Modern regulations have required retrofitting of rear reflectors and many fit two lamps either side of the number plate to better cope with modern traffic conditions. However, new cars were supplied with a single rear light; there were no attachments to the body itself, only the number plate frame.
Early factory pictures of the 65 are often left-hand drive, so the detail of the rear light is not relevant to the UK specification (or pertaining to the the earlier style of Austin 7 lighting pre-mid 1933).
Contemporary images suggest the “pork pie” light on the offside of the numberplate, and reproductions of the Lucas ST38 are still common today. Originally, two bulbs would have provided a rear light (with associated number plate illumination through the clear side lens) and a stop lamp.
What of the lens? There are three lenses commonly discovered today (from left to right below); the plastic ones marked ‘Butlers’; the P305; a Lucas smooth glass red lens, and the P305A which has a similar reverse, but is sharply ribbed.
The early Nippy images from the factory seem to suggest that the lens IS smooth, although this is an artist’s impression:
Likewise, some contemporary shots confirm the smooth lens was used in the mid 1930s:
Does anyone know when the ridged lights became available, or have a 1930s photograph of a Nippy/65 with them fitted? There seems to be another 305 lens – M – possibly with the ribs in a different direction.
The A7 Clubs Association archive has information from the Austin Factory records that seems to suggest BG158 from 1932, then BG197 from 1933/34. Can anyone interpret anything further from this?