Austin Big Seven

At the launch of the Big Seven on 13 July 1937, at Longbridge, Lord Austin addressed members of the trade and press to introduce the new model.  "Today is an auspicious one for the company in so much as we are introducing for the first time since 1922 another small car, the Big Seven. . . . . . . . I should like to emphasise that the Big Seven is an addition to the Austin family and does not in any way supersede the famous Baby.  It is our opinion that the time is opportune to introduce a car which in size, running costs, accommodation and price comes between the Seven and the Ten."  (R J Wyatt. The Austin Seven, the motor for the million. p163.)


Big 7 Sixlite

The Big Seven 'Sixlite' Saloon was the first 4-door 'Seven' and named 'Sixlite' as there are three windows on each side.  Full technical details can be found in 'The Austin Seven Source Book' by Brian Purves, pp 74-483.

Big 7 Forlite

The Big Seven 'Forlite' Saloon, which appeared in March 1938, reverted to 2-doors and named 'Forlite' as there are two windows on each side.   Full technical details can be found in 'The Austin Seven Source Book' by Brian Purves, pp 483-486.

The Big Seven was fitted with pressed steel wheels, rather than spoked wheels, and the wheel centre covered with a polished steel hubcap which clips onto the wheel.  When introduced neither model was fitted with running boards.  These became standard for both in July 1938.

Vehicle Identification Numbers
The 'Sixlite was given the factory type symbol 'CRV' and the 'Forlite' designated 'CRW'. 

Engine No

The engine number is prefixed '1A + five numerals'.  It is on the o/s of the engine located on the top edge of the block 'touching' the head gasket immediately below the top water hose connection to the head..

Chassis No

The chassis number is on the chassis arm immediately below the starter motor on the o/s of the engine comparment. 

Car No

A plate showing the car number is affixed to the side of the tool box on the n/s of the engine compartment.

Holden Motor Co. Australia introduced the Big Seven Tourer and the Big Seven Roadster later in 1938, both models using the Big Seven chassis and engine.  Full technical details can be found in 'The Austin Seven Source Book' by Brian Purves, pp 494-496.

Throughout its life the Big Seven was modified; the list of Big Seven modifications 1937-1938 are listed by Purves at pp 496-498.

A total of 20,171 Big Sevens, of which approx 8,000 were 'Forlite' were built at Longbridge until production ceased in Feb/March 1939.

Big Sevens survive worldwide and the Big Seven Registrar (Aug 2023) knows of 461 Sixlites; 153 Forlites; 16 Specials with a Big Seven chassis;  3 Big Seven vans converted from cars.  In Australia and New Zealand there are 25 Tourers, 5 Roadsters and 2 Utes (Pick-ups).

Austin Big Seven Brochures & Advertisements

Technical help for owners of Big Sevens.

NB:  Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the technical advice, and information, it is given in good faith and the Cornwall Austin Seven Club, its officers and the author(s) accept no liability for loss, damage or injury from persons acting upon the advice given in this publication and from any subsequent answers to questions asked of our members.  Anyone following the advice given by this publication, or answers subsequently provided, shall be deemed to have accepted this statement.

Specifications, Lubrication Chart and Wiring Diagrams for the CRV & CRW Big Seven.

Austin Big Seven Handbooks (Published by The Austin Motor Co.)

Austin Ruby & Big Seven dimensions  From The Austin Motor Company Ltd, Pub No: 1539B (1937)

Maintenance of the Big Seven from Austin Motor Co. Handbook Publication No: 1523B (1938)

Starting the Engine inc priming the pump and difficulty in starting.

Control of the Car inc notes on changing gear, skidding and synchromesh.

Fuel Pump inc cleaning the filter.

Carburettor, Zenith 30VM-4 downdraught

Cooling System inc fan belt adjustment, winter precautions.

Ignition System inc the distributor, ignition faults and timing.

Lubrication of engine, gearbox, axles etc.

Electrical Equipment inc the dynamo, starter motor, cut-out/regulator, horn, wipers and battery, indicators.

Brakes; Care and adjustment of the brakes

Running Adjustments: Tappet adjustment, Valve Grinding  & Fitting Head Gasket

Steering; adjustment of the Track Rod & Steering Box

Road Tests undertaken by the Motoring Magazines of the time are:

Austins Introduce a Big Seven   From The Light Car, July 16, 1937.

Austin Big Seven Saloon   From The Motor August 3, 1937.

The Austin Big Seven   From The Light Car, January 7, 1938.  

On the road with The Big Seven  From The Austin Magazine, February 1938.

The Austin Big Seven 2door (Forlite)   From Practical Motorist, July 16, 1938.

The Austin Big Seven 2door (Forlite)  From The Motor, August 2, 1938.


Technical Articles written by members of Cornwall Austin Seven Club are:

Austin Seven Rear Axle - Light or Heavy?  by Doug Castle and Andrew Jarmin, October 2016

Austin Seven Rear Blind (Ruby and Big Seven) by Doug Castle, August 2015.

Big Seven Brakes by Trevor Sharp, Seven Focus in Mar 2004 p12-15.

Care  for Your Leather Upholstery  by Regi Jarmin, Seven Focus Feb 2007 pp24-25.  

1st Gear Jumps Out  by Doug Castle and Andrew Jarmin, Seven Focus Oct 2009 pp21-23.

Optional Flashing Indicators - Legal Requirements (UK)  by Doug Castle, Seven Focus in Mar 2004 pp21-23.
(Flashing indicators; Rear retro-reflectors and Rear fog lamp)

Removing horn & indicator switch  by Andrew Jarmin & Doug Castle.

Other articles may also be of value to anyone working on a Big Seven, see Technical Articles.


Articles from The Austin Seven Journal are:

Worm and Sector Steering Gear (Seven & Big Seven) - August 1937

Piston Clearances (All models) - October 1937

Standard Settings (Carburettor, Tappets, Plugs & Distributor) - October 1937

Castor and Camber (All models) - October 1937

Girling Brakes (Big Seven) - October 1937

Maintenance Data (Big Seven) - November 1937

Engine Removal (Big Seven) - February 1938

Gearbox Removal (Big Seven) - March 1938

Tightening Cylinder Head Nuts (All models) - March 1938

Clutches (Keeping Friction Surfaces Dry) - April 1938

Fitting New Rubbers to Door Dovetails (All models) - July 1938


Articles from Motoring Magazines relevant to the Big Seven are:

Another New Austin - the two-door 'Forlite'  From The Austin Magazine, April 1938.

Big Seven Brake Modification   From: Practical Motorist and Motor Cyclist, July 1957

Lucas RF 95 Control Unit (RF 95 Regulator/Cut-out)

Renewing Timing Chains

Transmission Judder  From Practical Motorist and Motor Cyclist, November 1955.


Other articles may also be of value to anyone working on a Big Seven, see Magazine Articles.


See also:

After Seven - Ruby versus Big Seven versus Eight - by Robin Taylor & Neil Carr-Jones, Classic & Sports Car, Jan 2004 pp 98-102

Austin BIg Seven and Eight - Jonathan Wood, The Automobile, Septembe 2005 pp 26-30.

The Austin Big 7 - Bristol Austin Seven Club Newsletter No: 580, October 2023, pp8-12

NB: These articles cannot be reproduced on this website as they remain within Copyright.  Copies of the magazines may be available through online outlets.



The Joys of owning a Big Seven - reminiscing by CA7C Members.

Austin Big Seven - over 75 years in the family. 

Dad's Austin Big Seven still survives!