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For information on the Mini based Austin Seven see Mini.
Austin 7 1926 Austin 7 Box saloon
Manufacturer Austin Motor Company
Successor Austin 8, Austin Big 7
Class Subcompact car
Body style Various, including vans
Engine 747 cc straight-4
Wheelbase 75 inches (1.905 m)
The Austin 7 was a car produced from 1922 through to 1939 in the United Kingdom by the Austin Motor Company. Nicknamed the "Baby Austin", it was one of the most popular cars ever produced for the British market, and sold well abroad. It wiped out most other British small cars and cyclecars of the early 1920s; its effect on the British market was similar to that of the Model T Ford in the USA. It was also licensed and copied by companies all over the world. The very first BMW car, the BMW Dixi, was a licensed Austin 7, as were the original American Austins. In France they were made and sold as Rosengarts. In Japan Nissan also used the 7 design as the basis for their original cars, although not under licence.
Many Austin 7s were rebuilt as "specials" after the Second World War, including the first Lotus, the Lotus Mk1, which was based on an Austin 7.
Such was the power of the Austin 7 name that the company re-used it for early versions of the A30 in 1951 and Mini in 1959.
Austin 7 Saloon 1931
Until the First World War Austin built mainly large cars, but in 1909 they sold a single-cylinder 7 hp built by Swift of Coventry called the Austin Seven. After this they returned to bigger cars.
In 1920 Sir Herbert Austin commenced working on the concept of a smaller car, mainly to meet the needs of young families aspiring to own an affordable motor car. This idea was spurred on by the depression and the introduction of the Horsepower Tax in 1921. His design concept marked a departure from his company’s conservative motoring past and Austin received considerable opposition from his board of directors and creditors. Because the company was in receivership Austin decided to carry out the project himself on his own account and in 1921 hired an 18 year old draughtsman, Stanley Edge, from the Austin factory at Longbridge, Birmingham to aid in the drawing of detailed plans. This work was carried out in the billiard room of Austin’s Lickey Grange home.
Stanley Edge convinced Austin to use a small four-cylinder engine. The original side valve engine design featured a capacity of 696cc ( 55mm x 77mm ) giving a RAC rating of 7.2 hp, the cast cylinder block featured a detachable head and was mounted on an aluminium crankcase. The crankshaft used two roller bearings and was splash lubricated. Edge also carried out the design of other mechanical components such as the three speed gearbox and clutch assembly. Austin was largely responsible for styling the …