2022 | London Auction
1932 Austin Seven Mulliner Military
Coachwork by Mulliners Ltd.
£20,000 - £40,000| Without Reserve
Believed to Be One of Just Two Mulliner-Bodied Military Cars Extant
Unique Export Desert Specification Presented in Caunter Camouflage
Formerly in the Collection of Austin Seven Authority and Author David Morgan
Extensive Supporting Documentation and History
A Charming and Historic Addition to Any Collection
747 CC Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
Front Beam-Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Spring
Rear Live-Axle Suspension with Quarter-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Terry Poole, Haverfordwest, UK
David Morgan, UK (acquired from the above in 1988)
Current Owner (acquired from the above)
See UK Registration/Import Status Guide in catalogue.
Launched in 1922, the Austin Seven, affectionately nicknamed the “Baby Austin” for its diminutive size, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The idea of the economical and affordable Seven was conceived by Sir Herbert Austin, following the introduction of the horsepower tax in 1921. Built primarily as an accessible motorcar for the UK market, the Austin Seven was offered in various body styles including touring, saloon, and cabriolet. A roaring success, the Seven had a similar effect on the UK market as the Ford Model T did in America, and the design was licensed across the globe, from Germany and France to the US and Japan. Bruce McLaren started his racing career in an Austin Seven Special and even the Dalai Lama had one delivered directly to Tibet.
The Austin Seven’s practical and lightweight design made it adaptable for applications beyond the public consumer market, including in the form of commercial and military vehicles. In 1929, as part of a policy to mechanize the British Army, a number of military-specification Austin Sevens were supplied to the War Department and issued to cavalry regiments, replacing their horses with horsepower. A copy of a photo on file depicts King George V and Queen Mary in 1932 visiting Aldershot, home of the British Army, and notes that their majesties were “greatly interested in the baby car section of the mechanised forces.” These “mechanised forces” were later utilized for training exercises and transport.
This particular 1932 Austin Seven Military was bodied by Mulliners Limited of Birmingham, and is believed to be the only survivor of the rare, export desert specification, which were equipped with a special desert cooling system, Ulster-type water pump, larger radiator, four-bladed cooling fan, and large Vokes air filter. These military variants were used in North Africa, Persia, and India up to the early part of WWII.
Little is known about the history of this car until around 50 years ago when it was discovered in Yorkshire and rescued and restored by an Austin Seven enthusiast. In 1988, the Austin passed into the collection of respected Austin Seven authority David Morgan. Mr. Morgan spent the next 30 years taking it to Austin Seven gatherings, including D-Day celebrations and the Goodwood Revival, where the car stood in pride of place outside the Drivers Club. In 2003, the Austin Seven underwent repair work which addressed the body and mechanical systems. More recently, the car was painted in a disruptive Caunter Camouflage livery – a combination of specific colors used by the British Army in the Mediterranean and North Africa. It was a project worked on by Mr. Morgan and, following his passing in 2019, completed by the current owner as a tribute.
Offered for public sale for the first time in more than three decades, this vehicle represents a rare and unique opportunity in the well-followed Austin Seven world.