1935 Austin 18/6 York
Recently restored at a cost of over £30,000; interesting history; a wonderful example of this spacious saloon
Although the first Austin car was marketed as early as 1906, it was not until the 1922 season that the company established itself as the number one player in the domestic car market. This was due largely to the phenomenal success of Austin's 7hp and 12hp models (the latter described by Georgano as ‘one of the hardest-wearing machines of all time’) which gained a reputation for utter dependability at an affordable price.
By 1932 they had been joined by two other outstanding models, the 16hp and the 18hp, particularly lively six-cylinder machines which were available in standard or long-wheelbase form with a choice of Westminster, Chalfont, York or Hertford saloon coachwork.
The York version, as here, was a six-light design on the extended chassis and featured a Pytchley sliding roof, low floor, wide doors, large windows and separately adjustable front seats. The 2.5-litre sidevalve straight-six was allied to four-speed manual transmission and made the York good for 65mph with 20mpg economy and effective four-wheel drum brakes.
First registered in June 1935, this 18/6 York reputedly spent its first 25 years as a private hire car which operated from Burrow Hill Garage in Chobham, Surrey. Unlike civilian cars, the York was allowed to work throughout the war (the buff logbook containing stamps from the Ministry of Fuel) and was only retired in 1960 as it was by then considered too old fashioned to earn a decent living as a hire car.
Tucked away in the back of the garage for the next five years, it was then acquired by a Robin Higgs of Woking who was to keep it for another 34 years but never drove it on the road, keeping it stored in his garage, as confirmed by correspondence on file. In 1999 he finally sold it to a David Kent who took it back to his farm in North Wales and also tucked it away for another seven years.
In 2006 he embarked on a body-off restoration which was to take three years and reputedly cost over £30,000 to complete and is documented by notes and a CD of images on file. The chassis was cleaned, rebushed and repainted, the back axle rebuilt, the brakes and steering fully overhauled and the wheels were rebuilt with stronger spokes to allow for use as a tow car.
The front axle and the engine were sent off to Available Austins of Coventry to be fully rebuilt, the axle getting new king pins, bearings, bushes and suspension components. The engine had new pistons, bearings, reground crank, con rods, camshaft and followers, timing chain, oil pump etc, the bill for this lot coming to some £7,750.
In addition it also received a recored radiator, new Zenith carburettor, stainless steel exhaust, new wiring harness, new lights and flashing indicators, rebuilt dynamo and a starter motor from a more modern Series Two Land Rover.
The bodywork was restored as required, the sliding sunroof being carefully rebuilt with new steel drainers in place of rubbers to prevent leaks. The whole car was then professionally repainted to a high standard in blue with black wings and the brightwork was replated.
The interior was retrimmed with new carpets and headlining and new seat covers, keeping the original leather underneath to allow for future renovation if desired.
In 2012, when the Austin had only covered 600 miles since the rebuild, Mr Kent was forced to sell the car due to relocation and it has had just two owners since, our vendor acquiring it in 2018. It has now done around 2,500 miles and is nicely run-in, being serviced annually in the current ownership and receiving new rear brake shoes, new HT leads and a rebuilt water pump. A useful quantity of running spares are included, along with an original Austin 18 handbook and parts catalogue.
No stranger to the local show circuit where it has won Pick of the Paddock and Best in Class, it remains in super condition today and has been starting promptly and running beautifully as we have moved it around on site with good 30psi oil pressure.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
Reg No: BXY430
Chassis Number: 41369/18
Engine Number: 1EE4937
Engine Size: 2510CC
Docs: V5C; buff logbook; 3 old MOTs; restoration invoices, photos and DVD; handbook; parts catalogue; Pitman Book of the Austin 12
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