• Manufacturer Austin Motor Company
  • Production 1939-1947
    56,103 made
  • Body style(s) 2 and 4-door saloon
    2 and 4 seat tourer
  • Successor Austin A30
  • Engine(s) 900 cc 4 cylinder side-valve
  • Transmission(s) 4-speed manual
  • Length 149 in (3785 mm)
  • Width 56 in (1422 mm)
  • Wheelbase 88 in (2235 mm)
  • Predecessor Austin Big 7

The history of the Austin 8


The Austin 8 was a small car made by the Austin Motor Company. Launched in 1939 and produced into the war (at least until 1942), about 9,000 of the wartime Austin 8 models were two-seater tourers produced for the military and government, and the rest were saloons. After World War II, the model was made from 1945 to 1947.
By the late 1930s, sales of Austin's big seller, the Austin 7, were declining and the 1938 addition to the range of the 900 cc "Big 7" did little to fill the demand for in spite of its larger engine its suspension and handling were still rooted in its early 1920s origins. A restyled and re-engineered range of cars had started to appear in 1937 with the Cambridge 10 with its much more streamlined look and with the shake up following the arrival of Leonard Lord development of a proper 8hp car was accelerated.
The new car, which was displayed to dealers in February 1939, kept the 900 cc, four cylinder, side valve engine from the Big 7, now with a higher 6.5:1 compression ratio, but 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 with three others going across the floor. The body was then bolted to this structure. Suspension was by semi elliptic leaf springs with hydraulic dampers.
Two and four door saloon bodies were made as well as two and four seat tourers and about 20,000 were made before war closed production. In 1945, production restarted, but there were no more tourers or two door saloons.

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