The Austin Seven in Print

Thanks to Ron Burchett - Austin Seven Club of South Australia

This original talk was given by the author, Ron Burchett, to members of the Austin Seven Club of South Australia on 13 August, 1984. A comprehensive book list (updated on the 12th of August 1998) follows this transcript. Finding some of these older books can be a problem, one shop in Australia that sources a number of these is 'The Pitstop Bookshop', while in the U.K. Richard Hunt's Vintage Motorshop at 749 Bradford Road, Bartey, West Yorkshire is a good bet.

"This talk is aimed at sports cars/special building, but a lot of what will be said is equally relevant to the maintenance of touring cars.

The array of literature available for reference is quite impressive and perhaps bewildering to some. As an indication the lists I have prepared as hand-outs tonight comprise over two pages of close type, and the list covers only the better known writings.

Firstly, let me make it clear that there was never any such thing as a factory Austin Seven workshop manual. To the best of my knowledge the Austin Works at Longbridge did not start to produce manuals for their products until the advent of the Eight and Ten in 1938. For the Seven the closest they got to a manual was the regular issue to the trade distributors of monthly Service Journals from April 1927 on. These covered model changes, service operations, complaints and promotional literature and were not normally available to the public.

Quite early (1927) a very practical down-to-earth little book written in quaint layman's language was produced by one T R Nicholson, and this evolved through some six editions and sold many thousands. These are still obtainable in the late (6th) edition but the earlier ones are quite rare and have become collectors' items. In 1935 a man called Goodwin wrote another handbook which was published by Pitman. This book deals with day-to-day care and routine maintenance of your Seven without going into detail of major overhauls. This book also went through several editions and in 1944 was revised by Abbey and became "The Book of the Austin Seven and Eight".

If you were blessed with a Baby Austin in the thirties then you had to rely on the makers handbook and spare parts book supplemented by handbooks like Pitman and Nicholson, and with reference to general books like Newnes "Modern Motor Repair".

It is strange in retrospect that for a vehicle which was produced in such large numbers, nearly 300 000 over a span of some 16 years that the owner-driver was expected to make do with the handbook and parts book supplied with the car and any other unofficial independent literature he could gather.

Since that time it is probable that more books, articles, etc have been written about the Austin Seven than any other car in history perhaps with the exception of the Model T Ford. Still stranger is the fact that a large proportion of those writings were prompted by and centered upon special building and tuning when the car was never intended for such purposes.

This started in the late 40s and early 50s after World War II when in England people turned their attention back to motor sport and the 750 Motor Club fostered the 750 formula aimed at cheap motor sport based on Austin Sevens, which could be bought for œ l0 a pop at the time. Over that period just about everything that it was possible to try and do was tried and done, and this is evidenced in the 750 Motor Club publications starting with the Special Builders' Guide 1st Ed 1954 through to the Austin Seven Companion. In particular the articles by Jack French on "simplicity" are compulsory reading for special builders and home mechanics alike. Graphic descriptions of bending framework and panels around suitably shaped trees and straightening bent chassis by driving a laden truck over it are common. Around the same time Holland Birkett wrote his classic article "The Austin Seven from the Special Builder's Angle" in English "Motor Sport" (May 1950) - this also is essential reading. 

Also in the early 50's, one JH (John) Haynes wrote and published two very handy little guides, "How to Build Austin Specials" and "Building a 750 Special". Both these have long been out of print, but are useful references if you can get them. Like many others who commenced ventures associated with Austin Sevens, J Haynes went on to become a leading publisher of high standard workshop manuals.

Following these, in 1958 L M (Bill) Williams, the proprietor of Cambridge Engineering, wrote his standard reference book "Austin Seven Specials". The title is perhaps a bit misleading as, while covering the refinements associated with special building, the book provides an excellent reference for major overhaul, maintenance, and tuning of touring cars. A later revision of this book is still available new.

In recent years, with the final recognition and acceptance of the fact that the Austin Seven is a true thoroughbred and a very collectable motor car there have been several major additions to Austin Seven literature. First was Wyatt's book "Austin Seven - Motor for the Millions" published in 1968 and now into a third edition. This one traces the history of the Seven model by model and has become another standard reference.

The most significant recent publication has been the "Austin Seven Companion" compiled by members of the 750 Motor Club and in effect collecting in one volume the fruits of some 40 years of experience and development together with hitherto undocumented subjects such as gearbox overhaul and car electrical systems - truly an Austin Seven Bible.

