Sid Hamblin was a proficient panel beater based in Dorset who fashioned an aluminum body for installation on an Austin Seven chassis in 1956. The design was attractive and the mechanicals were plentiful and inexpensive to obtain so Hamblin decided to offer the body for sale as a kit.
The Hamblin Deluxe was launched in 1957 with an aluminum body designed for the later 81-inch Austin chassis but he could adapt the body for use with the shorter, earlier version or for use with a Ford 88-inch chassis. The kit was comprised of 19 aluminum panels with pre-drilled flanges that could be assembled in little time. An owner need only have fabricated floorpans and a backrest to finish the vehicle. Despite the high quality of the package and a display at the Super Accessories show in Bromley there were few takers for the kits and it was withdrawn from sale in the fall of 1957 with only a dozen sold.
Undeterred from the failure of the Deluxe, Hamblin fashioned another body for use with the Austin 7 and this attempt – the Hamblin Cadet – was much more successful. With a very low price – among the lowest on the market – the fiberglass-bodied cadet resembled a Ferrari 166 or 2-seat grand prix car. The body could be adapted for use with the Morris Eight and Fiat 500 (among others) and the more sporting nature of the body appealed to potential buyers.
The Hamblin Cadet was sold in two series – the latter marked by integrated rear fenders – and more than 200 were produced. By 1960, Hamblin had moved on to other endeavors leaving the cars largely forgotten today.
By Johnny Oversteer