From its introduction in 1923 to the end of production, the revolutionary 'Baby' Austin 7 changed very little and retained its timeless charm throughout. Technical improvements through its life included coupled brakes, synchromesh gears ( 4 speed on later cars ), longer wheelbase chassis and roomier bodies but the basic simplicity of the original design and ease of maintenance remained unchanged.
Being a late production chrome radiator model, the car offered here incorporates the last changes made to the model before the introduction of the Ruby in 1934 such as the rear mounted fuel tank as well as the four speed gearbox with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th gears.
This beautiful 1933 'AJ' tourer was, most unusually, delivered new to the Portuguese island of Madeira. An original Portuguese registration document - the Livrete - remains in the history folder and records that chassis number 180000, with engine M181713, was registered with the mark MD-16-80 on 12th October 1933. Another Portuguese document, the Title of Registration of Ownership, issued by the Ministry of Justice in Funchal records that in 1974 the car had 4 previous owners.
In 1984 the car was purchased in Madeira by a Danish gentleman, Karl Moes, and shipped to Copenhagen. In its unrestored state it was eventually discovered by Svend Frank - see the translation of a Danish magazine article - who undertook an exhaustive restoration to the highest standards, understandable given that his day job was as an aircraft engineer. A comprehensive set of photographs illustrates the extent of this work, encompassing every aspect of the car; body, chassis, engine, running gear and trim. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that as well as the export specification four bladed fan, the rear aluminium body capping (which seems to be the original) has no facility to fit side curtains. Was this because cars destined for hot climates left the factory without this piece of weather equipment? After the restoration had been completed, Mr. Frank drilled the doors to accept new sidescreens which he had fabricated.
Having been purchased by the current owner the car was registered in the UK, with the help of an inspection by the Pre-War Austin Seven Club, and issued with a suitable age related mark. When first registered in Denmark, the car's original engine number was used for identification purposes but at some stage this motor was changed for a slightly later 3-bearing unit (number M251156). Although running perfectly when purchased, the current owner, foreseeing regular use, had it stripped and thoroughly checked by Headshop UK / Beaufield Engineering, better known for their Aston Martin racing engines. Having been crack tested and balanced, the crankshaft was built up with new shell bearings and new big-end bolts. The pistons were re-ringed and the valves re-ground. Following a light skim of the block and head, the engine was re-assembled with all new gaskets.
As a further nod to safety and reliability the steering arm, a well-known weak point, has been replaced by one of A7 Components modern parts. The car retains its original, working trafficators but is also fitted with flashing indicators to the rear. The fuel gauge has been replaced in the dash by a more useful water temperature gauge ( and a more reliable dipstick under the seat ! ) and a battery cut-off switch is fitted on the bulkhead, above the clutch pedal.
As well as the aforementioned photographs and registration documents, the history folder also contains assorted paperwork regarding the importation into Denmark, Danish magazine articles, sundry invoices, Club magazines etc. Finally, should a future owner wish to convert the engine back to the earlier configuration, a complete built-up 2 bearing bottom end accompanies the car, comprising crankcase ( number M151051 - circa 1932 ), crank, rods, flywheel, timing gears, oil gauze, sump and so on.