Many things that we take for granted today were at some point deemed to be revolutionary, and the world of automobile design is certainly no exception. Before Sir Herbert Austin, there were luxury cars and economy cars, and they didn’t mesh or look like each other. His idea was to design an economy car that had the basic look of a large sedan, or saloon. Although the idea didn’t please the board, he pushed it through with the help of Stanley Edge, who would deal with the engine. The result was the 1922 Austin 7, which remained in production (with many changes, models and variations) until 1939. The car was so successful, and its name became so synonymous with affordability that it practically erased the competition from the map.
While the Austin 7 may have had the basic look and shape of a large touring car, it certainly didn’t have the power, although, all things considered, it really wasn’t embarrassing. The 7 was fitted with a 747 cc, straight four cylinder engine, and boasted a top speed of around 50 miles per hour. Remember, 1922!
With some notable exception – the Ford Model T springs to mind – the Austin 7 was one of the best-selling Pre-War cars, with over 290,000 of them produced before the Second World War started. The name Austin 7 was recycled after the War, as well, including on the 1959 Mini.