard production cars are fine and from this point alone, were a logical step forward although I still prefer SWB ones !

Location: Ferring, West Sussex

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Dear all,
Have you noticed no contributions from we PORGs (persons of restricted growth)? I fit comfortably in Ulsters, Chummies,Box Saloons,Rubies etc. without any problem, although I declined a drive in my mate's MG PA because I can't see over the steering wheel. Anyone got a cast-off Swallow saloon they have grown out of? I will take it off your hands for a small fee.
Cheers,
Dave.

Location: Sheffield

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

He's not wrong. First time I met him he was standing at the top of his drive and I stopped for directions to The Strines (it's a pub out in Derbyshire)- and all he said was:
"Follow the yellow brick road..."

Location: Gard, France 30960. Used to be Languedoc-Roussillon but now it's Occitanie

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Obviously none of you tall guys have tried getting in or out of a Speedy. That is a challenge. Absolutely impossible to bump start on your own as you have to wrap legs around steering column on entry.
Did save me arguments about performance of brakes in MOT times - my MOT tester couldn't get in and his rolling road was too wide. So he just asked me how are the brakes!

Location: Beautiful North Hampshire

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Older NZ VAR mags carry photos of owners and girlfriends/wives in the 40s and 50s. As with my parents photos, most persons (even Americans) were of more moderate size then.

The curvature of Seven bucket seats intrigues; the great majority of us now are of non compatible radius.

With a bit more lateral freedom long trips on wavy roads may be less tiring, but at least do not have to use the wheel for support, which with the ultra quick steering, would be recipe for disaster.
After my Seven, on my bench seat Javelin I used to lower the centre armrest and pack a cushion between the door before attempting the same cornering antics.

Although six feet I covered 350 miles in a day on several occasions in my RP with no particular discomfort. Seat an inch or two back. The panel alongside pedal removed years before.

Clarkson did several “tributes” to various cars of the past. Based on treatment of Ladas etc, fortunately for Sevens generally, and particularly the car he may have acquired, he missed a great opportunity and did not get to a Swallow.

Location: Auckland, NZ

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Just in case you might want a pair like mine in the pic above to enable you to drive your A7, those winklepickers were 1962 DENSON 'extra poynters' in antiqued alligator skin with three buckles and Cuban block heels bought from ' Cole's' shoe shop Regent Street Kingswood near Bristol.
This shop was run by two very elderly ladies who would put a bible script in the box with each pair of shoes you bought, it always seemed strange that they would stock such 'way out' shoes in a shop full of elderly clientele who would give a disparaging glance as you walked in with greasey drainpipes and Brylcreemed hair.
The left point soon took on a turned up appearance because it touched the bulkhead when pushing in the clutch! Those shoes would have been a fair chunk of my weekly pay packet. How many of you remember ramming newspaper into the toes with a screwdriver to straighten them up before a night out? Happy days apart from the Brylcreem! Ian

Location: Bristol

Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Utterly ace!

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Re: Fitting into a Austin Seven

Hi Ian

It is a grand period photo on several levels. I hope the Getty picks it up for posterity, so in a thousand years they will have a clear picture of life in ... 1958?

Ingrained habits from youth die hard. It quite recently dawned that it is no longer necessary to remove socks to enable trousers to come off.

I am bemused to see my aware son and his business colleagues in trousers trending back to that style.

I am an advocate for rims picked out with a thin silver band, but was not sufficiently bold for whitewalls. Very sheikh.

Location: Auckland, NZ

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