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 today.
While the Austin 7 is one of the most easily recognised and well-known of pre-war cars it is a lesser known fact that it played a military role in World War Two – on both the British and German sides.
In Britain the car was extensively used for driver training and liason duties. Several examples were used by the British Expeditionary Force in the early days of the war in France and were later abandoned on the beaches of Dunkirk. Its American cousin, the Bantam, was a prototype for the Jeep and in Germany another A7 cousin, the Dixi, was used as a mobile machine gun unit.
At the National Austin 7 rally to be held on Sunday July 5 at Beaulieu, the theme will be ‘Austin 7s and their Cousins’ and many examples of Dixi, Bantam and the French version of the A7, the Rosengart, are likely to join the hundreds of civilian Austin 7s on show.
Alongside, it is expected that there will be at least a dozen of the very rare military versions in a special display that is guaranteed to be of huge interest to enthusiasts and the public.
The rally is organised by the 750 Motor Club and is open to all Austin 7 owners, club members or not. Austins form the core of the event, but pre-1975 vehicles of all makes are invited to attend and will have a designated parking area on the rally field.
From February, full details and entry forms can be found on the website: 750mc.co.uk/austin7.