I have anxiously been awaiting your interim report of the new B.M.C. “Babies,” but as I have now completed 5,000 miles In my Austin Se7en you may be interested in my findings.
The “Se7en” was chosen as it was the only small car that would comfortably accommodate m height of 6 ft. 2 in., give economical running and was interesting to drive. The unorthodox layout, especially the rubber suspension and front-wheel-drive, were excellent features from my own point of view.
During the first 500 miles nothing “fell off,” but when the B.M.C. 500-mile service was completed I had to set about doing what they had not done and cure the water leaks on the cylinder-head bolts. However, all these minor setbacks were soon in hand and after a careful check on m.p.g. she averaged 50 on the first 500 miles and used no oil.
As the car had been undersealed I did not suffer “wet feet,” but had to re-glue the rubber mouldings on the window frames. The gearbox, which required patience to operate, is now quite free but still leaves a lot to be desired on the synchromesh, and I feel double de-clutching is necessary on second and third.
Road-holding ability is particularly outstanding, especially on wet roads, bt what an improvement if larger-diameter wheels could be fitted to curb road noise. The de luxe trim shows no sign of wear and the washable surface is easy to keep clean.
I now do my own maintenance but rigidly stick to the service layout they suggest. Fine wire mesh has been fitted behind the front grille and keeps out the stones and driving rain from settling on the distributor. Why this inexpensive modification could not be standard – as the cost of mesh is only a few shillings – bewilders me.
To date the consumption has averaged 45 m.p.g., being driven into and out of town, and oil 400 miles per pint. So far I have been unable to check an oil drip, which I am told is common.
If the “Se7en” continues to give as much pleasurable motoring in the next 5,000 miles I shall not complain.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Harrow. – P. H. Wallis.
[The article on the Editorial “Minibric” will be published when we have driven the little car for 10,000 miles, which should be in the next month or two. The Editor has been so occupied with road-test cars that he has not yet attained this figure. Keen as he is on unusual “cyclecars” with air-cooled twin-cylinder engines, and comic gearboxes he has to admit that Alec Issigonis has them beaten every time by using a conventional four-cylinder water-cooled engine in the B.M.C. minicars and as these have unconventional features of their own the Editor joins Mr. Wallis in being a satisfied mini-motorist. – Ed.]