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Austin Seven Gordon England Cup

Austin Seven Gordon England CupAustin Seven Gordon England CupAustin Seven Gordon England CupAustin Seven Gordon England CupAustin Seven Gordon England Cup
Austin Seven Gordon England CupAustin Seven Gordon England CupAustin Seven Gordon England CupAustin Seven Gordon England Cup
Lot number 97
Hammer value £14,000
Description Austin Seven Gordon England Cup
Registration PX 7400
Year 1927
Colour Black/Brown
Engine size 747 cc
Chassis No. AS402S

Before and during World War One, EC Gordon England was employed in the aircraft industry becoming an unusual combination of test pilot and designer and then a factory manager. After the War he became interested in motor racing and in 1922 persuaded Sir Herbert Austin to prepare one of the new Austin Seven chassis for him, for which he made a special lightweight body. His success in racing encouraged him to offer his own Austin Seven-based sportscars to the public through his father’s garage, George England Ltd, in Putney, London.

Incredibly snug and light, the body featured plywood box-girders and an ash framework covered with thin plywood panels, from which the door and window openings were cut afterwards. The exterior was entirely covered in fabric. Its most novel feature was a three-point mounting system that isolated the bodywork from the chassis thereby reducing the creaks and groans experienced with normal composite bodies.

The first Gordon England model sold to the public with the new lightweight body was the Austin Seven Brooklands of 1924. Each Brooklands racer came with a certificate attesting that it could reach the speed of 80mph. Gordon England co-piloted one of his own cars in the 1925 24-Hours of Le Mans, but failed to finish the gruelling race.

Offered between August 1925 and March 1929, the Cup Model was made available through the established Austin dealer network and initially cost £185, although by September 1928 this had dropped to £140. The standard 747cc engine was the usual fitment, however a Brooklands engine in a higher state of tune could be specified if required. Gordon England Ltd also built a number of lightweight bodies for Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Invicta and MG before finally falling victim to the Great Depression and going bankrupt in early 1930.

First registered in November 1927, this particular car appears to have been supplied new by L Elvidge, Wincheap Garage, Canterbury, according to a plaque on the bodywork, and has had just two owners in the last 28 years, the current vendor acquiring it from VSCC stalwart Ted Widgery in 1995. In 2004 he decided to have the car prepared for VSCC trialling and touring events and entrusted it to Rawson & Rawson Motor Sport for preparation. This included fitting a specially built engine with a Phoenix three-bearing crank, Ricardo head, new con rods and pistons, SU carb and manifold, electric fuel pump and cooling fan and an oil filter. A Ruby gearbox and propshaft was also fitted and a louvred bonnet at a total cost of some £6,000 (bills on file).

The car has been very little used since the work was completed and has not been raced or rallied, outings being mainly restricted to the odd jaunt down to the local pub! In excellent condition throughout, it is currently taxed and MOTd and is said to drive beautifully with an invigorating turn of speed compared to a standard car. Nice features include bodywork plaques from both Gordon England and Wincheap Garage, leather gaiters on the front and rear springs and a delightful auxiliary fuel tank mounted on the off-side front wing.

Included with the car are the original engine and gearbox it came with, complete with magneto, brass carburettor, drive shaft, fan blade etc. The hood-frame, hood, hood bag and tonneau cover are also present as is the spare wheel inside the tail. There are also various bills for the recent work, most old MOTs back to 1995 and an old green log book from 1971 when the car was owned by Peter Newens of Kew Gardens, Surrey, who had himself restored the car in the 1960s. Altogether a delightful and rare machine that is just itching for a new owner to get behind the wheel and start racking up some VSCC silverware in the trophy cabinet!

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