Westrand Car Show - 1928 Austin 7 GE Sunshine Saloon

Austin 7 Sunshine Saloon

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The Austin 7 was a small British car built between 1922 and 1939. The first Saloon was built by The Gordon England Coachbuilders company and had a fabric body stretched onto a lightweight wooden frame which in turn was mounted to the chassis. The large windows were the inspiration for the name Sunshine

The seats, floorboards, scuttle and dashboard were all directly attached to the chassis. The wooden box frame was mounted in three places which allowed the entire body to be flexible enough to handle all road conditions.

Westrand Car Show - 1928 Austin 7 GE Sunshine Saloon
1928 Austin 7 GE Sunshine Saloon

Marques such as Rolls Royce, Bentleys, MG, Morris, Standard and Wolseley all at some stage used fabric bodies constructed by Gordon England. The French developed a technique known as Tôle Souplé whereby the matt finish of the fabric body could be polished up to shine as well as any metal body.

Following the success of the Sunshine and others Gordon England Coachbuilders relocated their factory to The Palace of Industry near the old Wembley Football Stadium. There they produced another popular model based on the Austin 7 – The Wembley.

There were problems with fabric bodies including rotting if not properly maintained and the chance of serious injury in the event of accident. Modern technology and thinner metal sheeting eventually lead to the demise of Fabric bodies.

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IMAGE ATTRIBUTION
Featured Image – 1928 Austin 7 GE Sunshine Saloon – Clive Barker [CC BY 2.0]
1928 Austin 7 GE Sunshine Saloon – Clive Barker [CC BY 2.0]
1929 Austin 7 GE Wembley Saloon – Clive Barker [CC BY 2.0]
1929 Austin 7 GE Wembley Saloon – Clive Barker [CC BY 2.0]       

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