An Austin Anthology by James ‘Jim’ Stringer is an entertaining collection of true stories that feature just a few of the products manufactured by the Austin Motor Company from 1906 until the outbreak of the Second World War, including the people who helped to make them, those who drove them, and even those who flew them. Although the history of the Austin Seven and Taxicabs have been covered before in much greater detail elsewhere, you will find within these pages the stories of many other Austin creations: the Austin 12/6 which could be won by smoking Kensitas cigarettes; the Austin 20 which competed in the 1914 Austrian Alpine Trial; the remarkable racing car named ‘Pobble’ which went on to serve as an ambulance during the First World War, and the Australian couple who, in 1926, decided to drive their Austin […]
Let’s look at Minis. Our Video of the Week this week is a brief history of the Mini Cooper. And in this case, we mean the class Mini Cooper, not the more modern version from BMW. The video comes from the guys over at Donut Media and is, shall we say, irreverent. To quote Donut: It’s the most Iconic British car of all time: The Mini. It was an engineering marvel that revolutionized economy car design and became a motorsport legend along the way. Join us as we explore the Mini’s rich history and design quirks that made it one of the best selling cars in the U.K.
Warwickshire-based auction house, Classic Car Auctions (CCA), will present 160 classic cars spanning 72 years of motoring history at its festive December Sale at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on Saturday 2nd December. Bidders will be spoilt for choice with the huge variety of quality ‘everyman’ classics on offer, including 17 BMWs, 14 Fords, 12 Mercedes-Benz, 11 Jaguars, eight Volkswagens, seven Triumphs and even a Porsche tractor.
Our video this week is a bit different, as is the car in focus. This week we are featuring the Nash Metropolitan which many do not even consider to be a British car. In that aspect, it may have been years ahead of its time because it prompts us to ask, again, what is a British car? We start with a 1954 filmstrip for dealers ‘The Inside Story of the Metropolitan‘. The Metropolitan was also sold as a Hudson when Nash and Hudson merged in 1954 to form the American Motors Corporation (AMC), and later as a standalone marque during the Rambler years. Additionally, it was actually sold in the United Kingdom and some markets under the Austin brand.
For students of the history of Jaguar Cars, a book written by Chris Cowin, first 2012 and republished 2014 may be of interest. The book, British Leyland: Chronicle of a Car Crash 1968-1978 is simply packed with interesting history. This is the comprehensive story of a collection of once great and diverse British industries, primarily automotive, and their slow but relentless move toward destruction with only a few surviving pieces, Jaguar and Land Rover. For Jaguar only followers much of this book may be irrelevant as it deals in great detail about the downward spiral of the largest indigenous British car companies beginning about 1968 but this date is approximate.
Our Thanksgiving Video of the Week (VotW) comes to us by way of the fine Canadian folks of Men & Motors. Titled “Classic British Cars in America”, this is obviously a subject we can all be thankful for. In this video from just over three years ago, the M&M folks make their way to English Motors in Macomb, Michigan, which I believe is now closed, to look at some great British cars and talk about the fascination Americans have with them. Adrian Bell is in Detroit, Michigan talking about classic British cars. He meets British car enthusiast Sue Snyder who shows him her 1980 MG MGB which she has owned since it was new, plus Don Ensloe shows Adrian around his car garage which specialises in maintaining and restoring British cars for their American owners.
The world’s largest museum devoted to Austin cars will soon be auctioned in Denmark. Alongside 47 cars, it also features over 3,000 related items, including books, posters, signs, toy cars, die-casts and other rare automobilia. Stefan Wolffbrandt began the collection in 1985 after he acquired his first car; an 1957 Austin A30, which he saved from the junkyard and restored on a shoestring. This ignited his passion for the brand and he went on to collect further Austin models, in particular A30’s and A35’s, while pursuing his career as a successful rock musician.
