The Austin 7 was launched in 1923 as a simple and affordable economy car and its effect on the UK was instant, selling in huge numbers due to its affordability. One could say that the Austin 7 was the English Ford Model T, in that it replaced most lower-end cars in the UK and remained successful throughout its 16 year production run. It was available in a wide range of coachworks, from standard Ruby saloons to more elegant and sporting Swallow bodies. The importance of the 7 wasn’t solely restricted to the UK either as it was sold under licence in other countries too, in America as the Austin-Bantam and in France as Rosengart though their influence in starting other renowned manufacturers is even more significant, with the first BMW car model, the Dixi being sold under licence from Austin as well as the first Nissan being based on the 7, albeit not under licence.
However, it was after WW2 that Austin 7s slowly began fulfilling a new purpose, motorsport. Many had their bodies removed and had new, smaller and lighter sporting bodies put on instead as well as some other performance enhancements, making the Austin 7 an affordable and surprisingly competitive racer, perfect for Hillclimbs and other such events. As a result of their newfound sporting credentials, the Austin 7 also became responsible for two other car manufacturers, both icons of British Sports and Supercar prowess, Lotus and McLaren with both companies’ first cars being Austin 7 racers, one at the hands of the legendary Colin Chapman and the other being the Austin 7 that was Bruce McLaren’s first race car that he, like Chapman, built up and raced himself. It was the culture of these specials that inspired the car we are honoured to offer you today.
“COT 11” is an Austin 7 Special like none you have ever seen. Finished to a colossal standard, the car is perfect in every detail, fine-tuned like a Swiss Watch with the performance to match. The car would be just at home on a wall as an art installation as it would on the track, which was ultimately what this car was built for. The goal was to build a perfect little single seater racer with the specific goal of achieving the fastest time in the annual Chelsea Sugar Works VCC Hillclimb in New Zealand. Initially built as a racer in 1988, the car was equipped with a Rootes-type Supercharger in 1992 before eventually, going to JD Classics, where between 2003 and 2006, over £130,000 was spent on the car, improving and modifying the car in every aspect imaginable as well as thorough testing at numerous circuits including Brands Hatch, Bruntingthorpe and most famous of all, the Nürburgring.
Given the initial goals of this car and the sheer amount of money spent, the car has clearly been heavily upgraded with the following being just some examples of the work done. It has a heavily modified chassis being ‘boxed in’ and with new tubular cross members, the chassis started life as a standard Austin Ruby unit. The front axle has been split in the centre to allow for independent suspension and the track increased by 100mm whilst the rear axle has also been increased in width by 100mm and the differential has been moved from the axle centre hence the term “Offset Racer’.
The engine is also heavily modified, again having started off as a standard Austin Seven engine, now featuring forged crankshaft, custom pistons and conrods and a special profile camshaft. The standard engine produced a mere 17bhp but now, with the aid of the supercharger and extensive cylinder-head work, the engine can produce almost 55bhp.
Whether you’re wanting to buy the ultimate 30s Hillclimb racer or a beautiful, polished engineering marvel, this Austin 7 is undoubtedly the car for you. We challenge you to find another car so heavily modified in this way and to such an extraordinarily high standard, let alone another Austin 7 of this calibre.