Classic Van Auction Talk

Saturday 24 August 2019

1930 AUSTIN 16/6 PASS & JOYCE MAGNET COUPE - BRIGHTWELLS AUCTIONS Leominster Auction Centre Easters Court, Leominster HR6 0DE Wednesday 4th September 2019

Leominster Auction Centre
 Easters Court, Leominster HR6 0DE
Wednesday 4th September 2019

Lot No. 120
Colour Two-tone green
Registration Number RB 2297
Chassis No. 5TS1894-6
Engine size 2,249 cc
Engine No. 17782LG
V5C; vast history file
Estimate £12,000 - £16,000
Although the first Austin car was marketed as early as 1906, it was really 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 which gained a reputation for utter dependability at an affordable price. By 1927 they had been joined by another outstanding model, the 16hp, a particularly lively six-cylinder machine which helped cement the firm's reputation as a maker of quality cars for the masses.
Slotting neatly into the Austin range above the 12hp model but below the 20hp, the 16/6 was powered by a new 2,249cc side-valve engine with a timing chain at the rear of the block, mated to a four-speed gearbox. It shared its chassis with the Heavy 12/4 from which it was distinguished by the ‘Austin Six’ script on the radiator and wire wheels.
Autocar particularly liked the six-cylinder engine reporting that it ran “very nicely indeed, smoothly, quietly and with a real willingness to get going if the driver chooses,” recording a top speed of 60mph and 21mpg economy. Periodically updated and restyled, the Sixteen lasted in production until 1937 in a variety of saloon and tourer bodies and is widely regarded as one of Austin’s finest models by the enthusiasts of today.
This unique and spectacular 16/6 was discovered by the previous owner, Gareth Jones, languishing in a Welsh barn in 1979 in a dilapidated and dismantled state. An Austin expert, he was intrigued by the look of the car and knew it was something special being quite unlike any other 16 that he, or anyone else, had seen: a two-door coupe with fabric above the waist level and aluminium below with a full-length louvred side bonnet. In fact it took three years of intensive research to discover exactly what model it was and who had made the body.
To cut a long story short, it turned out to be a Magnet Coupe, one of perhaps three such cars specially bodied by Weymann under instruction from Pass & Joyce, a London distributor for Austin and Sunbeam with showrooms in the West End. The first owner of RB 2297 was a Miss Hetty Holloway of Derbyshire and Kent who bought it on 18th July 1930 and was to keep it right up until 1962 when she part-exchanged it for a new Hillman. It then had several other owners including Hilary Stevenson, the son of the vicar of Winterbourne in Gloucestershire, who drove it down to Lloret de Mar in north-east Spain in the early 1960s, a 2,000-mile round-trip which it completed without drama.
The restoration of the car was to take Mr Jones 24 years to complete, the whole process being exhaustively documented in one of the largest history files we have ever seen. It was aided by a 1960s photograph of the car in its pre-dismantled state which miraculously surfaced as the project was nearing its end, being donated by a previous owner of RB 2297 who, it turned out, lived not one mile from Mr Jones – just one of several remarkable coincidences that occurred during the project.
The full extent of the work carried out is far too detailed to cover here, but rest assured that every single nut, bolt and widget has been expertly restored or renewed with the wonderful results you see today. Originally dark green, the car was repainted in a much more cheerful two-tone green which gives it a very jaunty air. Typifying the standard of the workmanship, the engine was not only rebuilt but also balanced and the interior was retrimmed using leather and headlining material sourced from Rolls-Royce.
Finally back on the road in 2003, RB 2297 was acquired by our vendor in 2006 and has still only covered 814 fine weather miles since the restoration was completed, often appearing in shows where it is always given a warm welcome. Believed to be the sole survivor of only three made (another was destroyed by the Luftwaffe in WW2) this outstanding Austin is on offer here from a deceased estate at a very modest guide price and is sure to attract a huge amount of interest wherever it goes.

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