1936 Austin Seven Ruby
I owned this one in 1960-2, it was my first car. My father had also
owned it about 5 years earlier. This was a brilliant motor in
every respect apart from the brakes which were awful - they were
by open cables and on the front, as they began to bite, the suspension
would move back slightly and so let them off again. (they were
going backwards!) It was impossible to get them to work well and
in emergency the car would always spin round and go backwards as only
offside rear brake worked properly.
The tiny engine was lubricated by 2 jets which squirted oil at small
troughs in the crankshaft as the webs came past and some oil would find
its way to the big ends, the resultant spray in the crankcase
everything else. Normal oil pressure was about 10 psi and if it
you had a blocked jet. The jets were accessible on the side of
crankcase - brass plugs were unscrewed and a piece of wire poked
to clear them. The rear main ball bearing would allow oil through onto
the clutch causing slip but there was access through the floor to
solvent onto the linings to clean them and then you parked against a
and with plenty of revs in gear let the clutch burn off any remaining
until the engine stalled.
This car had really good traction in mud or snow and was virtually
impossible to bog down, this was due to skinny tyres, big wheels (17",
18" or 19" were available) and a very torquey long stroke engine with a
big flywheel. It would pull away on tickover on a steep hill and
would run in top gear at tickover without any driveline shunt.
I drove all over southern England in this motor and had tremendous
fun with it at a time when there was very little traffic compared to
One of our memorable trips was in 1961 when I and a friend drove from
London to Lands End and back following the road all round the coast
camping at 15 different places with the car loaded with gear - a
of about 1,000 miles with no problems having refitted the rebuilt
on the morning we started! In the end I broke the crankshaft
after towing a 1939 Standard 16 up a steep hill. This time the
was sold for parts.
- 4 cyl. 747cc. Sidevalve engine. 13bhp.
- Bore and Stroke, 55mm x 75mm.
- Aluminium crankcase, cast iron block and head.
- Single semi-elliptic front spring.
- 2 quarter-elliptic rear springs.
- Simple, poor cable brakes.