The 54th National Austin 7 Rally takes place at Beaulieu on Sunday 3rd July and holds one of the longest unbroken runs for a one-marque club using the same venue for its annual event. For one enthusiast the event will mark a particularly significant milestone. Bertie Fowler, who bought his first Austin 7 in 1966, will be attending his 50th rally. He purchased the 1936 ‘Nippy’ (one of the relatively few production sports models that Austin made) at the age of 19, negotiating the £90 deal in darkness by the Derby Grandstand at Epsom racecourse. It was, he says, ‘the best buy I ever made’. Years of happy motoring followed, even in the face of what Bertie describes as ‘the usual Nippyisms’ of the doors flying open when negotiating fast corners. The car came off the road in 1976 and […]
The British Motor Corporation’s (BMC) 1100 and 1300 model range was amongst the most successful in the Corporation’s history, selling more than 2.1 million of all types between its introduction in 1962 and its demise in 1974. Worldwide, the BMC 1100 was sold under eight different marque names and in two-door saloon, four-door saloon, two-door estate, and five-door hatchback forms – and very nearly as a van as well. In Britain, it was the country’s best-selling car between 1962 and 1971, being beaten just once (in 1967) by the Ford Cortina. The BMC 1100 and 1300: An Enthusiasts Guide by James Taylor looks at the design and development of a model range that at the time confirmed BMC as a pioneer of new automotive ideas and had a profound impact on other manufacturers. It covers not only the full standard […]
Classic Car Auctions (CCA) will be offering a unique opportunity to own a ‘brand new’ 1983 Austin Metro Vanden Plas 500 in its sale at CarFest South on 29th August. The car, offered without reserve, has covered just 741 miles and had just one registered owner since new, forming part of the famous and historic Patrick Collection housed in Birmingham. Very few Vanden Plas Metros remain on the road, and this rare car, the second of only 500 built, is believed to be one of only five left in the UK.
‘Well, I have never seen one of those!’ was possibly the most-repeated phrase heard at the 53rd National Austin 7 Rally held at Beaulieu on 5th July. With a theme of ‘Austin 7s and their Cousins’ the event attracted a unique collection of vehicles that came from as far away as France and Germany to join in this most popular of annual events. Alongside dozens of the more familiar home-produced Austins were rarities from BMW Dixi, Rosengart and Holden – all owing their heritage to the genius of Sir Herbert Austin and his designers who produced the first Austin 7 model in 1922. The car went on to become ‘the motor for the millions’ and nowadays is one of the best-loved of pre-war classics.
British comedy, who doesn’t love it? Well, maybe a few people don’t, but there is no accounting for them. From Monty Python and Fawlty Towers to Graham Norton and Wallace and Gromit, British comedy just seems to hit the funny bone of those of us with British cars head on. So, in the vein of British humor, or Video of the Week, VotW, this time is an ad for British Leyland by “The Two Ronnies“. The Two Ronnies wass a BBC television comedy sketch show created by Bill Cotton for the BBC, which aired on BBC1 from 1971 to 1987. It featured the double act of Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, the “Two Ronnies” of the title. The advertisement for the Austin Morris range of cars, including the Mini, the Marina, and the Allegro, is titled ‘The Great Range’ and […]
I have to admit it, I am a die-hard fan for the BMC 1100 family of cars. Say what you want about the British Motor Corporation, BMC, and its later incarnation BLMC, British Leyland Motor Corporation, these were innovative cars. This includes the MG1100 Sports Sedan, MG 1300, Austin America, Morris 1100, Vanden Plas Princess and even Wolseleys! To that end I want to call your attention to the fantastic site by my friend Todd Miller at AustinAmericaUSA.com. Not only does he have repair information, historical details, and an Austin America registry, but he also has reproduced some hard to find parts such as rubber vent window inserts. Oh, and want something really wild? He has been in personal contact with Dr. Alex Moulton, the inventor of the revolutionary hydrolastic suspension system used in these cars. Some of the emails […]