1947 Austin Eight Saloon
Retrimmed and repainted in the late 1990s; recent mechanical overhaul; very smart all round
A successor to the immortal Seven, the Austin Eight was another excellent little car but had the misfortune to be launched in early 1939, just a few months before Hitler invaded Poland and sparked off a chain of events that would soon turn every car plant into a munitions factory. However, military staff still needed to get about, so while most of the Longbridge works was swiftly turned to war production, a steady stream of Eights also continued to roll from the gates.
Keeping the 900cc, four-cylinder, side-valve engine from the Big 7, now with a higher 6.5:1 compression ratio, the Eight 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 and three others going across the floor. The body was then bolted to this structure. Suspension was by semi-elliptic leaf springs with hydraulic dampers, allied to Girling drum brakes all round and a four-speed manual gearbox. Top speed was a respectable 60mph.
Styling was by Ricardo ‘Dick’ Burzi, recently poached from Lancia, and was influenced by the 1938 Buick range with a rounded front-end with horizontal slats and a novel alligator bonnet. Almost 30,000 were made, mainly for military and government use, before production ceased in 1942, split roughly half-and-half between saloons and tourers. Production resumed from late 1945 until 1947, but only in four-door six-light saloon form. Costing £132 pre-war and £326 when post-war taxes were added, the Eight was a great success and another 36,000 examples were sold.
First registered in June 1947, this very late Austin Eight has had just five owners according to the V5C and was reputedly retrimmed and repainted in the late 1990s. In October 2012 it was treated to a bout of mechanical fettling by Available Austins of Coventry with a bill on file for £2,750. This included four new tyres, a new exhaust, brake overhaul, full service and an engine decoke resulting in good 108 ft/lb compressions on all cylinders.
The current owner acquired the car via Brightwells in 2014 and has improved it still further, including a new clutch kit, timing chain, bottom pulley, battery and flashing indicators. Since then it has been only lightly used, flying through its MOT just before the auction with no advisories recorded.
As you can see in the photos, it remains in very good order throughout and has been starting promptly and running beautifully as we have moved it around on site with good oil pressure. Two old MOTs show that it has only covered some 200 miles since 2011 and it also comes with a good selection of handbooks and service manuals and a useful assortment of spares to keep it in good order for many years to come.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
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