The Beginning    

     Pre World War 1

     The War Years   

The following pages are a transcript from the "AUSTIN - 50 years of car progress" booklet. It was published by The Austin Motor Company Limited in 1955 and is Publication No. 1235.

     Between the Wars

     World War 2

     Post War

     Facts & Figures



Herbert AUSTIN, the founder of the Austin Motor Company, was born at Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire, on November 8th, 1866.


At the age of sixteen he went to Australia and first joined an uncle who was Works Manager of a Melbourne general engineering firm. During the following years he worked with six different engineering companies until, soon after his twenty-seventh birthday, he was asked by Frederick Wolseley, by whom he was then employed, to return to Birmingham, England, to supervise the manufacture of sheep shearing equipment. He accepted, and the firm prospered.


In 1895 he built, as an experiment, a tiller-steered three wheeler car. A second followed in 1896 and this was exhibited at the Crystal Palace.


The experiments continued and in 1900 he built and entered for the Automobile Club of Great Britain 1,000 Mile Trial, a four wheeler, with a horizontal single cylinder engine. It won first prize. In 1901 the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company was founded at Adderley Park, Birmingham, and Herbert Austin was installed as Manager. Under his direction Wolseley cars of the next few years won international renown, but in the early summer of 1905 he resigned and looked around for somewhere to start on his own.


After numerous exploratory cycle rides all round Birmingham, he came to Longbridge, seven miles out of the city. There he found a small derelict printing works, which proved to be just what he wanted. Friends came forward with financial help and the Austin Motor Company was born.


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