Austin Seven motor car, 1922.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This was the first of the 350,000 Austin Sevens to be made. Designed by Sir Herbert Austin (1866-1941) asisted by Stanley Edge, the Seven, or Baby Austin, was a true car in miniature rather than a cycle car designed on motorcycle lines, as many of its predecesors had been. Its specification included a normal four-wheel chasis with leaf springing, a four-cylinder 747 cc water-cooled engine, three-speed and reverse gearbox, four-wheel brakes and an open four-seater body. It was capable of speeds up to 50 mph, and could cover 45 miles on a single gallon of petrol. As well as being a means of personal and family transport the Austin Seven was also very popular and succesful in motor racing in the 1920s.