by Paul Sweeney
The second new addition of 2016 to the British Car Museum collection is this stunning 1933 Austin 12/4. She's had only 2 owners since new.
Austin introduced this new car in September 1932. It was made by fitting a 1535 cc side-valve, four-cylinder engine with 24 bhp output into the same chassis as they had been making since late 1930 for their six-cylinder 12/6 which was also in the same 12 hp class.
This new four cylinder engine was coupled to a four-speed "crash" gearbox at first, but a new transmission with synchromesh on third and top speed appeared in 1934 and then also on second in 1935.
The chassis was very conventional, with semi-elliptic leaf springs on all wheels and rigid axles front and rear. Wire wheels were fitted until 1937 when they were replaced with pressed steel ones. At launch there was a choice of a pressed steel six-light (three windows on each side) saloon called the Harley and a two-seat tourer.
A second saloon style with a boot, the Ascot, was added in 1934 and the Harley was dropped in 1935. In the same year the chromium plated radiator shell was replaced by one painted in body colour. The very early cars had their side lights mounted on the scuttle, but these soon moved to the tops of the wings.