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Mummy says I'm Special - Heron Austin Seven


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A close-ratio four speed box should provide a high enough cruising speed. You can make a Seven engine as fast as you'd ever need with relative ease I think, though we'd like to keep the mods 1950s/60s-period if possible (Speedex head, big SUs, that sort of thing). I suppose the ultimate goal is to supercharge it but I'm not going to lose any sleep if we can't find a supercharger straight away.


Dollywobbler, I think Sevens all have sloppy steering, but the copious suspension mods should mean it handles a little better, plus the ultra-low CoG will help. It'll be like driving a prewar car, not a 1960s one, but I don't have any problem with that.

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That looks epic, much better than the dodgy red Heron saloon that's been doing the rounds on ebay for the last 3 years, the one that looks like a hunchback.


Like most kit cars the designers could often draw a nice front, but they lost interest or talent when it came to the rear.  But it's a lovely thing, you should be very proud.


What are the suspension mods?  I remember reading about a demon modification where the Austin 7 front axle would be cut in half and made into 2 swing axles for racers.  In fact I think it was Colin Chapman who came up with it.

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Cool as. A special was another of those things on my shopping list if one ever popped up. You normally find them in bad condition and partially finished, presumably after the owner found out that it wasn't straightforward to put it together to any kind of satisfactory standard. This one looks really well thought-out and the Dymo stickers on the wheel say it's actually been used in the past. May even have been used originally, laid up for a bit and then put back on the road later, hence the newer rev counter. Interesting history.

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I think I would have been more  upset if they had tipped a Special over the cliff.....


Anybody into this kind of motor would do well to read (apart from 1950s Motor Sports) a book called "One Off" by NT Havart. 


The author describes the build of a Ford special during the Festival of Britain year 1951.    He intersperses the story with visits to Battersea Pleasure Gardens, the Festival site, theatres, cinemas and so on.  Its a great bite of early 1950s Britain but the nitty gritty of special building is not overlooked.   Kind of John Haynes meets the Archers.  Its illustrated, too..... Well recommended!

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  • 2 years later...

Bump! You have probably seen this little horror on ebay





Which goes a long way to demonstrate just how important fit and finish is on a car like this. The black one looks like it's been screwed together by a drunk St Dunstan's student. Anyway, I had no idea there was another saloon about so I got in touch with the owner, who rejoices in the name Wayne Horn, and he says Beaulieu supplied a load of documents probing only three were ever built and his was the first one (which explains why it looks so wonky, I guess). I've been on to a contact at the NMM and am awaiting a reply, hopefully with a load of hitherto unseen Heron info.


We also managed to source, through a 'shiter, a Ford 1172 engine. It needs a full rebuild - it's been stripped and us awaiting various assessments from an engineer about condition of crank, cam etc, but it came with a load of unused Aquaplane bits: valve cover, finned manifold with twin 1 1/4-inch SUs, oil cooler and a few other bits. Should make a pretty hot motor when it's built. Now trying to decide whether we should attempt to mate it to a four speed Austin box (which we have in stock) or find a Ford box instead. Did late 100Es have a four-speeder??


So, a bit of progress at last. Hopefully things will start picking up when the engine starts going back together, but that's all in the hands of somebody who actually know wtf they are doing.

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