Austin Sevens are old, simple, and frustrating things, much the same as those that restore them!
So, what was I actually going to create???.
I haven’t mentioned yet what I was planning with the project. With the car arriving with no body and no clarity on what it was originally I decided I would head down the “Ulster” route. On talking with a few club members it seems that this will need to be an “Ulster special” named something along the lines of “Devilish Ulster replica – Rod Yates special” (I plan to put a Rod Yates body on it) using the 666 part of the chassis number as a reference (more on that later)...
So, to continue...At this point I started looking at the chassis itself. Someone had, at some point in time, decided to paint it with more black paint than you can throw a stick at… After a brief attempt to remove it I chickened out and decided that a good blasting and powder coating was the way to go. Luckily, there is a place very local to me that provided this service at a very reasonable price. A week later I had a nice shiny chassis. This is when I found the second chassis number!! I had removed the aluminium place containing what I thought was the chassis number to protect it from destruction due to blasting. Upon return of the chassis a new number was evident, obviously hidden by so much paint, which differed from the one on the plate. Thanks to Jim Blacklock, Phil Baildon and others we managed to work out that the aluminium plate was not original (was actually riveted on but in the wrong place with respect to the engine mountings) and that the number stamped directly into the chassis was. This took a bit of effort to work out exactly what the number was as parts of it were not as clear as others.. Anyway, we now have the correct chassis number recorded in the register which may also contribute to the eventual naming of the car. I also restored the radius arms and fitted new brass bushes at the ball joint. The radius arms are the later type that have the two fixing points at the front, matching the axle I have. I fitted the front axle etc. to the chassis and then started work on the rear. The rear axle is a “D” shape, again with Morris brake back plates. This all cleaned up well and with a few new parts (brake pads, cylinder, springs, felt seals etc.) all reassembled well. I did not strip down the diff as 1 – I’ve never done one before and 2 – father advised against.. I did however totally strip and restore the torque tube banjo (not sure that’s the right name… the banjo shaped piece of kit that connects to the chassis on the ball and supports the torque tube via the screwed clamp?).
OK, so this brings us up to date with progress at the time I launched this site. From here on in I will maintain a blog (see the link at the top of the page) that will detail the various stages of the project through to completion. Feel free to contact me via the contact panel on the right hand side of this page if you want to know more, have any questions or are just sad enough to want to talk Austin Sevens :-)
The Forum linked above is a great place to go for advice, expertise and input to whatever issue you are trying to resolve..
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I inherited the "Project" from my father in September 2013. It arrived as a rolling chassis, engine, 4 speed box and obligatory box of bits.
I was presented with this project in September 2013 when my father delivered it on the back of a trailer. He has several Austin Seven restorations on the go and I decided I wanted a go.. So, the project arrived. What arrived was a rolling chassis, engine, gearbox and obligatory box of odds and ends. On initial investigation I found that we had a 2 bearing engine with a high compression head, 4 speed (2 Syn) gearbox, 6’9” chassis and wheels having Morris back plates enabling hydraulic brakes. And so began the adventure.
I decided to leave the engine for a while and start at the front of the chassis and work my way to the back. First up was the front axle and associated hubs, dampers etc. I’d decided that I was going to strip everything back to bare metal and exercise every nut, bolt and washer.. I soon found that we had a little play in the king pins and that they, along with the bushes were in need of replacement. I striped both hubs down and set about cleaning, priming, painting and reassembling it all. Wheel bearings were good, but I installed new felt seals, gaskets and grease nipples.
As for the brakes, which were twin leading shoe Morris hydraulically operated, I soon realised we were in need of new cylinders and springs. Sourcing these was no problem and they all seemed to fit pretty easily. Little did I realise at this point the challenges that lay ahead with the brake pipework...
I restored the front damper, adding new friction plates and star plate and started to reassemble the whole axle. Next was the front leaf spring which looked a little worse for wear.. On further examination I found that one of the leaf’s was snapped in two… So, sourced a replacement and cleaned that up ready for fitting. The shackles cleaned up very well and looked good with no apparent wear. I fitted new grease nipples and lock washers. I did fit new brass bushes in the axle and spring shackle holes.
Next was the steering system. Steering arm checked out ok with no cracks (a blessing!) and the track rod arms cleaned up well too. I fitted new bushes and grease nipples to these and once all painted fitted back to the, now near complete, front end.