Austin 7 comparisons

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Having quoted some contemporary acceleration figures last month for the rather-tame 1924 / ’25 Austin 7 sports-model, it may be apposite to remark that whereas that little pointed-tail two-seater was able to get from standstill to 40 m.p.h. in 20 sec., the non-supercharged Super Sports or Ulster Austin 7 which Motor Sport road-tested in 1930 was able to do 0-40 m.p.h. in 14 sec. It was hardly run-in at the time and had the same 4.9 to 1 axle-ratio as the earlier sports model, being regarded by our tester as over-geared, so the comparison is valid. And whereas the first sports model did 41 m.p.h. in second gear and 50 mph. in top gear when tested by The Light Car & Cyclecar in 1925, the unblown Ulster aforesaid was good for 50 m.p.h. in second gear, with a maximum in top gear of 60 m.p.h. All this for £185. The respective quoted fuel consumption figures were 51 m.p.g. and 37½ m.p.g.

I said in my two articles on bogus vintage sports-cars that at first the 1924 sports Austin 7 cost £15 more than the tourer or Chummy model, later reduced to a £10 differential. In fact, when it was first announced, the rather pedestrian sports-job sold for £175, at a time when the tourer was listed at £165, or £174 with an electric starter. For the 1925 season, prices fell to £155 for the tourer and to £170 for this sports model, and according to Austin 7 historian R. J. Wyatt, by September 1925 the sports-model cost £159, at a time when the price of a tourer or Chummy was down to £149, a return to a £10 differential, although I cannot find confirmation of this in the motoring Press.

In considering these prices, it should be borne in mind that from its inception the sports-model seems to have been delivered with an electric starter, perhaps because according to Wyatt, its slight increase in maximum speed over that of a Chummy was obtained “mainly by a slightly-advanced ignition setting”, so that starting it on the handle could have been hazardous! As the only other chassis changes seem to have been a longer gear-lever and a raked steering column, the body must have absorbed most of the £50 over that charged for the Austin 7 chassis.

As for Chummy prices, this model opened at £225, in 1923, quickly fell to £165, and subsequently dropped to £155, then to £149, to £125 by 1928, and to £122 10/-, coming down to £118 for 1931 (the year of the £100 Morris Minor). By 1932 the tourer had been reduced in price to £110 but in 1933 it rose to £112 10/-, the Austin 7 two-seater at £105 being the answer to Ford’s £100 Ford Eight saloon. That was virtually the last of the vintage-style models and by 1934 it was over to the Ruby-like Open Road tourer, for which you would have had to fork out £108, or £100 for the Opal two-seater, later to rise slightly. But just think what you have to pay now, for an Austin 7 Chummy. . . . — W.B.