Damp and cold but happy memories of Magnificent Austin Big Seven

Robert Owen was very proud of his Austin Big Seven despite being cold and often damp. Picture: suppl

Robert Owen was very proud of his Austin Big Seven despite being cold and often damp. Picture: supplied - Credit: Robert Owen

It leaked water going through puddles, had no heater and doubled up as holiday accommodation – Robert Owen has fond memories of his Austin Big Seven.

This 1937 Austin Big Seven was bought for me by my father in 1955 for £60 to replace an ex War Department 350cc Royal Enfield motorcycle.

I had been using the motorcycle to travel from Weston-super-Mare to Gloucester each week during my five-year apprenticeship. I recall finding the car absolutely luxurious after the motorcycle! Its maximum speed was about 45mph.

The Big Seven served me well during my National Service period travelling many miles each weekend to and from camp to Weston.

A problem did arise when it was wet on the roads as water would shoot up through the hand brake if I hit a puddle and myself, and any passengers, would end up somewhat damp.


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And, as there was no heater built into the car, I would have to dress in dufflecoat, warm socks and gloves in cold weather.

I remember the car had semaphore indicators which made a loud clunk when raised or lowered. The photograph was taken at Knightstone Causeway, Weston with an Ensign box camera – I was very proud of my new vehicle.

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At the time I was the only car owner among my friends and often, on a Friday evening, two of us would take off to the South Coast for a couple of days. We had no spare cash for accommodation so would remove the front seats, replace these with the back of the rear seat to make up a bed and we slept in the car.

My Big Seven was my first car which I owned and my memories of it brings back lots of happy times.

Tell us about your first car – email your motoring memories with a picture of the car to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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