by Adam Wragg
2020 review by James Loveridge
The Austin Seven, first made in 1922, was, and still is, an amazing car. Throughout the 1920s and 30s it was a mainstay of motor sport both at Brooklands and in the various hill climbs and trials. Now it continues as an important feature of classic racing such as in the Vintage Sports Car Club.
One of its many attributes was its adaptability so that it quickly became a true competition car. Many versions were produced both by the factory and enthusiastic individuals. The sturdy little engine could take a great deal of tuning to the extent that it could readily be supercharged as done by Arthur Waite and Murray Jamieson among others.
The most potent version was the “Dutch Clog” single seater racing cars driven by the likes of Kaye Petre but very few were built. Inspired by these little wonders Alan Wragg, one of life’s real enthusiasts, decided there ought to be more. This book, “Wragg’s Racers: Austin Seven Single Seater Specials” by his son Adam Wragg tells the story.
Adam has undertaken the monumental task of detailing the history of every one of his father’s creations, resulting in a copiously illustrated 324 pages. This has got to be one of the most comprehensive one-make histories produced and he is to be congratulated.
The story is told of the issues involved in getting the car accepted as eligible to compete under the very strict regulations of the Vintage Sports Car Club, all of which was finally resolved, and these lovely little cars compete and succeed in VSCC events to this day.
After a brief introduction to Mr Wragg Senior’s involvement in the Classic Car with Sherwood Restorations business, including fettling the odd Bugatti, all fourteen of the Wragg cars are described, in words and photographs, in the closest detail possible. Given are build histories, owners and competition appearances. The cars went through three “iterations”, with the Mk 3 being the most numerous. Alan Wragg’s intent is made clear by a handwritten note included in the section on the first car entitled “1928 Replica Austin (750cc) Single Seater” and then listing the basic specification of the car he was going to build.
This is a very large book, 11 inches by 13, so the photos are very clear. The descriptions are full so it is almost possible, if you had the measurements and the skills, that you could build one of these cars yourself. However this is not an easy book to read, made up as it is of printed narrative, copies of handwritten and typed letters, extracts from race programmes and result sheets, extracts from motoring magazines and adverts. This is essentially a very well produced scrapbook but none the worse for that.
This is both a tribute to Adam Wragg’s father Alan and the story of his determination to produce the best car he could and, quite obviously, to give a lot of pleasure and fun to the various owners.
Publisher: Wragg Publications (2020). Order by phone 07595 493 565 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Payment by cheque to Ford House, St Helen’s Lane, The Turnpike, Halam, Notts, NG22 8AE or by PayPal to the e-mail address.
Price: £85 (including UK postage)
Description: Hardback without dustjacket as published (330mm x 280mm), 324 pages.