Most people are aware of Austin’s very popular Seven through personal ownership or family motoring history but those amongst us who haven’t come across their range of larger cars are often surprised when they discover what good quality machines they made. If you are already familiar with them you will know what I mean but if not any examination of this lovely 1934 16 hp Berkeley saloon will soon prove the point!
The first thing that strikes you is its refined presence which combined with its elegant black over dark blue paintwork and the very good condition of its bright work will make it stand out in any crowd. The interior lives up to the promise of the exterior with its fine upholstery, panel trim, headlining with net storage pockets, fold out tables, foot rests, curtains and hand grips for the rear passengers. It also has a large sliding sun roof as well as an opening windscreen for cooling its occupants on hot days.
The driver has an appropriate set of instruments which all work apart from the controls for its original very clever but sadly troublesome Hayes variable transmission which has at some time been replaced with a conventional Austin four speed gearbox – this will at least be a lot more reliable easier to maintain! The just over 2 litre six cylinder engine starts readily and is smooth, quiet and powerful so you won’t have to keep changing gear as it bowls along quite happily in top gear and provided you are gentle with the accelerator it will pull away from almost walking pace without you having to change down below third so it is very easy to drive.
Although it would be ambitious to describe it as being in true concours condition the whole car really is in fine order throughout and will certainly attract attention at any show or rally you attend. It gives the distinct impression of having been properly maintained and there are lots of invoices for and lists of work done on it by the current and previous owners. Although there are no specific records of it being totally restored it certainly looks and feels like it has been thoroughly gone through from top to bottom – either that or it has done remarkably few miles in its 87 year life!!
All in all it is a very fine motor car which compares very well with any of its luxury car contemporaries and I happily invite you to come and see it for yourself.