THE Austin 7 is one of the most enduring and endearing of all pre-war British cars. Between 1922 and 1939 some 290,000 were built and more than 8,000 survive worldwide today.
The largest rally for these vehicles takes place each year at Beaulieu in Hampshire, home of the National Motor Museum, and is organised by the 750 Motor Club.
In 2015 the rally is being held on Sunday July 5 and the theme will be ‘Austin 7s and their Cousins’. Austins form the core of the event, but pre-1974 vehicles of all makes are invited to attend and will have a designated parking area on the rally field.
The Austin 7 had a great influence on other car manufacturers, spawning a wide range of vehicles based on its design and components. These ‘cousins’ of the Austin 7 are being invited to attend the National Austin 7 Rally and to form a special display on the day. They will be joined by the many production Austin 7s that travel from all over the UK and Europe to attend.
Perhaps the most famous example of a company that owes its heritage to the Austin 7 is that of William Lyons’ firm which, in 1927, produced their first car, the Austin Swallow – an elegantly designed sporting body on an Austin 7 chassis. The Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company became better known in later years as Jaguar Cars.
In Germany the very first BMW car was based on an Austin 7 and was known as the ‘Dixi’. In France the Austin 7 was manufactured as a ‘Rosengart’. In America they were made by the Bantam Car Company. And in Japan Nissan used the Austin 7 design to build some of their first cars. In Australia the Holden Motor Company – now part of General Motors – produced Austin 7-based vehicles.