European Automotive Hall of Fame

  • Carl Hahn
  • Pierre Dreyfus
  • Nils Bohlin
  • Charles Stewart Rolls
  • Frederick Henry Royce

  • 2005 INDUCTEES

  • Lord Herbert Austin
  • Vincenzo Lancia
  • Pierre Lefaucheux
  • Ferry Porsche

    2004 INDUCTEES

  • Marquis Albert de Dion
  • Eberhard von Kuenheim
  • August Horch
  • Wilhelm Maybach
  • Benefactors

    2003 INDUCTEES

  • Heinz Nordhoff
  • Armand Peugeot
  • Giuseppe "Nuccio" Bertone
  • Henry Ford II
  • Benefactors

    2002 INDUCTEES

  • Henry Ford
  • Andre and Edouard Michelin
  • Nicolaus Otto
  • Battista Pininfarina


  • Giovanni Agnelli
  • Karl Friedrich Benz
  • Robert Bosch
  • Ettore Bugatti
  • Andre Citroen
  • Gottlieb Daimler
  • Rudolf Diesel
  • Enzo Ferrari
  • Giorgetto Giugiaro
  • Alec Issigonis
  • William Lyons
  • Ferdinand Porsche
  • Louis Renault

  • Home Page
  • The Austin Seven made him famous

    Austin created a little legend.

    Automotive News Europe

    Just after World War I, British carmaker Herbert Austin had an idea that he believed would change his company forever: He wanted to build a small, inexpensive car to meet the needs of the family.

    But his board at Austin Motor Co. was unwilling to finance the project. Undeterred, Austin spent his own cash to make the Austin Seven a reality.

    Unveiled in 1922, the Seven sold for 165, a fraction of the price charged by rival automakers. Sales of the Seven were slow initially, but improvements to the engine and the addition of an electric starter sparked a keen interest in the car.

    By 1926, 14,000 Sevens were being produced annually.

    The Seven set the standard for the European small car for more than a decade.

    The car was built until 1939. That year the company's Longbridge factory was turned into a manufacturer of military equipment, just as it had been during World War I, producing munitions, trucks, armored vehicles and aircraft.

    Austin was born in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire. At the age of 16 he went to Melbourne, Australia, where he worked as an engineer before returning to Birmingham, England, in 1889 to supervise Frederick York Wolseley's sheep shearing equipment factory.

    The two also started to make automobiles. The first was a three-wheel model that Austin created in 1895. Austin was named manager of the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Co. in 1901.

    He left Wolseley Tool and Motor to start his own company a century ago this year. In 1906, Austin Motor produced 120 Endcliffe Phaetons. The price of the 25hp car was 650.

    After taking the company public in 1914, Austin aimed to increase car production, but WWI changed those plans. During the war the company tripled in size to 22,000 workers as the factory switched to producing military equipment. Austin was knighted after WWI for his contributions to the war effort.