Austin 7 Club - Club Tales
This bunch of rusted-on fans of the 'baby' Austin is doing real justice to keeping the marque alive and kicking
With a history going back to the early-1950s, the 400-member-strong Austin 7 Club Inc, based in Cheltenham North, Victoria, is one of the oldest one-make car clubs in the country.
Club President Graeme Logan says the interests of the club’s members can be classified under some quite distinct headings. "There is the ‘Restoring your Austin 7’ group, the ‘Historic Racing’ group and the ‘Observed Trials’ group," he said.
He explained also that the club owns two adjacent factories in Cheltenham North that provide clubroom space including auditorium, committee room, library and kitchen, as well as a spare-parts department.
In addition to monthly general meetings there are informal get-togethers including regular Saturday barbecues.
Far from hiding in its comfortable premises it runs numerous competition events including its headline race-meeting, the Historic Winton event. The 41st Historic Winton is coming up on May 27/28.
Club stalwart Bob Watson, former Australian rally champion and automotiveengineering luminary, has provided a wealth of fascinating insights into the club’s history in his recently published book: Going Strong – the history of the Austin 7 Club 1950-2016
Here’s a taster: As a 16-year-old Watson funded the purchase of his own Austin 7 by working after school in a milk bar. After rebuilding it as a competition special he competed in the club’s motorkhana and autocross events. As they were held on private property his lack of a driving licence was no bar to his taking part.
Another: Arthur Waite, the celebrated race driver, son-in-law of the 7’s creator Herbert Austin, and BMC executive, agreed to become Patron of the Austin 7 Club in 1978. It was Waite, incidentally, who won the first Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island in 1928 – driving an Austin 7 roadster, of course.
Bob’s excellent book is available from the Austin 7 Club (above).
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