Close on the heels of the release of the Companion came the reprint of the factory Service Journals arranged by Dave Williams of the Seven Workshop, and now newly released we have the Parts Book/ Catalogue complete with exploded assembly drawings in the modern fashion from the John Platts Austin Seven Center in Bristol.

For anybody starting from scratch, whether home mechanic or special builder, if I had to recommend one book, I would have to advise the "Austin Seven Companion". If looking for further detail then I would suggest the likes of the Service Journals Reprint and Williams "Austin Seven Specials". The new Parts Book/Catalogue from John Platts should also be considered.

For the special builder Chris Gould's book is also recommended. After that the field broadens and it becomes a matter of reading anything that you can get your hands on.

Most of the writings of the 50s have been out-of-print for many years and have become collectors' items, some quite rare and expensive. However, in these days of very efficient photo-copiers it is often possible to obtain copies of these rare items when required.

In closing might I say that I am sure that the last word has still to be written on the Austin Seven, and that new items will continue to be published in years to come as long as the cars continue to exist."


Austin Seven Book List


Books (specials/racing)



Austin Seven Specials

Building and Racing My '750'

Special Builders Guide 1st Edn.

Special Builders Guide 2nd Edn.

Design for Competition 3rd Edn.

Austin Seven Companion

A Guide to Building Replica Ulsters

A Guide to Building Replica Ulsters (4th edition)

Austin Seven Competition Cars

How to Build Austin Specials

Building a "750" Special

Rebuild your Austin Seven - The Cambridge Way

Austin Builder's Guide

Austin Seven Textbook

The Austin Seven

Austin Racing History


L.M. (Bill) Williams

P J Stephens

750 Motor Club, 1954

750 Motor Club, 1960

750 Motor Club, 1966

750 Motor Club, 1966

Chris Gould, 750 Motor Club

Chris Gould, 750 Motor Club

Martin Eyre, 750 Motor Club

J H Haynes

John Haynes

Cambridge Engineering

Super Accessories


W Boddy, "Motor Sport"

Roland Harrison


Magazine Articles



The Austin Seven from the Special Builder's Angle

The Twin - Cam Racing Austins

The Austin-Seven - Masterpiece in Miniature

The Magnificent Seven

Gordon England and The Sports Austin Sevens

Numerous articles on various topics

Numerous articles on various topics


Holland Birkett, "Motor Sport" (E) May, 1950

Charles Goodacre, "Motor" (E) 17 Feb, 1973

"Sports Car World" (Aus) May, 1960

Pedr Davis, "Motor" (E) 13 May, 1978

Boddy "Automobile Quarterly" (Am ) 3/1983

Austin Seven Clubs Association Magazines (E)

1970 onwards

750 Motor Club Bulletins


General Books



The Austin Seven Book 1st Edn.

The Austin Seven Book 2nd Edn.

The Austin Seven Book 3rd Edn.

The Austin Seven Book 4th Edn.

The Austin Seven Book 5th Edn.

The Austin Seven Book 6th Edn.

The Book of the Austin Seven 1st Edn.

The Book of the Austin Seven 2nd Edn.

The Book of the Austin Seven and Eight 3rd Edn.

The Austin Seven

The Austin Seven - A Pictorial Tribute

Austin Seven in The Thirties

Austin Seven Cars (1930-1935)

Austin Seven, (1922-1982)

Austin Seven Service Journals - Reprint

Austin Seven Spare Parts List and Catalogue

Austin Seven List of Spare Parts

Profile No 39

Whatever Became of the Baby Austin (Bantam)

Austin Cars

Small Car Handbook

Modern Motor Repair and Overhauling

Motors of Today

Austin Seven

Austin Seven Manual

Austin Seven Source Book

The Original Austin Seven


Austin from the Inside

(Recollections of Freddie Henry)

