Saturday, December 7, 2013

AUSTIN - The small car pioneer


Herbert Austin (1866 - 1941) , was chief engineer at Wolseley Tool & Motor Company where we successfully developed smaller car. Unable to convince the management for manufacture of small cars, he left Wolseley.

In 1905, he created Austin Motor Company to design and manufacture cars.

A 1907 Austin 30hp car -




Austin Motor Company was manufacturing luxury as well as sports cars.

In 1922, Austin introduced the most famous car of all - Austin 7 , also known as the "Baby Austin". This car was made with a 700 cc engine to beat the RAC tax which was based on engine capacity.


The Austin 7 was manufactured across the world , under license - by BMW as Dixi, in Japan as Datsun, in France as Rosengart and in the US as American Bantam.

In 1952 , Austin Motor Company and its major rival Morris Motor Company were merged to form the British Motor Corporation (BMC). Austin and Morris continued as separate brands

Renowned automobile engineer , Sir Alec Issigonis was recruited in to BMC to design a small car for BMC in response to the fuel shortages sparked off by Suez canal crisis. In 1959, BMC introduced the most famous car , the Mini - first as Morris Mini and later as Austin Mini.




In 1961, Sir Alec Issigonis and John Cooper of Cooper Car Company converted the Mini to a performance car and was born the Mini Cooper.

A 1963 Austin Mini Cooper -




By 1966 , British Motor Corporation changed as British Motor Holdings (BMH) and in 1969 merged with Leyland Motors to form British Leyland Motor Corporation.

By 1969, the Austin Maxi was introduced -





In 1981, in a financial restructuring , the Austin and Rover brands were merged  to form the Austin Rover group (ARG) and later as Rover group when British Leyland was renamed as Rover.



A 1984  Austin Rover Montego -




This car was sold in India as Rover Montego by Sipani Motors




The Austin/Rover/Morris/Mini brands went through a series of mergers and changed many hands , some of which were British Aerospace, BMW, Ford, MG , Nanjing Automobiles.

Currently the Austin/Rover brands are with Tata Motors and Mini brand with BMW.

The Austin logos -