September 21

All I wanted was a run-around


“Mesage the seller”…….OMG did I message the Seller’ …….

All I wanted was a working Austin 7 runabout, and at £5000 this 1931 RN looked OK. I asked the vendor “is the car running, can I just get in it and drive it straight away”? The vendor stated “We have used it twice for weddings”….”yes it starts and stops, but the fanbelt is broken” What a lying toe rag

What I should have done is travel to see it, but in London it really is a huge treck and it would have to be delivered (no wonder the vendor offered to pay for the delivery). Here it is arriving…….

Noticed straight away – it leans to the right?????

Off course it would bloody lean to the right……. At first I did think the rear off-side leaf spring would be broken, but on investigation it wasn’t the rear IT WAS THE BLOODY FRONT SPRING and my god, they are difficult to change over (if you can find one after 89 years!!!). Ho Hum, I’ll start that job or I wouldn’t be able to drive it safely………. and so the LIST if problems starts.

Not only one leaf broken but TWO……..

Changing the front leaf spring is an honest pain……. It means Chrome radiator cowl off (rusty bolts and not easy to get at), radiator off (draining the engine), hoses off, hand-crank nose off, fan pulley off, 89 year old rusted solid ‘U’ bolts and drop linkages to be freed. Bloody HOURS and HOURS.

Owning 15 other Austin 7’s over 50+ years and Electrifying a Seven and now a 10, I have aquired all kinds of useful stuff….. GEDOR full Whitworth, Metric and American sockets, lots of weird and wacky spanners, 2 hydraulic jacks and 6 axle stands – all fully employed for this job. Dropping the spring eventually gives me the 1931 dimentions, so now the task of trying to find a new one……… [not at Halfords!!!!], there has probably been little call for 1/2 elipse cart springs in 89 years.

To the rescue – my very good friend ‘Dave’ – tells me he has one I can borrow….yippee, however, a few hours on the blower and I do find one – at just £35!!!! Can you believe it……. and it will be with me in a week.

With a week waiting, it’s time to check out the ‘runabout’.

The Dog Shows its age

Now we know why the lights don’t work and smoke comes from the dashboard

If you look carefully, you’ll see, bare wires, rubber insulation missing, real amateur cobbling, broken terminals….. it all had to come out. WHY DO SELLERS LIE – just to get a sale.

The hand mechanical advance & retard was 100% the wrong way around. It would NEVER have started and has certainly NEVER run like this.
  • New LOOKING wiring run just for photo’s, not connected
  • Headlights with no connections inside.
  • Rear ‘Pork Pie’ lamps wiring cut 2″ from entering?????
  • Ignition leverage back2front
  • Horn short circuiting
  • Bare wires behind control panel
  • leaking petrol tap**
  • blown silencer
  • drivers window mechanism broken
  • sun roof corroded and rusted solid
  • Vacuum screen wiper broken (scrap)
  • Windscreen mechanism broken (now sealed)
  • Flexible prop’-shaft coupling dangerously frayed

Austin in their 1930’s wisdom, made two Faux Pas on this car. The petrol tap is both inside the passenger cab and also inside the engine bay. Passengers would unwittingly and accidentally push the petrol tank tap in with their feet, and 15 mins later the car would come to a stop with all around scratching their heads…… The reserve part of the tap – inside the engine bay leaks right over the hot exhaust pipe.

The positioning of the wacky carburettor and its propensity to overflowing must have lead to many all-engulfing fires. A baffle plate would save the day, but in my case I prefered to fit a clear off/on lever.

Our first chance to show off the cars

My 1931 RN and my friends 1935 Austin 7 Tourer at the AVRO classic car show


Austin 7, vintage cars

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