STILL PERFORMING . .
A vintage car which can ” do things” always arouses a certain amount of interest.
The story about this Austin Seven is by no means without interest. The little car started life in June 1924, had two owners, and, in 1930, came into the writer’s possession, the mileage then being very considerable. It all happened like this. Having to attend a dance some thirty miles away in Wales and the writer’s car being out of commission, the Austin was used for
the trip. It so impressed me with its performance that I decided to give it a new lease of life.
The engine was decarbonised and generally tightened up, It was then entered in its first trial (one of the Liverpool Motor Club’s Welsh Trials), the result being a first class award. Encouraged by this success, attention was paid to shock absorbers, steering lock and other items, and it was entered in several competitions. From 1931
933 it continued to gain awards on almost every occasion it ran, most of them being first class or premiers. During one of these trials, when crossing the Himont Pass at speed, one of the chassis members broke. The car finished without loss of marks and later the body was removed and two lengths of T iron were welded in the U section chassis members. This repair was most satisfactory and has not been touched since.
Certain modifications were then carried out. The old wheels (which were shod with beaded edge tyres) were replaced by Pr wheels, front and rear axles were changed for secondhand ones of a later date having larger diameter brake drums. The Old sloping two piece windscreen was discarded and an ingenious Tee screen was made with plywood frames and celluloid. The body was cut away at the back, the doors tapered down, the hood was dispensed with and lower seating was arranged.
The engine was removed, rebored 20 thou. Oversize and the pistons and connecting rods were carefully balanced. Terry Aero valve springs were fitted and a secondhand Alta head was obtained to replace the old one. The little car, possessing a good deal more vim and vigour, continued to perform successfully whenever it was entered in
trials. However, it was unfortunately reduced to almost a total wreck when the writer overturned it when engaging in a friendly battle with a Brooklands Riley.
For some months the remains of the car lay in the garage, just a heap. After a good deal of thought it was decided to rebuild it, but this time to make it a fit machine for faster speed than that for which it had been designed. Major alterations took place. The
front axle was widened by six inches, the springing was lowered all round, and the steering column was lowered. A secondhand 1927 body was purchased and the rear half cut off. A new rear end Was built with a wooden frame and metal panelling, a fold flat screen was made from the top half of the old one and a sloping dashboard was fixed onto the vertical metal dash with wedges. The doors were cut down and completely new seating was arranged.
The alterations to the front axle made it necessary to manufacture a new spring, new radius rods, track rod, drop arm, steering -arm, and drag link.
After a period of testing it was found that the car did not hold the road as was expected. The suspension was again altered, the flat springs being raised about 11 inches. This improved the road-holding im mensely.
New front mudguards were made, lamps and tie bar added and the car was sprayed white. Later simplex rings were fitted, not on account of cylinder wear, but just in an endeavour to give better compression. The car continued to win awards in trials and attracted attention everywhere it went.
This year, after a visit to Prescott, the writer thought it would be interesting to see how the car would fare at a bit of dicing. It was duly entered for the July meeting without any preparation, except for a careful decarbonise. 4.00 by 17 tyres were used on the front wheels and 4.00 by 19 were used on the rear, as this section tyre gave the best results, second gear only being used after the start. The quickest time was 66.7 secs.
Top gear could be used advantageously using 4.00 by 17 tyres on the rear wheels, but changing from second to top could not be made without a lag of sometimes more than a second before the gear Could be engaged. The car was again entered for the September meeting. This time efforts were made to produce more power and two S.U. carburetters were fitted instead
of the old type Zenith. This meant procuring two short induction castings, joining them together with a 1″ balance pipe and making four extra long manifold studs for the cylinder block. This arrangement was found to work perfectly and the desired results were obtained. 4.50 section tyres were used on the rear wheels and the best run was made in 63.5 secs.
The road holding and controllability are all that can be desired and on the sharp bends on Prescott not once did the rear of the car tend to slide out, instead, all four wheels seem to ” edge” to the outside of the bend. So, fourteen years after leaving the factory, the little car has covered itself with glory and given its owner untold
pleasure. And to think it was only saved from a scrap yard. death by a mere chance. I am, Yours, etc.,
H. L. BgN-Nr. Tyn-Y-Coed, Nr. Mold,