The Austin Seven Project

The Austin Seven Project

This article was submitted by Harry and Deidre Pyle.

Hi all,

I know its not an MG, but a lot of you have seen it all happening over the past 11 years. So here are a few small pics of the completed Austin 7 licenced and "running in".

We have received the C.A.M.S letter of "Log Book Approval in Principle". just 1 more inspection to go.

If you are wondering about the colour. The original factory Tourist Trophy cars in 1929 were painted "Blood Orange...for safety reasons so they would stand out amongst the larger darker coloured cars" like Green Bentleys etc whilst racing at Brooklands and on the Ards Ulster TT circuit in Northern Ireland. The colour we chose is 1999 Ford Falcon Blood Orange !

Many thanks to JB for his help in the critical machining of the supercharger rotor slots...and also his continuing guidance and support with all the machining which I was able to perform myself.

A lot of original unique parts were used as patterns to recast new parts for this project. Many thanks to Bert and Laurie Priest (both now deceased..RIP) for their help in the casting process.

Once again, our son Philip's engineering formulae regarding capacity/boost calculations have proved to be spot on. We designed the blower to give maximun boost of 8psi..thinking that with air slip, friction losses etc I would get 7psi...wrong !...we do get to see 8psi on full throttle under load !..serious wheel spin in 1st and 2nd gear. So far, while running in, we generally drive at 1/2 throttle giving about 4psi boost.

The car is very tractable, and like all supercharged cars will pull away and climb most hills in top gear.

Its a great little car to drive..and we need to remember that these little 750cc 1920's blown Austin 7 Sports cars were the "trigger" for the MG Car Company to get into racing with the midget size class of cars (up until 1929 MG had only produced the big/heavy 4 and 6 cylinder cars)...the M Type was only introduced in 1929 and was not competitive until the factory produced the "Double Twelve M Type" in 1930. Its success in competition then pushed the factory into producing 18 replicas of that car to be sold to the public.

The public response was so great that the factory in 1930 developed EX120..the first Monthelery car..basically an M type with very special chassis/suspension..but for the first time the engine was supercharged !

Austin 7's had been racing since 1923 experimenting with superchargers..and had made production supercharged cars for sale to the public since 1927. The Blown Monthelery cars with their overhead camshaft spelt an end to Austin 7 racing by around 1932. The M type progressed into the C Type, D Type, then into the J1,2,3 and 4. The rest is MG's successful history in racing midget class cars upto around 1936. What a pity the "shiney bums in MG management" wouldn't let Cecil Kimber carry on with all that experimental/racing research.

The car we have is a 1929 two seater sports which we have restored as a replica of the 1929 "Tourist Trophy" Specs.(it actually weighs under 400kg with full tank)

The original factory fitted "Cozette 4" supercharger plus some other unique engine parts, all in decayed condition came to me with a heap of rusty Austin 7 bits....These unique bits were all off production Blown car(s) from between 1927-33. We know of Aubrey Melrose and Barry Ryles blown Austin 7 here in Perth...but there were obviously others in WA as well. The Austin factory produced some 300 blown Austin 7s between is guestimated that in that time they would have produced some 500 engines to suit. So who knows.

I also recall in the 1970s there were stories of a 1927 Austin 7 Meteor two seater sports car languishing on a farm near Williams.. everyone wanted it..but no one could find it. In 1981 Philip and I decided to get serious about only took about 6 phone calls, $100, and a trailer trip to Quindanning and we had the remains + the original family photos from when the car was new. We restored that car together, campaigned it for some years..then Philip "swapped" it for his TC (ex Bodkin). The Meteor is still regularly campaigned in VSCC events by Steve Williams of Dardanup.

There is sure to be other "finds" out there.

Next project. the Riley "Brooklands Special".

Harry and Deidre