General Manager of the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company, Herbert Austin set the Birmingham firm on the road to motor manufacture in 1896 when he designed its first automobile, a twin-cylinder tri-car. The first production Wolseley though, was four-wheeled and, like Austin's 1896 prototype, carried its single cylinder engine horizontally. Wolseley's directors did not share Austin's belief in the horizontal engine's virtues however, and he departed in 1905 to set up his own company at nearby Longbridge. Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, the first Austin cars were powered by conventional inline fours with side valves arranged in 'T-head' fashion. Chain drive was a feature of these early Austins but was supplanted by shaft drive within a few years. As well as the fours, Austin also marketed a single-cylinder model and a few sixes prior to WWI. After the war's end the range reverted to four-cylinder models only and there would be no more six-cylinder Austins until the late 1920s. First shown in 1926, Austin's new six was built initially in 20hp (3,400cc) and 16hp (2,249cc) versions. The Sixteen shared its chassis with the Heavy 12/4, from which it was distinguished by the 'Austin Six' script on the radiator and wire wheels, the latter introduced for 1928. Small-capacity sixes were much in vogue in the early 1930s, Austin's offering - the Light 12/6 - appearing in 1931. The Light Six used what was essentially the same chassis as the contemporary 12/4 and was made in two engine sizes: 1,496cc (13.9hp) and 1,711cc (15.9hp) both of which placed it well outside its target 12hp taxation class. The Harley saloon on the Light Six chassis is notable as the first Austin with an all-steel body, while alternative styles included two- and four-seat tourers, a fabric-bodied saloon and the Ascot saloon with projecting boot. The Light Six was restyled along with the rest of the range for 1935, gaining smoother, more modern lines and a painted radiator shell. Production ceased in 1937. This Austin Light 12/6 with Newbury tourer coachwork comes with a letter from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust confirming that it was fitted from new with the 15.9hp engine. Fully restored circa 2007, the car comes with photographs and a description of work carried out together with some bills. Also on file are various invoices relating to restoration work undertaken from the 1980s onwards, together with owners' club correspondence, etc. Described as in generally excellent condition, 'ADT 261' is offered with current MoT/tax and Swansea V5 registration document. Rugged and dependable, these 1930s Austins are among the easiest of contemporary cars to own and maintain and are supported by an enthusiastic owner's club.
The registration number for this vehicle is APT 361, not as catalogued.