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Lot 039: Austin 7 Opal

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (16 May 2012)

Launched in 1922 and remaining in production until 1939, the Austin 7 was an overnight sensation. Far superior in every way and cheaper than any contemporary rival, the "big car in miniature" quickly wiped out the cyclecar industry and transformed the fortunes of Austin. With good performance, accommodation and four-wheel brakes, it brought proper motoring to the masses and won a legendary status which it has not lost to this day. An extremely versatile design, its simple but well-executed A-frame, leaf-sprung chassis played host to a bewildering range of derivatives and it won the hearts of the nation, not just because of its toughness, but also its cheeky looks. Drive an Austin 7 today and you will receive more waves and smiles per mile than in any other car. In August 1934, Sir Herbert Austin invited the press to see the new vehicles in the Austin Seven range  the Opal, Ruby and Pearl. The Opal was the basic two seater version, and early cars carried over the flat fronted radiator. These sold for £100. The charming Opal Open Road Two-seat Tourer wore the new enclosed grille and cost £8 more. Further improvements came in 1936 with the launch of the £112 New Opal. Innovations included a 4-speed gearbox with synchromesh on 2nd, 3rd and top, and a 3-bearing crankshaft which enabled a higher compression head to be used increasing power to 16½bhp. A conventional Borg and Beck clutch replaced the Austin design which was famous for its switch-like operation, while the brakes were also upgraded to a semi-Girling system with cast iron shoes which made a significant improvement. This particular Opal was first registered in March 1938 and has been in the current ownership since 2004. It was restored before the owner acquired it and is said to have won several 'best in show' awards prior to his ownership. Nevertheless, in 2005 it was treated to a full respray and is said to remain in very good condition throughout and to drive very well. Serviced just prior to the sale and with an MOT until April 2013, it is also taxed and comes with a full set of weather gear including hood and side screens. It also comes with a small amount of history including various bills and old MOTs plus a green continuation log book from 1968 and a modern V5. Altogether a lovely old car that is ready for immediate use.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
TypeCar
Lot Number039
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£6100
Year1938
Condition rating
Registration numberGMT 824
Mileage-
Chassis number283353
Engine number284822
Engine capacity (cc)747
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors