1948 Austin 16
Lovely old Austin in regualr use; lusty 2.2 ohv engine; last owner 21 years
First registered in May 1948, this charming Austin 16 comes with very little history but you can bet that the first owner was both well-connected and well-heeled because new cars were extremely hard to get hold of in post-war Britain, the vast bulk of production being reserved for the vital export markets.
Our vendor acquired the car earlier this year from a lady in Mold who had owned it for 21 years. Nine old MOTs on file show that the car had been in light regular use, the mileage going from 26,931 in 1993 to 39,488 in 2001 when it got parked up. Our vendor recommissioned the car and has been using it regularly, adding another 1,000 miles to the odometer which now shows 40,484 miles. He reports that it drives nicely with all the instruments working as they should.
A really handsome looking car with a nice original interior, it looks very presentable as it is although there are a couple of areas of paintwork that could do with some attention, as shown in the photos.
Launched in 1945, the Austin 16hp was the first 'new' car to be produced by the Austin Motor Company following the Second World War.
Apart from the name, it shared nothing with the pre-war Austin 16. This was the largest of the Austin saloon car range, the body style being similar to the other smaller Austin saloons of the time featuring the American-influenced front grille and high-mounted headlamps. Unusually an estate car version was also available, although not many of these were built. The four-door body had a sliding sunshine roof and a split rear window giving an upmarket feel to an otherwise conservatively styled car.
Power came from a brand new 4-cylinder 2,199cc, overhead-valve engine – the first to be used in an Austin car and which went on to see service in vehicles as diverse as the London taxi and the Healey 100/4. A commendably torquey unit that was excellent for towing, it produced 67bhp at 3,800rpm and endowed the car with a healthy turn of speed for its day, topping out at 75mph. Transmission was via a conventional 4-speed gearbox and steering was by a cam-and-lever system with a clever dual ratio to make parking easier. Apart from the engine, the 16 shared a number of other features with the famed London taxi, including the built-in hydraulic jacking system operated from a pump located under the bonnet.
In the bitterly cold winter of 1947, Alan Hess and a team of drivers with three Austin 16s undertook a publicity run on behalf of the Austin Motor Company to visit seven Northern European capitals in seven days. Despite extraordinary travel difficulties caused by heavy snow, the vehicles all completed the adventure successfully, as related in Alan Hess's book, ‘Gullible's Travels’.
By chance, the one millionth Austin produced was an Austin 16 BS1 Saloon, built on 25th June 1946, which was painted gold and signed by all the Austin workers. This historic car is currently displayed in the British Motor Industry Heritage Museum at Gaydon. A very successful model, some 35,434 examples were sold before production came to an end in 1949, although survivors are now rare and sought after.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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