The introduction of the Seven light car in 1922 marked a change of direction for Austin. Faced with an economic downturn and consequent slackening of demand for the company's larger models, Sir Herbert Austin had begun planning a smaller and more affordable car in 1920, assisted by a young draughtsman employed at Austin's Longbridge factory, Stanley Edge. The company was in receivership at the time, so Herbert Austin financed the project himself and as a result received a royalty on every car sold. Edge's design was influenced by the Peugeot Quadrilette, featuring a water-cooled four-cylinder engine, initially of 696cc but enlarged to 747cc early in 1923. Driving via a three-speed gearbox, this all-new power unit was carried in a simple A-frame chassis boasting transverse-leaf front suspension, quarter-elliptic springing at the rear and uncoupled four-wheel brakes. Sales were disappointing at first but soon picked up and within a few years the Seven had transformed Austin's fortunes, wiping out the British cyclecar industry in the process. There was soon a commercial version available: the light delivery van, with coachwork by Thomas Startin of Birmingham, which came fully equipped with CAV electrics and a self-starter for the sum of £180. This Austin Seven delivery van was purchased at auction in 2003 having previously belonged to Mr R C Moriarty, a butcher from Theydon Bois, Essex, hence the sign-written livery. Invoices and other documentation on file suggest that 'PG 5492' was restored circa 1980 by Austineers, including a change of engine, while further refurbishment has been carried out during the current ownership. The vehicle is offered with parts lists, a quantity of old tax discs and MoTs (most recent expired June 2007), Swansea V5C document and a hand-written summary of extensive mechanical works undertaken by Waterrow Service Station of Wiveliscombe, Devon.
Please note this Austin Seven was originally a car and converted into a van.