Owning an Austin Seven can become a passion, possibly addictive, even contagious, and then comes the time when you wish to know more about your car and start looking for books to gain the necessary knowledge. Most people will soon require some technical information for maintenance and repair to keep the car in roadworthy condition, whilst others will need it for their restoration project. Then no doubt there will come the time when you will want to know something about the history of 'Sevens', in particular where your own model fits into the development of 'Sevens'.
Fortunately the popularity of 'Sevens' over the years has meant that there are a number of books to meet your needs, mostly written by enthusiasts for enthusiasts with all levels of mechanical ability.
This review is not a complete listing, but covers the main books which might be useful, and interesting, to a 'Seven' enthusiast.
Several books are in print, or have been re-printed, and are available from:
Austin Seven Owners Club Shop, Website: www.austinsevenownersclub.com
The Pre-War Austin 7 Club Bookshop,
http://www.pwa7c.co.uk/bookshop.php with on-line ordering.
Other books not currently in print are also listed.
The 750 Motor Club Shop, 750 Motor Club Ltd., Website: http://www.750mc.co.uk
Some books are now only available second-hand, at a higher cost to reflect rarity, so try the Vintage Motorshop at email@example.com
Many books, especially original Austin Motor Co. Ltd. handbooks, appear on e-bay and other websites at inflated prices, but also recommended is the online search facility for all new, or used, books at www.bookfinder.com and Amazon at www.amazon.co.uk
Throughout the development of the 'Seven' the Austin Motor Co. provided Service Journals to dealers but did not produce a workshop manual, only the handbook supplied with each model. Inevitably the handbook lacked detail and always suggested that the owner should consult the local Austin Dealership for anything other than routine checks, and greasing. But now the Austin enthusiast has to look after himself, so what is available?
The Austin Seven Manual
Fully recommended for the d-i-y enthusiast. This is an all embracing workshop manual covering 'Seven' models from 1925 to 1939, but does not adequately cover the 'Big Seven'. The sections deal with the Engine; Fuel System; Gearbox; Prop Shaft; Rear Axle; Front Suspension; Steering; Hubs & Brakes; Road Springs; Chassis; Electrical, and Accessories. Each section is divided into periods ie 1923-28, 1928-1932, 1932-35, although not always these years. Within each section are subsections on Dismantling and Assembly. Diagrams support the step by step easy to follow text, but the only problem is that the text does not cite the letter identifying the part in the diagram, so there is a need to have a reasonable technical knowledge in order to use it, by the late Doug Woodrow, published by and available from Mercury Vintage Services, Rosedale, Station Road, Emneth, Norfolk PE14 8DL. Tel: 01945 430058 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Austin Seven Companion
Another highly recommended book. This is considered to be the book for technical information on the restoration and maintenance of the Austin Seven comprising articles based on many peoples experiences; covering all models to the Ruby. The sections cover: i) History & Construction of the Austin Seven; ii) Dismantling, Overhauling & Reassembly of Major Components dealing with the chassis & bodywork, spring, brakes & wheels, engine, transmission & rear axle,, front suspension & steering, electrical & instruments. iii) How to get the best from your Austin Seven and iv) Data & day to day maintenance.
Like all books it has a few faults but it is a very useful source of information
for the d-i-y enthusiast, published by The 750 Motor Club.
The Austin Seven Source Book
Rightly referred to as the indispensable 'Bible' for the Austin Seven owner, restorer and enthusiast, listing the 329 Seven variants produced by Austin Motor Company, specialist coachbuilders in UK and by motor manufacturers in France, Germany, USA, Australia and Japan under licence. Arranged in chronological order with detail of all models, design and feature changes, with technical drawings and photographs. Appendices list Austin Seven Publications 1922 -41; Details of Wings and Running Boards; of Windscreens and Body Lights; of Brake Cables; of Ball and Roller Bearings; of Road Wheels; of Castor and Camber; of Paint, Service Tools and so much more. There are sections on Herbert Austin, his key staff and Longbridge. An amazing collection of information, by Bryan Purves, pub. by Haynes Publishing, Re-issued 2004. From PWA7C and A7OC.
