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Lot 054: Austin 7 Chummy

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

By 1920 the Austin Motor Company was heading for trouble, its range of high quality but staid and expensive cars were not what the market was wanting. In 1921 Herbert Austin saw what was needed and against the wishes of the Board of Directors set about designing a new small car. He famously took Stanley Edge from the drawing office at Longbridge, in secret, and placed him in the Billiard room at his home, Lickey Grange, to get on with the job in hand - designing the new generation of small cars. Much to the Board's consternation, the design was pushed through into production only due to Austin's threat of taking the design to Wolseley for production, probably saving the company from bankruptcy and putting virtually the entire British cyclecar industry out of business at a stroke. Herbert Austin himself had a number of personal patents in the car and took a 2 royalty on each car sold. Designed as a big car in minature it offered excellent performance, reliability and big car comfort at a price that the working man could afford. It genuinely was motoring for the millions. Drive an Austin 7 today and you will receive more waves and smiles per mile than in any other car. By 1927 the car was in its prime and for many, this period represents the pinnacle of cuteness, retaining the short black radiator surround, scuttle-mounted lights, gate gearchange, dainty wings and the Magneto engine. They were also lighter than the later models, the taller 4.9:1 back axle ratio ensuring that a well driven Chummy performs better than the later heavier cars maintaining a genuine 45-50mph on the open road. This prime example was purchased by the vendor over 50 years ago. Having been on the hunt for an Austin 7 for some time, he spotted it tucked beside a garage in Great Barr near Birmingham. On calling in, he discovered that it was owned by a student from Cheltenham who had blown a head gasket nearby and taken it to the garage for repair. So far, the 2 bill had not been paid! Several weeks later the vendor passed by again and seeing the car still there approached the garage to see if he could buy it. They gave him the address of the student and he wrote to him, in the end agreeing to pay 40 for the car plus clearing the garage bill. The car was then driven for some years before being stored away awaiting restoration, last being used in 1962 according to the tax disc. A number of vehicles arrived and jumped the restoration queue before the baby Austin got a look in. The vendor then totally stripped it and has fully restored every nut and bolt to a very high standard indeed. The chassis was vapour blasted, zinc coated and then enamelled. New springs have been fitted, friction discs to the shock absorbers replaced whilst the 5 wheels have been rebuilt with new spokes and rims onto the correct original closed centre hubs. The body is the original item, which has had much of the woodwork replaced and is now in perfect condition. The engine (the original unit supplied with the car) was re-conditioned by Joseph Lucas Ltd. Apparently they had a department that would re-condition engines for employees and a friend of the vendor took it along and had it fully rebuilt. It runs perfectly with just a hint of timing gear chatter so characteristic of the model. A 'new old stock' bronze updraft carburettor was sourced and the magneto and dynamo were rebuilt by Derek Smith. The vendor has kept the car as original as is possible, using armoured cable, the original dished steering wheel and oil button on the dash which he assures us does not drip oil onto your legs as they usually do! It even comes with a period flower vase and calorimeter. With a new hood, sidescreens and hood bag and MOTd until June, it is ready to go and reputed to be very lively to drive with good brakes (well everything is relative!). Some original Austin spanners and the all important carburettor jet key are present, the whole car appearing to have been very carefully restored back to its original state. This example certainly ticks all the boxes, a matching numbers, beautifully restored original example of a 1927 Chummy that has been in continuous ownership for over 50 years. They don't come any nicer than this.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
TypeCar
Lot Number054
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£14800
Year1927
Condition rating
Registration numberFE 9593
Mileage-
Chassis number43663
Engine number43613
Engine capacity (cc)747
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors