1934 Austin 7 Special
Up and running; great fun; built by Meccano apprentice; nice detail and as pretty as a picture
MSJ 192 was first registered in March 1934 - probably as a saloon and was built into it’s current form between 1959 and 1962 as a project for an apprentice working for Meccano. This was done under guidance from Donald Smith, chief design engineer variously for Meccano, Dinky toys and Hornby.
As a result, many of the engineering materials used reflect what was available at his place of work e.g. stainless for some pins and screws, beryllium copper for various bearing surfaces.
The chassis was originally one of only 65 Army Staff Cars made from Austin 7 parts for war service in southern Europe. This was purchase from a scrapyard for £3 10s. It consisted of a 2-seat tourer Ruby type body tub with ’34 type radiator, cowl and bonnet. The engine came from a 1934 box saloon, purchased for £5. All parts were stripped and checked for wear and either dumped or retained for the build. The engine was completely dismantled and rebuilt using reconditioned parts.
The restorer declared it would do 50mpg and 65 miles per hour! The seats were a gift from the MD of an aeroplane seat manufacturer and a hood and side screens were added. On completion, the apprentice drove the car into the factory where most of the 500 workforce came out to cheer the result!
The current owner has kept the vehicle in good running order and it has regularly been used at various rallies throughout the country. This attractive Special, much built along similar lines to the 'off the peg' Cambridge bodies available at the time comes with a handwritten history of the rebuild written by the gentleman apprentice, a handbook, four old MOTs and various parts lists and magazines.
The 750 Motor Club offer all sorts of activities and events for such cars. It would also be welcomed at next year's mega-Austin Seven Centenary event where over 1,000 baby Austins of all shapes and sizes are expected - join in!
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