AUSTIN 7 MILITARY TOURER SOLD
Austin 7 Two Seat Military Tourer first registered 9th August 1935. It is registered CMM 558 and has a current V5 registration book and an old Buff Log Book. Last on the road in the 1970's. The model number is Type APD Open Tourer. The vehicle was made for Military Contract Number V2734 War Office models. Under this contract 224 cars were ordered. This one is chassis number 228208 (two seat car with standard radiator and no water pump). The car number is APD 2829. The paint spec is 381 of 1930 deep bronze green (Khaki). The original engine number was 228719, although this was removed early on, possibly by the military during WW2, to fit a larger 10hp engine, possibly from a Hillman. This may have been something to do with the duties it was being used for. The 10 hp engine is not present, but it has a period Austin 7 engine and gearbox, both removed and in need of a rebuild. The car has two petrol tanks, one at the front under the bonnet and one at the rear. There is a built-in ammunition box under the driver's seat. A gun-mounting was positioned at the front between the driver's and passenger's seats. The gun mounting is not present, but the fixing holes are visible. Several period spanners and hand tools were found in the ammunition box, and these will be included with the vehicle.
RARITY This is an extremely rare vehicle. Although there were several Military Contracts for Austin 7's, it is believed that only about 6 vehicles in total remain in existence. There is only one other known survivor from this Military Contract. For a genuine one to turn up as a barn find is exceptional, and is most unlikely to be repeated.
"GRANDFATHER OF THE JEEP". An interesting historical note is the role these cars played in the development of the jeep. The American Bantam Company was formed from the American Austin company, which was set up to produce Austin 7's and derivatives of them in USA under licence. Bantam used them in the 1930's to develop military cross country scout cars, which led to their jeep prototypes. The Austin 7 Military Tourer can honestly claim to be the original jeep prototype, predating the Bantam and the Ford GP.
AUSTIN 7'S IN THE BRITISH MILITARY. Military Tourers were used by the British Army in the 1930s, and were regarded as highly suitable for their purpose, which may be surprising to many now. In fact, Austin 7's have always been regarded as excellent cross-country vehicles, their low power being offset by extremely light weight and high manoevrability. They are often used today in competitive mud hill climbs and time trials. Some were still in service in WW2, as this one was, but exactly what role they were used for needs some research. This one was originally khaki, but has been painted over light blue. Whether this was by the Military, or by a later civilian owner, is not known. However there is a possibility that it indicates that it was in service with the RAF. Certainly, these vehicles would have been ideal for general duties around airfields. There is also a possibility that they could have been used for tugging light aircraft on grass airfields, although this is only conjecture at this stage. Certainly they would have had the capability to perform that role, and the fitting at one time of a more powerful engine lends some weight to this theory.
CONDITION The car requires complete rebuilding. However the good news is that it is virtually complete, including gauges and the hood bar mechanism. This is most unusual in barn finds like this. It is also a bonus that the car has not been messed with previously. Also, these cars are small and very simple, so rebuilding is a much less daunting prospect than it would be in the case of most military vehicles. The wide availability of Austin 7 parts is a great advantage.