The last Austin Seven
Mr. Goldstene's letter seems to have prompted some head scratching in A7 circles, and the replies in the February issue from Dr. Burns and Ken Cooke go some way to clearing up the confusion.
However, Dr. Burns is a year out in his Big 7 dates as the .r was announced in July 1937 by Lord Austin at Longbridge.
Full Girling brakes were fitted from chassis no. 286571 which, according to Wyatt, is June 1938, but apparently not announced until 27th July 1938. I believe this A7 axle is very similar to the early Big 7 axle, and may be interchangeable.
Ken Cooke is undoubtedly right in saying that the van in the 750 register with chassis no. 290958 is the newest A7 known at the moment. However, until we know Mr. Goldstene's tourer chassis no the newest A7 car must be a Ruby in the Bath area with chassis no. 290524 which was registered on January 25th 1939. Apparently the last saloon was made on January 17th 1939 at chassis no. 290570. (I believe that you made the point yourself, in print at this time, that a "750" club should be formed. Perhaps you remember the details of the 7's last days better than a, of us, sir!)
However, it is fairly widely accepted that the last the very last?) chassis no. was 291000 and this is variously dated from 3rd of March to the 29th July. It is probable that most of the last 450 or so chassis were fitted with van bodies (AVK type?) and were intended as a clearing-up operation where all the excess parts of the previous few years production were used up. This method was fairly standard throughout the 7 van's history.
At this point the engine nos. were about 2,000 ahead of chassis nos., and it is not uncommon to sec engine nos. in the middle 292,000s.
This of course was not the end of the engine by any means as Reliant's immediately placed an order for 500 for their 3-wheeler van, and the engine went on being used by them with some modification until the early 60s, I believe. This is one reason why A7 spares are still to easily available.
I expect however that there are still plenty of people about who know exactly what happened at the end, and I can only hope that my surmising will prompt them to let us have the true facts.
Frampton Cottercll IAN DUNFORD Sec., A7CA