Sir Herbert Austin

A little early Austin History

In 1905, following a series of design disagreements with the Board of Directors, Herbert Austin left the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Co. Ltd., where he had been Chief Designer, to establish his own motor car manufacturing business.

Having set up the Austin Motor Company (not to be confused with the American Austin Automobile Company) and found suitable premises at Longbridge, some seven miles from Birmingham, he set about designing and building his first vehicle – a 25-30hp car with a four-cylinder engine, chain driven transmission and four forward gears.  The first prototype took to the road in April 1906 and 23 cars are understood to have been sold in that first year of production – the Austin empire was up and running!

A series of vehicles ranging between 10 and 40hp followed in the years prior to WW1 at which point production was inevitably disrupted and the Longbridge factory got on with the business of producing munitions and a wide range of military equipment, including armoured cars and aircraft.

As the end of the war approached Austin’s mind once again turned to the business of car production which resulted, in early 1919, in the emergence of the Austin 20, a large, 3.5 litre, four-cylinder vehicle which apparently owed much in its design to the Hudson Super Six, an example of which Herbert Austin had run during the latter part of the war years.  The ‘Twenty’ along with the four-cylinder ‘Twelve’, which entered production in 1921, and the diminutive ‘Seven’, which first saw the light of day two years later, were to lay the foundations for the company’s success in the inter-war years. Joined by a six cylinder version of the Twenty in 1927 and the smooth running 16/6 the following year, the range continued in production well into the next decade.


A resource for owners of the 'unbreakable' Austin