Austin Seven Heads
Ludgate - design
(Top and bottom view)
(Featuring a two piece design)
Ludgate Head Design
Designer Albert Ludgate was a very innovative engineer who came to Australia from the U.K. after WW2 to settle in Adelaide where he soon became deeply involved in motor sport. He had previously worked for some years with LeaFrancis. He is remembered particularly for his involvement with the one-off Capricornia sports car and for his pioneering of the T/Q (three quarter) midget speedcar design, whereby went a lot of potential Austin Seven restoration projects.
The T/Q was a poor man's introduction to track racing based on a Seven chassis with standard (but suitably bent) axles and a variety of 500c.c. motor cycle engines driving through a gutted Seven gearbox using the dog "clutch" for go or stop. The cars performed very well and provided a lot of excitement for enthusiasts on low budgets for several years. A few survive as historics.
The head was another of Albert's brainchildren which he produced in small numbers for the Seven racing fraternity in the fifties and early sixties. As can be seen from the photos, the design featured sandwich construction, no doubt chosen for ease of casting as it eliminated the need for complicated and expensive cores. It would also have made it easier to maintain correct thickness of material and a clean water space. The combustion chamber was basically late model Seven and enthusiasts often modified the shape to their own requirements. There was also a very neat four branch water manifold which attached to the bosses visible in the photo. The two halves were held together by the normal head studs with a gasket between them, and the water manifold by two quarter inch screws at each connection, coming up through the top half from the water space.
The heads were used by many well known Seven racers including Garrie Cooper of Elfin sports/racing cars fame. Several years before he died, Albert told me he had made a total of thirty one heads, but I believe that more were made subsequently from his patterns. The heads are now quite rare and desirable.
Photographs by Bruce White and article by Ron Burchett
Photographs shown here are of new castings being produced in South Australia from the originals