The Austin 8 was a small car made by the Austin Motor Company. It was launched in 1939 and produced into the war, at least until 1942. The majority of the wartime Austin 8 models were two-seater Tourer's produced for the military and government; but some saloons were made. After World War II the model was made from 1945 to 1947.
By the late 1930s, sales of Austin's big seller, the Austin 7, were declining and the 1938 addition to the range of the 900 cc "Big 7" did little to fill the demand for in spite of its larger engine its suspension and handling were still rooted in its early 1920s origins. A restyled and re-engineered range of cars had started to appear in 1937 with the Cambridge 10 with its much more streamlined look and with the shake up following the arrival of Leonard Lord development of a proper 8hp car was accelerated.
The new car, which was shown to the dealers in February 1939 kept the 900 cc, four cylinder, side valve engine from the Big 7, now with a higher 6.5:1 compression ratio, but had a completely new chassis. This was halfway to full unitary construction in that the main member was a pressed steel floor pan with a box section welded down each side of the car with three others going across the floor. The body was then bolted to this structure. Suspension was by semi elliptic leaf springs with hydraulic dampers.
Two and four door saloon bodies were made as well as two and four seat Tourer's and about 20,000 were made before war closed production. In 1945 production restarted but there were no more Tourer's or two door saloons.