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 CApricornia HistoriCAL MOTOR CLUB  Inc

 A collection of photos taken during 20th Anniversary Rally 

September 1999


1939  Austin  Tourer

Entry number 42  Bill and  Moya Crowhurst

The history of the Austin Motor Company is one checkered with upheaval and decline.  Despite its latter fall from grace, however, the Longbridge, England-based company began successfully enough in 1905, at a time of increasing interest from the general public in the so-called “horseless carriage.”  Between 1905 and the start of World War I in 1914, Austin made several hundred 5 litre, 4 cylinder models.  As the Great War began raging, Austin expanded its production, making everything from artillery to aircraft with great success.  At the close of the war, the company’s founder, Herbert Austin, began making vehicles to meet the public’s increasing demanding for affordable automobiles.  He adopted a “one-model” policy in 1919 and began manufacturing trucks, cars, and tractors, all with a 3620 cc 20 hp engine.  When sales failed to meet Herbert’s expectations, he developed a smaller, new model just in time for the Depression—the Austin 7.  Thanks to the Austin 7’s affordability, it helped to see the Austin car company successfully through the Great Depression. With World War II snapping at its heels, the car you’re looking at now—the Austin 10—emerged.

The Austin 10 was touted as being “typically Austin in Economy and Dependability” and “a masterpiece amongst light cars” for its “sparkling performance and superb appearance.”  It was offered in 2 models—a saloon car and an “open tourer,” which is the model of car featured here.  The open tourer promised, among other things, superb protection against inclement weather (with the top in place, of course!), the ultimate freedom to enjoy fair-weather touring, and both roominess and modern, sleek design.  In keeping with Austin’s single-model policy, the Austin 10 had a 4 cylinder engine which was described as “sturdy but lively—a power unit of advanced design.”  The Austin 10 brochure featured illustrations of a woman in a short dress and evening coat using the “easy and efficient jacking system,” stowing luggage in the ample boot, and eagerly inspecting the engine.  In this way, the Austin 10, like many other cars of its time, staked a claim as a car that was so easy to use, even a woman could understand it.  The Austin 10 saloon cars were available in 4 colors–Royal Blue, Maroon, Black, and Bluebird Blue—with the tourer being available in the same colors, minus, for some reason, Royal Blue.  Oddly enough, a brochure photo of the Austin 10 Open Tourer shows a black car with green upholstery, which was not an available option for any of the Austin 10 cars.  The Austin 10 Tourer could be purchased for 175 Pounds

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