AN 8 YEAR OLD CARRIES ON
HOW AN ENTHUSIAST REBUILT AND MODIFIED HIS 1925 AUSTIN SEVEN AND MADE A MODERN SPORTS CAR IN THE PROCESS
IT is one of the advantages of motoring as a hobby that to experience its truest sensations does not require a great deal of money. The average motorist cruising at the wheel of his silent 6 cylinder saloon may imagine that he knows all there is to know of motoring, but in actual fact his enjoyment is largely a negative one, caused by an absence of any positive sensations.
Now take the case of the owner of an old and cheap sports car. To begin with the fact that the car has probably cost him “his all” adds a zest to his enjoyment, which is still further increased if he has himself carried out a complete overhaul of the old car, incorporating such improvements and mod:ficitions as occur to him in the light of present-day sportscar design.
Such thoughts as these were running through our mind recently when we were given the opportunity of examining a completely modified and rebuilt 1925 Austin Seven. This interesting car is the property of Mr. M. Pring-Rowe, of Sudbury, Middlesex, and all the work—with the exception of the body—has been carried out by him personally.
The car in its first state was a standard 1925 “‘Chummy ” Austin Seven. When it came into the present owner’s possession it seemed in sufficiently good condition to warrant extensive work to be carried out in its engine and chassis, so it was completely stripped and each part thoroughly examined. Wherever signs of wear were noticed, renewals were made. Dealing first with the chassis, the front
was lowered by placing the transverse spring on top of the chassis, and hanging it by long U’ bolts. A firm foundation for the spring was made by a piece of r plate on top of the chassis. This
alteration necessitated some modification to the torque tubes, in order that they might clear the chassis, and this was got over by bending them slightly. The next job was to reduce the height of the rear of the chassis to the same level, so the springs were flattened. But this gave insufficient clearance under the shock absorbers and cross member. Accordingly the old cross member was
replaced by a new one of the same depth as the chassis, with triangular flitch plates top and bottom The shock-absorbers were placed on opposite sides and upside down, so that they did not come below the chassis. Then it was found that they had to be moved 3 inches further back, to get the seats on floor level infront of them.
An important point to remember when alterations to chassis height are being carried out is to obtain a good transmission line, and this was accomplished by mounting the engine on aluminium blocks. machined to fit over the chassis. This also had the effect of bringing the starting dogs above the front spring.
The normal steering layout of the Austin Seven in 1925 was not conducive to a sporting seating position, so the steering was raked by means of a ‘ U ‘ section wedge fitting over the chassis. As the seat was going to be further back than usual, an extension was fitted to the column. Finally, a spring-spoked wheel was added. The radiator was lowered in front of the axle, and a hole made through it for the starting-handle. The shell was altered, as can be seen in the photograph, and a neat stone-guard gave the appearance a modern note.
The engine received special attention. T he compression ratio was raised to 6.2 to 1 by grinding the head to the maximum. Then the head and ports were Polished, and a reasonable increase in Power was available. Louble valve Springs assisted towards this end, and the flywheel was lightened by 2 lbs. by taking 1off the rim. Stronger clutch springs were fitted. The fan was speeded up to eounterbalance the reduced cooling area of the radiator, and the oil temperature was kept down by means of a cast aluminium sump giving a capacity of 5 instead of 4 pints of oil.
Finally, an extended gear-gate, or ” remote-control ” was devised for the gear lever, and the braking system altered so the foot-pedal operated on all four wheels, with a separate compensated handbrake.
This completed the mechanical alterations to the chassis, and Mr. Pring-Rowe then sent the car to Mr. P. Legg, coachbuilder, of Beaver Lane, Hammersmith, who constructed the body seen in the accompanying illustrations, to the owner’s designs. These efforts have resulted in an extra
ordinarily pleasant little car. The road holding is excellent, the steering has plenty of self-centering action which makes the car remarkably steady at its maximum speed on rough roads. On corners the car behaves splendidly, not being low enough to “skate,” and the new driving position and raked steering adds to the driver’s sense of control. The engine modification have provided clean, quick acceleration, and the car is good for a genuine 65 m.p.h.
Altogether a most interesting piece of work, which has amply rewarded the hard work involved in its development.