The 96 Club, one of London’s most prestigious car clubs, discovered a 1936 Austin 7 Open Tourer that has remained intact in a shed since the 1970s. The story behind this little car is intriguing and it’s the genuine garage type. we found.
Last week, 96 Club President Michael Scott received a notice from a friend who owns Aston Martin, who lived in New York, that one of his friends had just bought a house in North London and mentioned that there was a old car in the garden. Curious about what it could be, Michael sent Club 96 Technical Officer and automotive journalist Simon Duval Smith to investigate. Upon arrival, Simon discovered that the builders had already removed four garbage cans full of trash from the house and garden, revealing a shed with an old car still inside. With the help of the builders, Simon was able to dismantle the tin shed and, to the surprise of the new owners, housed a very dusty but seemingly solid automotive gem … a 1936 Austin 7 Open Road Tourer!
As the old vintage car slowly crept into daylight, possibly for the first time in five decades, Simon was able to see what they had found. Surprisingly, the Austin 7 Open Road Tourer was in great shape for a vintage car that had sat in a tin shed. While covered in decades of dust, cobwebs, and surface rust, both the body and chassis were remarkably solid. Evidence of old oil leaks had covered part of the bottom, which helped preserve what a delicate car is. Even the front tires still contained air, which was unexpected after standing so long.
The engine compartment was also in good shape considering its age, and while everything had a rust coating on the surface, it was intact and mostly complete. The tiny little 747cc side valve engine is a very simple matter and one would expect that it wouldn’t take much effort to get it back up and running once all the checks have been done. An application of Simon’s tireless recipe for ATF mixed with acetone saw the engine spin freely on the starter handle.
Inside, the inside was covered in decades of accumulated grime and cobwebs, but it was all there. The seats were scruffy but everything else was intact, with the speedometer showing 11,000 on the clock. While there is no fully sealed service book to confirm miles, the tax disc on the windshield, which dates back to May 1970, suggests that it is likely to be genuine.
Even the side screens were intact. However, the hood was torn and possibly the original one that was installed in 1936.
An amazing selection of spare parts was also found in the shed, including wheels, a spare motor and two gearboxes, two motor blocks, a new wiring loom and dealers, plus many other parts that the previous owner had stockpiled. over the years. . Clearly, they intended to keep the Austin going, but that never happened for any reason.
So how did this little British tourist rest in a shed at the bottom of a garden? Well, the story goes that the previous owner got divorced, hooked up the house again, and then defaulted, resulting in the bank taking over the house. Austin 7 may have been stored in the shed to hide during the divorce process.
At the end of the day, we may never know the full story of how he ended up staying there. In addition to the saga was the fact that the car got stuck on the property, since the rear access lane was built by houses and a block of flats many years ago. It seems that faith was determined to deliver this little car to a buried oblivion.
Regardless of the series of events that took place so many years ago, they all conspired to keep this rare 1936 Austin 7 Open Road Tourer out of sight. It is remarkable that it managed to survive intact and undisturbed in the 1970s, especially when many others Austin 7 donated their parts to create special Austin 7 racers. It’s even more surprising that he survived in that shed at the bottom of the garden. Without a doubt, the microclimate that is the city of London helped a little in this matter.
It may seem like a bit of a state right now, but with a few days of interior cleaning, a good exterior cleaning, and some new rubber, this little gem will rub off to be the true survivor it is. A survivor with bags of patina, character, and lots of smiles per mile. The good news is that this Austin 7 is now in the hands of the 96 Club, which will get it back on track as soon as it gets the FTA it deserves and once the pandemic’s restrictions have been relaxed. If a vintage survivor deserves to remain unrestored and oily-looking, it’s this 1936 Austin 7 Open Road Tourer!
Thanks to Simon Duval Smith for providing the photos.
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