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



On November 17th, 1905, the Motor Show opened at Olympia, and there Herbert Austin, complete with blue-prints, high hopes and enthusiasm, sought orders and got them. On paper the first Austin was described as a 25-30 h.p. high class touring model with a 4 inch bore and a 5 inch stroke, magneto and coil ignition, a four speed gearbox, and a chain driven rear axle. Only the highest class of materials would be used in its construction and the supervision during manufacture would be such as to secure the best results. It was expected that the first model would be delivered at the end of March, 1906, at a list price of 650.

Before March, 1906, the car was ready for trial and, driven by Herbert Austin himself, left the assembly shop, reached the road and made a very successful run.

Skilled workmen soon found their way to Longbridge and in the first full year 270 of them turned out 120 cars in the original 212 acre factory. Expansion and extensions followed and other cars were added to the range. Austin coachwork, with its large selection of Phaetons, Limousines and Landaulets, came to be admired and respected as much as the dependability of the chassis. Herbert Austin was thorough in everything. It is said of him at this time that he could do any job in his works, and that he knew the position of every machine.

In 1908 three special 100 h.p. racers were built and entered for the French Automobile Grand Prix. Two of the cars driven by J. T. C. Moore-Brabazon (now Lord Brabazon) and Dario Resta, came in fifteenth and sixteenth respectively, having put up a very creditable performance. At Brooklands a private sportsman, O. S. Thompson, driving a modified 25-30 h.p. Austin named '' Pobble,'' achieved consistent success. Other models did well in reliability trials and in the hands of the private motorists at home and overseas and the Austin reputation for dependability steadily grew.

By 1908 nearly 1,000 workers were employed and a night shift was found necessary. A single cylinder 7 h.p. car and a 15 h.p. Town Carriage were added to a range that now included 10, 15-24, 40 and 50 h.p. models and a 15-cwt. van. More additions were made to the factory and an output of 1,000 cars a year was planned.

The interests of the Company spread to industrial and marine engines and in 1912 Saunders of Cowes built a speed-launch powered by two Austin twelve cylinder vee engines of 380 h.p. each. Named Maple Leaf IV, this launch won the British International Trophy contest two years in succession and was credited with a speed of 5078 knots.

In 1913 a sturdy 2-3 ton lorry was produced which marked an excursion into yet another field. This vehicle had a 20 h.p. engine and employed many novel features including a twin bevel drive and an underslung rear axle. It was priced at 545 and a twenty seater coach on a similar chassis was available at 765.


1906 Austin 25/30 hp Endcliffe Phaeton  


1907 Austin 18/24 hp

1908 Austin 100 hp Racer

1910 Austin 7 hp - single cylinder

1910 Austin 40 hp Endcliffe


1910 Austin 18/24 hp Park Phaeton

1910 Austin 15 hp Westminister Landaulet

1910 Austin 15 hp Ascot

1911 Austin 18/24 hp Phaeton

1913 Austin 15 hp Levee Single Landaulet


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