Meeting Chris Gould for the first time, he was hard at work on the orange TT Ulster Replica he had been campaigning at Wiscombe the weekend before, where it had developed a misfire. At a tea break, he showed me his ringbinder files on Nippies, full of many years of correspondence from other owners moving towards some small part of the holy grail of a perfectly restored car – or perhaps getting one back on the road. Another ringbinder was full of engineers drawings of parts he had come across in passing, that might be useful, many of which worked their way into Chris’s book on 65 and Nippy details.
I’d dropped in to see some PLC switch spares to build up my confidence in order to open up mine. A large, labelled, cardboard box held all manner of them, with a gadget designed to assist its opening developed with friend Peter Wooldridge; other measured sketches of re-makeable parts; a few tools left therein required for their so doing. A treasure trove of learning.
Chris bought and restored his first Nippy at 24 and still owns it. He is about to embark on its restoration over 50 years later after many years on display at Bentley Motor Museum.
His natural ability to develop ideas has lead to the making of moulds for the fibreglass bodies for some 80 Austin Ulster recreations for the short chassis. From these moulds developed a buck for alloy bodies which are made for Chris by Rod Yates in East Sussex. Rod also produces his own long chassis Ulsters from his own buck.
As well as recreations, the Epsom is his most recent creation (above), using the Big 7 chassis; a small coupe which could easily have passed for another of Austin’s pre-war range. Some 20 Imps have also come into being. A nicely proportioned design with little touches of Ulster, Grasshopper and Speedy and built to use the Ruby (long) chassis. As he pointed out “It is designed as a cheap alternative to a Nippy, but has more room. It is also much cheaper to make than an Ulster replica as it doesn’t need lots of special parts. They are nearly all standard Ruby.”
The first Elf is also in progress with a customer. I had wondered what the visual difference might be and the back, Nippyesque and with an external wheel mount, contrasts very well with the aerodynamic rear wings.
What will be next, I wonder? (In addition to that Nippy restoration which will no doubt benefit from the experience of all those years helping others to do it properly).
publications by Chris Gould:
A Guide to Building Reproduction Austin Seven Ulsters
A Guide to Building Austin Seven IMP and ELF Specials
A Guide to the Austin “65” and Nippy
Basic Fitting for Austin Seven Restorers
Contact him directly for details of books or cars on: gould323 (at) btinternet.com or 01903 233255