Austin 7 celebrates 90th birthday

This month, the Austin 7 is celebrating its 90th birthday. The classic was the first British car to be mass produced and because of this it changed the lives of thousands of people. When the car first went on sale it cost just £165 and in early July it is going to be part of a rally to celebrate its birthday which is taking place at Beaulieu, in Hampshire.

The car was sold in many places around the world and it is estimated that in total around 300,000 were built. Today, it is estimated that there are currently around 8000 of the vehicles still in operation.

The Warranty Direct and RH Insurers supported event is expected to attract families and motor fans from across the UK, with Beaulieu also being home to the National Motor Museum.

Among a packed schedule of activities and displays is the crowd-pleasing, and highly competitive, gymkhana event which pits Austin 7s of all shapes and ages against one another in a timed trial of driving skill over a testing course, the layout of which is kept secret until the morning of the event.

The Austin 7 preserved in the National Motor Museum – known as a ‘Chummy’ – is one of the earliest in existence, dating from 1923, just a year after the model was launched.

Its 747cc four cylinder side-valve engine produced 10.5bhp, enough to power the little car to 50mph, allowing many a family to discover far flung parts of the country – and venture overseas.

This year’s event is a double celebration of 90 years of the Austin 7 and 50 years of the National Austin 7 Rally at Beaulieu – a single venue record unsurpassed by any other marque.

A variety of 7s will be on show, including vehicles that have competed in endurance events such as the 8,500 miles from Beijing to Paris, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Mille Miglia, as well as cars that have been restored from rusty wrecks to showroom condition.

Entrants who attended the very first National Austin Seven Rally receive a special entry price of just 30p – or six shillings, which was the entry price for the very first event. The offer is made possible due to the backing of Warranty Direct, and RH Insurers.

Gates open at 10am.