A NEW SPORTS SEVEN
COMFORT AND SPEED COMBINED IN LATEST AUSTIN
T.,AST month some refe r e nc e was made in MOTOR SPORT to a brief run in one of the latest type Austin Seven sports models, which is now in regular production, and
which put up such an admirable performance in the Double Twelve race.
Since then we have had the opportunity of giving one of these cars an extended test on the road, and as a result our first favourable impressions were amplified. In the first place, a great improvement in the accommodation is noticeable, the roominess of both the passenger’s and driver’s seats being so ample as to be unique in a car of such small size. Another feature which the new.model possesses is that” something “which conveys the impression of solidity and a high degree of ccintrol throughout its whole speed range. Its road-holding qualities, in fact, are astonishing, and even over rough surfaces at high speeds there is a complete lack of bounce and other disconcerting caprices which are too often met met with in many cars of greater size and weight than the Austin. This stability is due, no doubt, largely to the fact that the chassis frame has been lowered to a substantial extent, and the road springs are bound with cord.
As soon as we got under way with the little vehicle we felt ” at home,” all the controls falling to hand (and foot) easily and without groping.
The car placed at our disposal was practically brand new, but the little 747 c.c. engine sounded so full of life, that, once in the country, we gave it its head. From a standstill, 40 m.p.h. was achieved in 14 seconds, and 50 m.p.h. in second was possible without undue fuss ; all-out speed on top was 60 m.p.h. In view of the good maximum in 2nd gear, these seemed to point rather to too high a top speed ratio ; apparently the makers have realised this, for we understand that the back-axle ratio on later editions is to be reduced in order. to put up the top-speed performance. It should be further stated that the model in question had done only about 100 miles, and was, therefore, not fully run in. The four-wheel brakes are now all applied either by pedal or lever and a single wing-nut, conveniently placed, adjusts the whole set. In testing the braking
we found that the car at 40 m.p.h. could be stopped in 130 feet ; the deceleration w a s steady and comfortable, although the rear brakes tended to come on before the front ones. This, however, was a matter for simple adjustment. The steering was found to be light, but not sufficiently so to make high speed driving disconcerting ; it was, in fact, just right.
The dimensions of the engine are the same as in former ” 7s,” but. it is fitted with special pistons, connecting rods, and crankshaft, which imbue it with the necessary revving capabilities. The supercharger, when fitted, is driven by gears from the front of the engine, but the model we tested was not so equipped.
The gear box is of the close ratio type, giving 4.9, 7 and 12.5 to one, an alteration which is reflected in the performance. The intermediate gears are unusually silent in use, even at high r.p.m., and the gate has been altered so as to allow really snappy changes, both up and down, to be made.
As can be seen from the photograph, the body is quite graceful in contour and in good proportions, and though cut away at the sides to facilitate entry and exit, it is snug and free from draughts. With the hood up, moreover, we found there was plenty of head room—another point which is lacking in many other small sports cars.
The spare wheel is housed in a well in the tail of the machine, and is securely held without the use of any fixing : this well is covered with a panel secured by a strap, so that a rapid change of wheel should be possible. As for the matter of consumption, we made a careful note of our mileage, and over a route which included London traffic (at its worst), main roads, by-pass “
straights” and Hertfordshire lanes, we found this worked out at 37• m.p.g.
Altogether we formed the impression that this latest edition from Longbridge was a very definite improvement on its forerunners, and a car entirely suitable for for the man who wants something snappy, smart and small.