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Austin 16 Saloon

Austin 16 Saloon

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Austin 16 SaloonAustin 16 SaloonAustin 16 SaloonAustin 16 SaloonAustin 16 Saloon
Austin 16 SaloonAustin 16 SaloonAustin 16 SaloonAustin 16 SaloonAustin 16 Saloon
Austin 16 SaloonAustin 16 Saloon
Lot number 82
Hammer value £8,200
Description Austin 16 Saloon
Registration ETM 608
Year 1946
Colour Black
Engine size 2,199 cc
Chassis No. BS13803
Engine No. 1B/4225

Launched in 1945, the Austin 16hp was the first 'new' car to be produced by the Austin Motor Company following the Second World War.

Apart from the name, it shared nothing with the pre-war Austin 16. This was the largest of the Austin saloon car range, the body style being similar to the other smaller Austin saloons of the time featuring the American influenced front grille and high mounted headlamps. Unusually an estate car version was also available, although not many of these were built. The four-door body had a sliding sunshine roof and a split rear window giving an upmarket feel to an otherwise conservatively styled car.

Power came from a brand new 4-cylinder 2,199cc, overhead-valve engine – the first to be used in an Austin car. A commendably torquey unit that was excellent for towing, it produced 67bhp at 3,800rpm and endowed the car with a healthy turn of speed for its day, topping out at 75mph. Transmission came from a conventional 4-speed gearbox to the rear axle and steering was by a cam-and-lever system which provided a dual ratio to ease parking. The car shared a number of features in common with the famed London Taxi, one of which was the built-in hydraulic jacking system operated from a pump located under the bonnet.

In the bitterly cold winter of 1947 Alan Hess and a team of drivers with three Austin 16hp cars undertook a publicity run on behalf of the Austin Motor Company to visit seven Northern European Capitals in seven days. Despite extraordinary travel difficulties caused by heavy snow, the vehicles completed the adventure successfully and the story is related in Alan Hess's book, Gullible's Travels.

By chance, the one millionth Austin produced was an Austin 16 BS1 Saloon, built on 25th June 1946, which was painted gold and signed by all the Austin workers. This historic car is currently displayed in the British Motor Industry Heritage Museum at Gaydon. A very successful car, some 35,434 examples were sold before production came to an end in 1949, although survivors are now rare and sought after.

This 16 was bought new in 1946 by the Scanes family of Luton and remained in their ownership until 2005 when it was acquired for the Stondon Collection. Grandfather Scanes drove the car up until his death in the early 1970s when it was shipped out to his son John in South Africa. Various bills detail its servicing life in Durban plus copies of the shipping dockets on the ‘Southampton Castle’ detailing a ‘package on wheels’ (the Austin).

The South African sun was kind to the body and chassis, but ruined the Austin’s paintwork and burnt the interior. In 1998, on its return to Britain, it was restored and won a couple of show trophies in 2000 and 2001 which are still in a box in the boot along with a quantity of useful spares. Also included with the sale are two buff logbooks, three old tax discs, five old MOTs and some original service manuals.

One of the smartest 16s we have ever seen, it should not take much to get it back on the road after its few years rest in the Stondon Museum.

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