The Beaulieu SaleCollectors' Motor Cars
& Motorcycles and Automobilia
Saturday 7th September 2019
Beaulieu, National Motor Museum
Introduced in the summer of 1945, the Sixteen (16hp) had actually been announced in September 1944. Outwardly it was identical to the 12hp side valve-engined model that had appeared immediately before the outbreak of war in 1939, but it enjoyed the significant advantage of a larger overhead-valve engine displacing 2,199cc which could propel the 16hp car to a claimed top speed of 75 mph. This engine proved very successful and went on to be used in a number of other vehicles including the A70 and commercial vehicles like the Gypsy, K8 van and FX3 taxi. Bored out to 2,660cc the same design of engine was later used in the Austin A90 Atlantic and the Austin-Healey 100/4. The Sixteen proved considerably more successful than its 12hp sibling, outselling it four to one before production ceased in 1949. One escapade which helped the Sixteen achieve this sales success was a publicity run carried out for the Austin Motor Company by a team of three new cars during the extremely harsh winter of 1947. Led by Alan Hess, Austin's publicity manager, the cars visited seven northern European capitals in seven days, arriving with great fanfare at the Geneva Motor Show. Hess later set down the story of this adventure in his book Gullible's Travels.
Part of a large private collection, this Austin Sixteen saloon is stated to have been built in 1945, originally being supplied by The Balmoral Garage in Bristol. The bodywork and paintwork are both described as being in excellent condition, and the car is finished in a pale brown typical of early post-war Austins. This is complemented by the 'very good' interior with original brown leather-upholstered seats and fine Bakelite instrument panel at the centre of which is a Smiths speedometer reading 64,472 which may well be the original mileage given the condition of the car's interior. With an 'excellent' engine, 'very good' chassis and transmission, and 'good' electrics, this Sixteen presents as a very correct example of the car which launched Austin's post-war success