Catalogue of Spare Parts and Services - Austin Sevens 1922-39
Originally produced by John Platts when he established The Austin Seven Centre Ltd in Bristol. It is an illustrated parts list with original; parts numbers; but not a workshop manual more a dictionary of bits. It has now been reproduced with a blue cover and is available from J Barker, 43 Bowes Rd, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 3HU at £10.00 plus p&p UK £1.99; Europe £2.45 and rest of world £5.55
The Austin Seven Book – for the owner driver
A very comprehensive little book covering all aspects of the 'Seven' and regularly updated from it's 1st edition in 1927 to the 6th in 1937 to cover all models up to the modifications on the 1936 cars. There is plenty of explanation on how things work, and how to adjust or repair with a well written text which cites original part numbers. It is, perhaps, the nearest book of that era to the workshop manual that the Austin Motor Company did not produce, by R T Nicholson, pub. The Gregg Publishing Co Ltd, Gregg House, Russell Square, London.
There are two books which provide more
detail on the 'Big Seven'.
Austin Cars – a practical guide to maintenance and repair covering models from 1932.
Written more as a conventional book the chapters cover Routine Maintenance; Lubrication; The Fuel System; The Engine-Cooling System; Decarbonising and Valve Grinding; Ignition and Electrical Equipment; Engine Overhaul; Austin 'Seven' Engines; Clutches; Gearboxes; Brakes; Steering, Front Hubs and Suspension; Rear Axles. Diagrams are good quality, and notes on tracing faults are included, by T B D Service, pub. Pearson.
The Book of the Austin Seven and Eight
Covering all Austin Sevens from 1929-38 including sports models; all models of Austin Big Seven and Austin Eight. Chapters on Lubrication; Running Adjustments; The Carburettor and Fuel System; The Electrical and Ignition System; Decarbonizing; Engine Overhaul; Transmission, Brakes and Steering supported by quality drawing, by Staton Abbey, pub. Pitman.
See also: Austin Big Seven Handbooks (also Spare Parts List, Price List of Spare Parts and Schedule of Charges.)
Austin Motor Company Handbooks and Parts
If you haven't been lucky enough to have a handbook for your model with the car when you bought it you can obtain good copies. Parts lists are almost essential if you are trying to source parts as many suppliers of used and reproduction parts do quote the original Austin Motor Company part numbers.
For a complete listing of Austin Seven Handbooks published by The Austin Motor Co. Ltd. visit the website www.a7ca.org Select Historic Information, then see Documentation > Handbooks, several can be downloaded as a pdf file.
Copies of Handbooks and Parts List are available from the 'Pre-War Austin 7 Club' Archivist, see www.pwa7c.org
Practical Classics & Car Restorer – Austin Seven Briefing
A mixture of articles by Practical Classics staff enhanced by some articles on making door trim, nickel plating; rear axle rebuild; removing, dismantling and rebuilding the engine well illustrated with b/w photographs, but written in the narrative rather than as a workshop manual. pub. Kelsey Publishing Ltd.1991.
Original Austin Seven – The restorer's Guide to all passenger car and sports models 1922-39
A comprehensive guide to the evolution of the 'Seven' models covering all parts of the car, the chassis, bodywork, trim, instruments, engine suspension, axles and electrics with sections on the American Austin, BMW and Rosengart cars as well as the specials by Gordon England and Swallow, ending with a good data section. Nearly 300 high quality colour photographs make this an excellent, readable book, by Rinsey Mills, pub. 1996 by Bay View Books Ltd., Bideford, Devon.
The Austin Seven – the motor for the
Traces the development of 'Sevens' through the models produced at Longbridge covering the engine and body designs and the mechanical improvements. Also covers the racing era and speed trials. Includes a 24 page appendix of facsimile extracts from service data sheets issued by the Austin Motor Company. Illustrated by 72 photographs and many drawings. More of a narrative than the 'Source Book', but lacks the detail of specifications and is rather a dreary factual history, by R J (Bob) Wyatt, reprinted by David & Charles Ltd.
A run through the development and production of the Seven as a car for the road and competitions, with a chapter on Herbert Austin. Interesting but not the must have, especially if you have the Source Book or Bob Wyatt's similar approach, by Chris Harvey pub. The Oxford Illustrated Press. Reprint from PWA7C.
The Austin Seven
Covers the Austin Seven story in 32 pages with b/w photographs so it gives the reader an adequate awareness of the people and the models rather than the detail of everything, thereby is perhaps good value, by Jonathan Wood pub. Shire Publications Album 343. From PWA7C and A7OC. NB: There are several cover pictures for this book due to the number of reprints.
The Book of the Austin Seven
A Complete Guide for Owners of All Models with Details of Changes in Design and Equipment. Contains information on the history and designs of the Austin Seven; chapters on maintenance, the electrical system, specifications with photographs and illustrations. by Gordon G. Goodwin pub: Pitman's Motorists Library Now available in reprint via Amazon Books.
