1934 RALEIGH SUPER SEVEN
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1934 Raleigh Super Seven Safety
While the article describes a Super Safety Seven, it is not the automobile featured in our photographs, but does serve as an accurate representation of the Seven series.
The photographs were taken at the Small Wonders Micro/Mini Car Museum located in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
It is part of Ken and Sylvia Weger's extensive collection.
Phone : 815-236-1650
Raleigh Super Safety Seven (1934)
By: Robert Sherston
According to owner Martin Strange, his Raleigh Safety Seven could be the most ironically named car of all time. “It's a real death-trap. I've lifted a rear wheel just going gently 'round a corner, and the steering column is 1/2” of solid steel. If you have any kind of crash, you are going to have a lance straight through your chest.” Safety was obviously less of a concern to his grandfather Charles, who bought the car new in 1935 for 99 guineas. Launched two years previously by Raleigh, this three wheeled car was aimed at the family market and had a v-twin 742cc engine that drove the rear wheels by means of a driveshaft. Although sales were not bad, Raleigh soon decided that their future lay in bicycles, leaving their chief designer Tom Williams to depart and set up his own concern. His company – Reliant – went on to become world leaders in three-wheel car production.
Over the next few years Charles managed to put nearly 36,000 miles on the clock, mostly driving on short journeys near his home in Cirencester, but sometimes venturing further afield, “We have a picture of him and the car on the beach at Weston-super-Mare in about 1937, and there are stories of him going up Birdlip Hill in Gloucestershire in reverse gear, as it wouldn't make it in first.”
“In 1958, my grandfather had a big row with my grandmother about his driving capability, so he put it away in a garage made from old packing crates. We rescued it out of there in 1990, disturbed the fox that was living under its front wheels, and took it on a trailer to my home in Leicestershire, where I took it apart. Under all that dirt was pretty good metal – both the steel chassis and aluminum body were in quite good condition.”
Despite not having restored a car before, Martin did much of the work himself, including repainting the shell. For more specialized tasks, he looked to local experts. “I took all engine parts to a local firm to be re-machined, and another company did the upholstery and canvas roof. Finally in January 1998 it was ready to be driven to a local garage for its first ever MOT. Since then, it has been used sparingly. “I use it about once a year now – although you can't really drive it in any meaningful sense. The longest I have driven it as about 25 miles to a car show – and I didn't make it back. Otherwise it just sits tucked away on a trailer in the garage. There's no way I can sell it – it's now a family heirloom.”