a 1928 austin 7 "chummy" (model ad tourer) she was first registered in new zealand in 1928 & sold, "new zealand new", by p. h. vickery ltd, of invercargill, who had become a licensed austin dealer in 1919.
happy spent all her time in & around the invercargill area
before coming to live in christchurch in 1999.
sadly I can't fill in all her history but she's had a colourful past :-
stan skeggs (c. age 15) bought her c. late 1950's for 20 pounds - at the time she was in good condition & had her original green with black wings colouring.
stan, a painter/panelbeater, changed her to zenith blue with black wings
& put a "funny face" sticker on the rear window.
she was frequently pushed up & down their drive by his younger brothers,
maurice & lex.
one day, c. 1959, when maurice was 7 & being pushed down the drive, he switched her ignition on & she crash started taking off into the road.
he swerved to the right & had an accident, luckily causing no damage to maurice,
but leading to stan having to get a new hood made.
this escapade led to a story in the southland times
about "new zealand's youngest driver".
coincidentally maurice later started a business called "happy motors"
which is still going today.
after being sold to another vintage enthusiast in the late '60's
she was resold to leo sexton, also of invercargill.
leo was, by all accounts, a colourful character himself - an irish catholic signwriter who had her fully restored & allowed himself to be convinced by his spaypainter that "torana green" (a.k.a. barbados green) would make her stand out.
leo, showing no signs of religious ill will, chose orange carpet to compliment her style.
his children fondly recall doing many riverton rallies in her.
in 1999 she found a new caretaker in don mackenzie,
coming up to live in christchurch with 5 other assorted austin 7's.
she was trucked up, taken for a quick rally to methven with the vintage austin register, & then placed on blocks for the next 12 years, being turned over once a month.
i bought her in 2011, based on a passion for chummies since I was a wee lad,
with zero experience of vintage cars mixed with an equal amount of mechanical knowledge.
i put water, petrol & a new battery in her & then drove her from one side of the city to the other - quite the experience on earthquake ravaged roads - to a mechanic who immediately certified her as roadworthy.
she's since travelled many miles bringing smiles to most who see her,
hence me naming her "happy"
(& adding the "sexy suzie the sensible duck" mascot.)
"reflections of a duck" - sexy suzie's shadow on a neighbouring austin 7 during the 2013 "austins over the plains" rally celebrating the 90th anniversary of both the 7 & 12/4.
pic courtesy of wayne stocks
is 2.8m long x 1.17m wide
& will comfortably seat a large adult passenger in the front & 2 average sized adults snugly in the rear.
she has no seat belts or
- 'tis more fun turning with hand signals -
& has only a small storage trunk on the rear carrier.
hood up & windows in she protects from the brunt of the weather however she is definitely not sealed like a modern car.
success! - day 2 in the siege of worsley rd hill (which has a particularly long steep part) after a most ignomonious retreat on day 1 involving theatrics, contortionism & borderline acrobatics. thankfully those who witnessed day 1 shall remain nameless & hopefully didn't take photos.
pffffff who needs muscle cars when a mountain goat is needed?
sadly the initial reason for the first assault was to stare lovingly at the alps in the distance, day 2's success was marred by poor view.
p.s. reverse gear was NOT used in the victory!
happy - media star
.... winston aldworth's story in the nz herald
.... a 6 minute piece filmed by drew & clint(the videography team off one of the cruise ships.)
"ever since happiness heard your name,
it has been running through the streets trying to find you."
hafiz of persia