Live Auctions

Lightweight Fun! 1935 Austin 7 Nippy

“Nippy” is a British slang word for cold, i.e., “it’s a bit nippy today.” Which I guess is an appropriate word to use to describe riding around in a 2-seater with the top down in cool weather. The Austin 7 was an economy car produced between 1923-39 in the U.K. by Austin and was the British equivalent of the Ford Model-T, only smaller. And the roadster Nippy was even more so. The seller has a very presentable 1935 edition of the Nippy available in Corning, California and here on craigslist for $18,000. Ikey Heyman never disappoints in finding these little treasures for us!

Unlike many of the small-batch sports-car builders in England prior to World War II, Austin was a major British automaker. Yet they somehow found time to create a little roadster from their Austin 7, making less than 700 of them between 1934-37. They weighed little more than 1,000 lbs. and were powered by a 749cc 4-cylinder Austin engine with a 4-speed manual that could propel the little cars up to 65 mph. Historians believe that only 225 or about one-third of the Nippy’s still exist, with few of them in the U.S. like the seller’s car. They are so rare that you could go to car show after car show and not see one.

The seller says his black on black 1935 edition is clean and in good running order. It’s not spent most of its life in a garage or on a trailer but driven whenever possible. From the photos provided, it looks rust and damage-free and a car that you could start driving immediately upon taking possession. We’re told that the mechanical brakes “actually do stop,” which must be an issue with these small British cars. The seller says it comes with its original window side-screens that would further add to the car’s rarity. The paint, convertible top, and interior are all up to snuff, as best we can tell. It has a new battery (6-volt) and electric fuel pump (surely a modern upgrade). The seller has priced his Nippy at about half of what a similar one was going for in the Classic Cars story referred to above.


  1. MattR Member

    I came in behind Ikey again! I love this. It looks like a shorty MG TD and must be a hoot at only 1000 lbs. Poking around, they appear to have quite a following… there are good engine and interior pics to be found here:

    Like 2
    • Ace

      1000 lbs — awesome!!! A Bantam weight.
      My Elva weighed 1400 pounds. If I didn’t like the way she was parked at the kerb all I had to do was get out, release the handbrake and push her about.

  2. Skorzeny

    I have never heard of these, but how can you go wrong with a car named ‘Nippy’. That is about the best car name ever!! I think this would be a blast. 65 mph in this must feel like 130.

    Like 4
    • Mr.BZ

      Yep, HP is great but there is a lot to be said about the go-cart factor!

      Like 1
  3. Derek

    They’re nice wee cars. “Nippy” can also mean quick, or brisk-accelerating. I’ve a feeling that these had pressure-fed crankshafts instead of the usual splash-and-hope!

    Like 5
  4. BlondeUXB Member

    Roots of American Austin (Bantam) built under license…

    Like 2
    • Pete Starkey

      All British I assure you not a Bantam!

  5. John Holden

    Russ, actually ‘nippy’s’ first meaning is agile, lithe, sprightly; second meaning is brisk, chilly, as you note.

    Like 2
  6. Robert Park

    I live 12 miles from Corning. More then happy to inspect for interested buyers! :)

  7. Brian M Member

    Lots of early British cars had electric fuel pumps, made by SU or AC depending on application. The SU versions that I am familiar with would have to have the points dressed periodically to keep them operating. In some cases “Not making them like they used to” can be a good thing.

    Like 1
  8. Lowell Peterson

    At least you can’dress the points’ instead of hitching a ride to auto parts to replace the throwaway junk they sell to replace with!! Kool interesting reasonably priced! Whats not to like.

    Like 3
    • TouringFordor

      And you can replace the fuel pump without dropping the fuel tank.

      Like 2
  9. Paul R.

    So , I guess you could say, Nippy is Zippy.

    Like 1
  10. 9K2164S

    I’m most impressed by the three “keyhole” lug holes in the Austin’s wheels. The lugs only need to loosen a little bit for the wheel to fall off.

    Like 1
  11. hatofpork

    One could use this Nippy to “nip ’round the corner for a tin of Spam”. Beautiful example of what must be a highly enjoyable drive.

  12. Keith Scott

    My uncle owned one of these, remember flying around London as a kid in it. Sweet little car.

  13. R. Masters

    I have one 1936 it’s a lot of fun and a good looking little sports car..
    best of all, you can take them indoors and wash them in the sink.
    RPM. Uk

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