“The Austin Seven,” by R. J. Wyatt. 192 pp. 9½ in. x 6 in. (Macdonald & Co. Ltd., Gulf House, 2, Portman Street, London, W.1. 50s.)
This monograph, just published, about the Austin Seven, is perhaps the most fascinating one-make book to date, after the monumental Hull/Johnson study of the 12/50 Alvis. Written by R. J. Wyatt, who has made a long study of the history of the Austin Motor Company and who runs the Vintage Austin Register, the book covers almost every aspect of the famous Seven, in such detail that it cannot fail to fascinate and please even knowledgeable members of the 750 M.C., Austin Seven Register. Pre-War Austin 7 club and similar organisations.
It should also appeal to motoring historians in general and cannot fail to enhance the enjoyment of those of us who run, or were weaned on Austin 7s. The opening chapters deal with many fresh aspects of the birth and early development of Sir Herbert Austin’s baby, faults as well as technical brilliance being revealed. The racing history of the Austin 7 is dealt with in considerable detail, from 1923 through to the building of the ultimate in side-valve 750s and the racing of the fabulous twin-cam cars. Wyatt has blended very successfully history, technical facts and competition activities. The result is an essential book for lovers of the baby Austin, those who are restoring these cars, and students of light-car history. For the former, there are new facts, reproductions of old advertisements, etc., and lists of progressive technical mods. For the rebuilders there are whole pages of pictures by which the subtle differences between models a few years apart can be compared, plans showing how different bodies can be removed from the chassis, and even diagrams of front and back mudguards and running-board shapes for the years 1923-32. Historians will revel in this book, for not only are all the Longbridge Austin 7s illustrated. down to the Big Seven and the subsequent Austin 8, but most of the many special bodies fitted to the Austin 7, which can prove so confusing, are illustrated, for the first time in one publication, and there is a table of broken-down 1922-39 production figures.
The text is interspersed with splendid line-drawings by Peter Huntley of mechanical items, interior views for different years, the American Austin 7 badge, etc. Rivals to the Seven from Longbridge appear in the story and those Austin 7s made under licence in other lands are not neglected. The photographs number 72, of which many are of sports and racing Austin 7s. Dedicated to the late Lord Austin, “The Austin Seven” makes excellent summer reading and should whet the appetite for the big Beaulieu Austin 7 Rally on July 7th. And now we await avidly the publication of Anthony Blight’s 500,000 word opus, and valuable racing history, “Georges Roesch and the Invincible Talbots.”—W. B.
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