I'm not to sure how my racer came about,……………………….
but to cut a long story short Bev Keable my
Seven ‘Guru’ and myself decided that it would be fun to build an Austin Seven racing car in the
style of the 1923 Captain Waite works car. We did not set out to build a replica but our own
interpretation of a Racer from the earliest days of the Austin Seven, nothing trick on the chassis
or engine at this stage. It also had to be built with the resources that Bev had at hand (at this
point I should say that due to illness I didn't put a spanner on the project, but did source most of
We used a couple of photos of the Waite car from various books. It was only later on completion
Source book, Doh!
One of the criteria was that the Vintage Sports Car Club would accept the car for their events,
which means applying for approval from the clubs eligibility committee. Rather than find they
would not accept the work we planned, I wrote to them explaining our objective and seeking
approval for the project, this I obtained.
The VSCC do issue guidelines on what is acceptable in building cars plus separate
supplementary details for Austin Sevens.
The club rightly disapproves of Saloons being destroyed /dismantled to make a racer or special.
As we wanted a Vintage Racer we needed to find a short wheelbase chassis built before the cut
off date of
found one, then there would have been the dilemma about turning it into our racer. We were
fortunate to find the a rebuilt SWB rolling chassis in the ads in the Austin Seven
Owners Club magazine. We purchased this from Dave Plank of Maidenhead. Dave has a mouth
watering collection of immaculate Seven’s and had built up our 1929 chassis for a van project ,
then decided it was surplus to requirements. It was built to a high standard and saved us a lot of
time and work. It also saved us quite possibly money over renovating one from scratch, as costs
do mount up.
Dave was kind enough to trailer the chassis to Walton were it was hidden from my wife Val at a
very good friends house, as my garage contained my Austin Seven
Cambridge Special and Bev was short of space re building his Bullnosed Morris Cowley, the body
work was stored in his front bedroom at the time.
The basis for our 1927 magneto engine was purchased again via the A7OC magazine from
another Austin Seven friend, Andy Handing who lives just around the corner from me.
John Milne kindly supplied a beautifully rebuilt magneto (hens teeth are easier to find). All other
components came from the usual suspects, the wonderfully helpful spares suppliers dotted
around the country who help us keep our Sevens going.
The day came to move the rolling chassis to Bev’s house approx a mile away from where it had
been stored. We chose to push the car on the road early one Saturday morning. I was concerned
at one point when we were overtaken on the pavement by an old man with a walking stick!
Bev then over 5-6 months waved his magic wand over the pile of bits to assemble what you see
in the photograph. This was undertaken in an extension to his garage which is probably less than
9ft square. It was not until we pushed the car out into his garden to take photographs that we
discovered to our relief that the car has the proportions that we were looking for.
Next stop to take the car for it’s MOT, I insured the car in it’s last few months of build and R&H
issued me with a cover note to drive to the test station and later to present the car for DVLA
drive in the car was up and down Bev’s road then onto the garage for the test. On a previous visit
to get my special MOT’d I had asked for advise from our tester about lack of lights and
mudguards. I knew for sure that lights did not need to be fitted but that if lighting conditions
change you must put them on or stop. Lack of mudguards is a grey area. My argument is that
had driven his car on the road in 1923 from
The tester contacted the ‘Ministry’ and came back and said that mud guards are not necessary,
for the MOT.
We arrived more than half an hour early for the test and left the car outside in the street and we
retired for a coffee, by the time we got back I was a little surprised to find the car still in the road
but facing in the opposite direction and the tester showing the car to interested bystanders.
Something I was going to have to get used to, because it is a head turner and does attract more
waves, hoots and shouts than the special. He was waiting to complete the MOT certificate and
wanted the chassis number for completion. Next stop a visit to the DVLA office
explain that I wanted an age related number plate commensurate with a Vintage car. So with the
MOT certificate, V55, a letter from the AO7C confirming chassis number and age, my passport
and a utility bill I sat in front of a very helpful young man who took all my details and arranged for
me to take along the car for a technical inspection the following week. This entailed driving the
traffic. The DVLA inspector gave the racer the once over and with staff looking out the windows
it passed, again sans mud guards. I then went straight back into the office and was issued with
the registration BS9227.
So in little over 12 months from an idea, some money and a lot of hard work by Bev we have a
1923 inspired Austin Seven Racing Car.
is to undertake the Austin Seven,
and hillclimbs, some outings to shows 750MC and A7OC club nights. First event is to compete at
Brooklands VSCC driving tests on January 16th. I intend to drive the car as it is but Bev is
currently making up some mudguards and some lights in case we fall foul of the law.
hope this is OK.