Austin Seven Specials; Building, Maintenance and Tuning
This book is designed for the ardent enthusiast keen to take to road or track in a vehicle of his/her own creation. The contents include overhauling and tuning the engine, chassis design and modification, gearboxes, suspension, brakes, steering, the electrical system, making a sports car body, engine speed and road speed charts. Many examples of cars based on the modified Austin Seven chassis are featured, including the author's special, the LMW Gran Turismo coupe. Advice on identification and choice of engines and chassis for rebuilding is also included. by L M 'Bill' Williams first published in 1948 with several later editions having different cover designs.
Austin Seven Competition History
The details of almost all known competition appearances of the Austin Seven between 1922 and 1939. 376 pages A4 hardbound with 120 photographs. Originally from; Twincam Ltd., Bigenor, Petworth, West Sussex GU28 0JP. (NB. This book now seems to only be available from internet markets at rather high prices. (Nov 2015)
Austin Racing History
An illustrated narrative of Austin Motor Co. involvement in motor sport from 1906 to 1939 with specifications of the cars involved. by Roland C Harrison and first pub. 1949 by Motor Racing Publications Ltd., Abingdon-on-Thames. Both hardback and paperback editions avalable from online markets at varying prices.
The Austin Seven
Articles published in 'Motor Sport' between February 1925 and May 1950 with another from 1970 which are contemporary with the production of the Austin Seven, offering a different approach to other books. The Seven is presented by those who tested and raced it as a new car. A recommended book for those interested in sporting Sevens. Edited by Bill Boddy MBE. From PWA7C.
A Baby called Aggie
A year in the life of a well used 1932 ‘Seven’ humorously narrated, with illustrations, by her one time owner, a Reverend gentleman going about his rural parish. By all means borrow it, the 39 pages will not take long to read. by Rev. Alan Stephens pub. Epworth Press 1967.
The fascinating 11,467 mile journey, mainly on dirt roads, in a 1925 Chummy from Buenos Aires across the Andes to Chile, north through Peru, then by sea to Panama going on through Costa Rica, Nicuragua and Guatamala into Mexico, then across Texas and the Southern States to finish in New York. John Coleman took the journey alone in 1959/60 to re-create Tschiffely's ride on horse back in 1925, coping with all the breakdowns and problems on the way. by John Coleman pub. Faber & Faber Ltd. 1964. Available from A7OC.
Coleman's Cars - My Life with Motor Cars
A lively and knowledgeable account of John's extensive experience of the development of the motor car in the context of his own life. by John Coleman
Austins Over the Andes
The story of the journey made by six Austin Sevens crossing the Andes in 2005. Pub Dec 2009 by, and available from, Vince Leek, 'Holm Oak', Upton Scudamore, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 0AQ. Cost £15 inc p&p.
Seven Years with Samantha
Clive Ball drove Samantha, a 1929 Austin 7, round the world between 1965 and 1972, meeting and marrying his wife, Sheila, in Perth, Australia on the way. Samantha covered 48,000 miles over some terrible roads, visited 38 countries and crossed the mighty Andes in South America four times, once at nearly 16,000 feet. Clive's keen sense of humour pervades this captivating account of one of the longest journeys ever undertaken in such an old car. Since this book was originally published, it has become a sought-after classic in vintage car and travel circles alike.
This all-new soft cover edition, printed in the UK, is available for £18 post free from email@example.com with payment by PayPal or direct bank deposit. With 19 illustrations by Cedric Baxter, the book has 280 pages, six maps and 91 photographs.
The Austin 1905 - 1952
An interesting history covering the formation of the Austin Motor Co and the production of the many memorable Austin cars at Longbridge, how they were planned, designed and marketed. The ups and downs of a great firm that survived two world wars. by R J Wyatt, pub: David & Charles.
Men and Motors of 'The Austin'
The inside story of a century of car making at Longbridge gained from interviewing men from the shop floor through to highest management. Covers all aspects of Longbridge right through to the sale of the Rover name to BMW. by Barney Sharratt, pub: Haynes Publishing, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset
Postage Stamps - worldwide
Austin Sevens have featured on many postage stamps from around the world. An excellent listing has been provided in “Austin Seven Stamps” available for £5, plus £1.50 postage from: Bryan Norfolk, 6 Ambrose Lane, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 4AX or firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin Seven Cigarette and Trade Cards
Austin Sevens have also been illustrated on 65 cigarette and trade cards. By Bryan Norfolk, contact as above.
This article is regularly updated, written by Doug Castle, originally appeared in Seven Focus in Nov 2004 pp24-28.