The Austin Seven

Men and Motors of 'the Austin' (The inside

Story of a Century of Car Making at



R T Nicholson, Gregg, 1927

R T Nicholson, Gregg, 1929

R T Nicholson, Gregg, 1931

Nicholson/Leather, Gregg, 1933

Nicholson/Leather, Gregg, 1937

Nicholson/Leather/Mead, Gregg, 1937

Goodwin, Pitman, 1935

Jelley, Pitman, 1944

Abbey, Pitman, 1948

R J Wyatt

R J Wyatt

R M Clark, Brooklands Books

R M Clark, Brooklands Books

R M Clark, Brooklands Books

The Seven Workshop

John Platts, The Austin Seven Centre, 1983

The Seven Workshop

D B Tubbs, Profile

John W. Underwood, Heritage Press, California, 1965

Pearson, 1954

Autocar, (E), 1927

Newnes, 1933

Thornton Rutter, Virtue, 1929

Chris Harvey, Haynes, 1985

Doug Woodrow, Mercury Publications, 1987

Bryan Purves, Haynes, 1989

Rinsay Mills, Bay View Books

Colin Thompson, Julia MacRae

750 Motor Club, 1997

Jonathan Woods, A Shire Album 343, 1999

Barney Sharratt, Haynes, 2000

ISBN 1 85960 6717


Magazine Articles



Anatomy of a Car - Austin 7

Full Bore in Austin 7s.

The Other Austin Sevens (Bantam, Dixi, Datsun)

The Magnificent Seven

Sevens Up

History of the American Austin and Bantam

Overhauling the Austin Seven

Numerous articles on various topics

Numerous articles on various topics


"Classic Car", (E) Aug, 1974

"Classic Car", (E) Sept, 1974

"Classic & Sportscar", Aug, 1983

Boddy, "Mayfair", Apr. 75

Boddy, "Mayfair", Vol. 17 No. 4

"Automobile Quarterly", 1976

"Practical Motorist", (E)

Austin Seven Clubs Association Magazines (E)

1970 onwards

750 Motor Club Bulletins


Travel, Achievement, History



Round the World in a Baby Austin

Round the World in a Baby Austin

"We and The Baby"

(Sydney to Cape York - Australia)

"Little Wheels"

(English printing of "We & The Baby")

Coleman's Drive

(Buenos Aires to New York)

Coleman's Drive

(without illustrations)

Coleman's Drive

(Shorter version - student edition)

A Case of VAT 69

(Overland Journey England to Australia)

To Hell and Gone

(Adelaide to Daly Waters - Australia)

Telegraph Tourists

(Retraces "To Hell and Gone")

Seven Years With Samantha

(Round the World)

Lord Austin, The Man

The Austin: 1902-1952

Hector Macquarie, Hodder & Stroughton, 1933

Hector Macquarie, Hodder & Stroughton, 1936

Hector Macquarie, Angus & Robertson, 1930

Hector Macquarie, The Bodley Head, 1935

John Coleman, Faber & Faber, 1962

John Coleman, Travel Book Club

John Coleman, Faber & Faber, 1964

Graham Rankin and Martin Boag, 1969

Penryn Goldman, Angus and Robertson, 1932

Winty Calder, Jimaringle Publications, 1993

Clive Ball, Patrick Stephens, 1974

Z E Lambert/R J Wyatt, Sidgwick and Jackson, 1968

R J Wyatt, David and Charles, 1981

(E) - English Publication (Aus) - Australian Publication (Am) - American Publication

And here are some updates.......

The Austin Seven Journals published by the Austin Seven Club of South Australia

The Light Shaft magazine published by the Austin Seven Club of Victoria

The Vintage Austin magazine published by David Vaughan of the Vintage Austin Register of Australia.

A fabulous article on Barry Lovelock's 1930 Ulster in the May, 2001 issue of Classiccars(UK). Also known as Thoroughbred and Classiccars.

Practical Classics (UK), August 2001, (Issue Nine). An interesting article on servicing your seven.

  Unique Cars February 2002 (pages 44-47) - A feature article on the Super Sports Seven belonging to Barry Ryle in West Australia. The car is reportedly the 6th factory Super Sports produced.

Automobile Quarterly (AQ), Volume 42, Number 1, First Quarter 2002. Australian history on the Austin Seven Comet and its maker by Gavin Farmer

Pre-War Austin and Austin Seven, Published and distributed by Unique Motor Books in the UK ISBN:1 84155 457 X. This book contains road tests and service information on all pre-war Austin models.

"Austin Seven Briefing" by Practical Classics & Car Restorer, published by Kelsey Publishing Limited, ISBN 1 873098 12 X, 1991. - John Williams principal author. Thanks to Ian Ronald for this one....

Bruce White (ed.)

The Austin Seven Motoring Pages