When a car comes in I usually spend happy hours reading its file to learn about its history and mechanical specification before I write my own description. However this lovely replica Austin Seven TT sports came with a text written by highly respected old car engineer and restorer Walter Heale which is so lucid and informative that there is no point in me even trying to match it so I am delighted to say that Walter has kindly given me his permission to reproduce it below.
“Based upon a 1931 coupled brake chassis frame and originally built up by Austin Seven expert Steve Hodgson, originally for his own use, this TT features many correct sports features not found on your average replica. The below description is somewhat longer than one might be used to with an Austin Seven but I hope will show the huge amount of work and effort not to mention expenditure that has been put into the car.
The engine has been built up on a 1927 crankcase with blocked off oil jets, with the renowned Pheonix crank which is pressure fed and has been balanced with ballbearing rear main bearing and roller type front mains. A Paul Bonewell roller bearing camshaft and Renault con rods balanced with Renault pistons have all been expertly machined to match the Austin Seven block. The block has been bored out with large inlet valves, a skimmed head, ported airways with double valve springs and re-ground cam followers and tappets. A wonderful Bronze Solex carburettor as originally fitted has recently been overhauled by Solex expert Robert Foreman. A very nice Aluminium 9E sports type reproduction high compression head ported with 18mm plugs finishes off this very high specification road/race engine.
Power is sent to the road through a close ratio three speed gearbox with a correct set of Ulster gears the first motion shaft being fitted with a roller bearing, all bearings have been fitted with modern seals in place of the original fabric. The rear Axle has been totally rebuilt with a new old stock 5.125:1 Crown wheel and pinion.
Brakes are coupled and are correct 1 ¼ inch with hard linings, cast Iron early brake drums with a fully floating cross member to compensate front to rear brakes and all rolling on rebuilt 19" solid centre wheels with Blockley tyres. The front axle is the correct dropped sports model complete with original sports lowered spring with zinc interleaves, and a lightened big 7 shock absorber complete with lowered and boxed sports radius arms, the steering box is 9E sports.
The coachwork has been beautifully constructed by Rod Yates to accurately recreate the TT model with short bonnet (extra louvres being a fun diversion), a large scuttle and correct cut outs for brake cables as on the original TT team cars, the body has also been given an extra bulkhead panel in the tail for extra strength and body width is as per the standard Ulster both features allow even the taller 'Austineer' to fit easily and enjoy the car!. The wings and other external details match the TT cars, with the original style cycle wings, low mounted R47 headlamps and Brooklands screens neatly shrouded as is the vintage side view mirror.
The interior has been very nicely re-trimmed by Larry Rose , a lovely grey/blue hue , in soft leather and now nicely mellowed, a nice detail is the Austin 'A' embossed in the side panel pockets. The dashboard has all the gauges one might hope to see in an Ulster so is a veritable delight for the discerning eye! A beautiful original dinner plate 0-6000 rpm tachometer greets one on the right hand side of the dash, often used by both Austin team cars and other sports racing cars of the period. Next up is a 100MPH speedo and correct oil gauge, temperature gauge and a lovely Smiths fascia mounted clock.”
Note from Gavin McGuire - this car has just arrived and I have now driven it and can confirm that it lives up to Walter’s description and is just as good as it looks – this is indeed a very special Austin Seven and is well worth a look if you would like to own what must be one of the best TT replicas available!