The earliest Nippys – 65s in all but name

My pencil notes show the earliest steel body Nippy as body number 358, chassis 196018. Similarly, the last body number recorded on the Survivors Register for a 65 is about 337, although there are a few cars after that without a body number recorded. Conversely Nippy 196251 is also recorded as having an alloy body.

NippyoffsiderearThis car, 19627X, registered late June 1934 and owned since the 1960s and with good provenance, appears to be a very late Type 65. The buff log continuation book lists it as a ’65’ Sports; it has aluminium bodywork, Bluemels 4 spoke steering wheel, no sidelights and a vacuum wiper.

Several aluminium bodies are in use on chassis which are evidently much newer, suggesting rebodying has taken place at some point. This body number, significantly, is 368, which means it is technically in Nippy production but one of those very early re-named cars using up stocks of older 65 parts.

Has anyone got evidence of a later ‘cusp’ car, i.e. still with 65 equipment?

Or indeed, evidence of an earlier steel body number than 358?

The owner is in North London and trying hard to get it back on the road after 20 years in boxes, if anyone is nearby and can offer help or encouragement…

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3 thoughts on “The earliest Nippys – 65s in all but name

  1. Do you think that this categorising difficulty might be because ‘Nippy’ started as an unofficial nickname for the Type 65, that started to be applied officially around the time the steel bodywork came in? Was a name change strictly coincided by Austin with production changes, or is it that, as most of the production falls in one or other of those categories, it’s become an established way for us to differentiate between them in retrospect?

    Perhaps the reality was a more haphazard process, since the production of the earlier and later types was clearly side by side at one point. If people had been calling Type 65s “Nippy”, perhaps Austin were not strictly differentiating between the two either – it was just one model with alternate names as far as they were concerned. Consequently, some of these ‘cusp’ period cars don’t fit into the categories strictly by date or production order, but only by specification.

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  2. If you look in my Nippy Guide you will see the latest aluminium bodied car that I had come across was chassis No 196251. It was a long time ago and I wasn’t aware of body numbers at the time. Someone was emigrating and a friend and I bought his large collection of bits. My friend had a steel bodied Nippy that he planned to race so he replaced the steel body with the lighter aluminium one. We resold the steel body with the remains of the 65 bits, though I think it may have had a Ruby frame as part of the kit.
    Since writing my book I now have a note that ED Waugh has a steel bodied Nippy with chassis No 196067. It is probably worth checking with him to see if this is correct.
    I agree with Paul Cuthill. Austin didn’t seem to know when to call the car 65 or Nippy. In one of their hand books they refer to the Nippy carburettor. In the next one they refer to the 65 carburettor and after that it was always the Nippy. I haven’t checked to see how that agrees with body material, though I believe it was about the time of the change.

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