1930 Austin Seven Ulster
Beautifully built Ulster; Phoenix crank; full dashboard; nicely trimmed; ready for the season
The Austin Seven was the embryo for so many amazing brands - BMW, Datsun, Lotus, McLaren and TVR to name a few.....
Its sporting abilities are legend and come as a surprise given the cars were originally sold for budget everyday motoring. Their revvy two-bearing 750cc engines, ridiculously light weight and inherent reliability led to multiple race victories in period, the little cars dominating all forms of motorsport.
The Ulster was so named after a heroic class win (and near outright victory) in the Ulster TT of 1929. To celebrate, Austin quickly introduced the Ulster Replica model, closely related to the Factory Racing version and available with, or without a Supercharger.
In the '50s and '60s, every self-respecting petrol-head built an Austin Seven special to impress the opposite sex and as time went by, an industry emerged supplying off the peg fibreglass 'Ferrari-esque' bodies to turn an ageing saloon into a rakish sportscar.
More recently, focus has turned to supplying more appropriate bodywork in traditional materials, the Ulster shape being the most popular. Available in both short and long wheelbase forms, it is the shorter car which carries the nicest proportions and in practice offers the same space inside the cockpit as on offer today.
This lovely short chassis example was restored and assembled from a rolling chassis by the vendor, work starting in the early 1980s. Invoices on file show that all the right things have been done - flattened springs, Colvin Gunn Ulster steering box, hydraulic brakes etc. The work included rebuilt wheels (17") and Arteesi supplied the radiator cowl (we are not sure who built the aluminium body).
In the mid-1980s, Vince Leek built the engine, which has a Phoenix crank, large valves and sports camshaft. Also fitted were an over-bored oil pump and large sump, the engine and electrics being converted to 12volts along the way.
The attention to detail is impressive, with correctly trimmed seats, a tonneau, a full dash including 100 mph Smiths speedo and 0-6,000 rev counter. There is also a nice 'period' Dante remote gearchange.
The work was completed in 1993 and the car then correctly registered with the DVLA as an Austin with Sports bodywork.
Since then, it has been used and maintained very carefully and comes to us ready to go this season. There is just so much to do with one of these cars, for drivers of all ages young and old. Cheap to run, rapid and exciting, the Austin Seven, particularly in Ulster form is perhaps the best introduction to Vintage motoring that money can buy.
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