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Homepage. This page: Long-term dry storage has ensured that this Austin 7 remains in restorable condition.

Case No.5
Make: Austin
Model: Seven Ruby
Year: 1936

Sold on: eBay
Category: Classic Cars
Austin 7 Ruby barn find on eBay
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Project description.

If the photos are anything to go by, hopefully the only part of this Austin 7 that is actually crumbling is the paint finish, for the rest of it looks remarkably sound - in true "barn find" condition, unlike so many cars that are described as such, having only been parked up for a few months rather than the 45 years of this lovely old motor. I've a soft spot for pre-war cars anyway, hence the inclusion of this cracking pre-war Austin, a car that could be the perfect introduction for anyone interested in fettling and running a pre-war car.
Finding a car in faded, dusty condition is much more interesting to me than something all shiny, with new paint, new interior, new engine and new just-about-everything-else. Some cars need the full monte when it comes to re-commissioning them, whereas others - possibly like this one - offer the option of re-furbishment rather than wholesale replacement, keeping most of the original parts and thus retaining its soul. It even still has its old buff logbook, so happily it can return to the road (after a little correspondence with DVLA), sporting the registration that it's had since 1936, not something that every Ruby out there can boast.
The bodywork in the photos looks very straight indeed. The steel panels in the first photo look quite good, I'd expect to possibly find that the running boards aren't as strong as they once might have been, and I'd want to check the main bodyshell where the rear wings bolt through. Inspection of the A posts, the pillars onto which the doors are hung, would be worthwhile, but chances are they won't have deteriorated significantly. The roof material will need replacement, not uncommon on saloons of this type and age. The radiator grille appears to be un-damaged - while Austin 7 parts are reasonably easy to source, the fact that this car's panels are surprisingly straight is a definite bonus.
The spare wheel cover is present, as is a fold-down luggage rack. Both bumpers are present, if a little wobbly in places, and the chromework will all need re-plating if restoration, rather than conservation/oily-ragging, is the eventual new owner's plan of action.
The Austin's carpets have long since disappeared, but as they're often favourites of mice and the like, this is no surprise. The seats look their age, but maybe they could be re-stuffed, enabling the original covers to be retained once suitably rejuvenated. The inner door trim panels, while also looking their 76 years, could also be re-used although the lower carpeted sections might want replacement. The dash has its full complement of gauges, switches and other goodies, plus a jolly nice supplying dealership plaque for Baines Brothers to the passenger side. Some research into this concern would be a worthwhile addition to the car's history file I think.
Beneath the lightly rusted bonnet lies the Austin's once-beating heart, all 747cc of it. Apparently it still turns over on the handle, but some precautionary work would be required before any attempts at starting it up again could be entertained. At the very least it would need the fuel system cleaning and checking over, same for the ignition, plus oil poured into the bores, and I'd also be inclined to have a look at the main and big end bearings while cleaning out the sump, then replenishing the latter with a suitable "classic friendly" lubricant. Fortunately the supply of Austin 7 parts, whether for the chrome rad cars (of which the vendor also has an example up for grabs shortly), or the later Ruby as seen here, means that the engine could be fully restored if necessary (assuming there are no terminal frost cracks to the block etc), or else replaced with a better unit until such time as the original motor could be fixed.
While the prices of chrome radiator 7s continue to drift upwards, thanks in the main to their eligibility for VSCC competition use, the slightly later Ruby (and variants) of the mid-1930s remain - relatively speaking - affordable, and are perhaps - thanks to the spares situation, club support, and vast amount of knowledge out there on these baby Austins - the least daunting option out there if pre-war motoring is something one fancies a crack at. And this example, as a restoration candidate, has a lot in its favour I reckon. Common sense might suggest that buying a restored example would be the simplest, quickest, and quite possibly the cheapest entry into Ruby driving, but where's the challenge in that?
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