HomeCar CultureOwner celebrates 50 years with his 1936 'Nippy' Austin 7

Owner celebrates 50 years with his 1936 ‘Nippy’ Austin 7


Bertie Fowler and his 1937 'Nippy' Austin 7 | National Motor Museum photos
Bertie Fowler and his 1937 ‘Nippy’ Austin 7 | National Motor Museum photos

How many people have owned the same car for 50 years?

Perhaps it’s more that you might think.

Regardless, one of them, British resident Bertie Fowler, will attend his 50th National Austin 7 Rally on July 3 at Beaulieu, which will be hosting the event for the 54th year in a row, “one of the longest unbroken runs for a one-marque club using the same venue for its annual event,” the National Motor Museum said in a news release.

According to the museum, the Austin 7 was the first truly mass-produced British car.

“In the 1920s and 1930s it changed the lives of ordinary people by giving them the opportunity to buy an affordable motor car for the first time. It is one of the most enduring and endearing of all pre-war British cars,” the museum said in its release.

“Between 1922 and 1939 some 290,000 were built and more than 8,000 survive worldwide today. The 750 Motor Club was founded in 1939.”

A row of Austin 7s at 2015 gathering
A row of Austin 7s at 2015 gathering

Fowler purchased his 1936 “Nippy,” one of the few production sports models produced by Austin, when he was 19 years old, “negotiating the £90 deal in darkness by the Derby Grandstand at Epsom racecourse.”

Looking back, he notes it was “the best buy I ever made.”

Fowler said he’s had years of happy motoring, even with “the usual ‘Nippyisms’ of the doors flying open when negotiating fast corners.”

Fowler drove the car until 1976, when he retired it beneath covers in a shed in his garden. However, he’s had the car restored by Robert Foreman and Chris Gould — Gould is considered a living legend in the world of sporty Austin 7s — and will show the car at the rally and in the special Austin 7 Sports and Racers display.

That sports and racers display also will include Graham Beckett’s “Simplicity,” the Tony Hutchings-built OK7095 works racer replica and several of the Bert Hadley championship cars.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
  1. My wife has owned a Austin 7 Ruby since the late 80s. It was owned by two sisters in Cooperstown NY till it went into storage in 1950, It is totally original except the tires. It starts and runs like a sewing machine. [ Cooperstown got it’s wealth from the Singer sewing machine co and the Clark family.] We peolel visit our collection, it gets more attention than the rest of cars including two Morgans.

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