by Paul Sweeney
Welcome to the newest member of the British Car Museum family. The Austin 10 is a small car that was launched on 19 April 1932 and was Austin's best-selling car in the 1930s; it continued in production, with upgrades, until 1947.
New body for 1937Conway 4-door cabriolet 1938
A big change came in December 1936 with the almost streamlined Cambridge saloon and Conway cabriolet. Compared with the preceding cars the passengers and engine were positioned much further forward, the back seat now being rather forward of the back axle. There were six side windows like the Sherborne and the quarter lights were fixed. Again like the Sherborne the forward doors opened rearwards. At the back there was now a compartment large enough to take a trunk as well as more luggage on the open compartment door when it was let down.
A new smoother single plate spring-drive clutch was now fitted, the two friction rings carried by the centre plate were held apart by leaf springs. Other changes included Girling brakes with wedge and roller shoe expansion and balance lever compensation using operating rods in tension with automatic compensation between front and rear brakes all four of which might be applied by hand or foot. Drums were now 9 inches diameter. 16-inch steel disc wheels replaced the 18-inch wires Top speed rose to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h).
The car's wheelbase was now ¾ inch, 0.75 in (19 mm) longer. Rear track was now increased to 3' 10½", 46.5 in (1,180 mm). The vehicle's weight was now reported to be 18½ cwt, 2,072 lb (940 kg)
The Times, when they had a car on test, commented favourably on the new clutch, saying no previous Austin clutch had engaged smoothly and added "the car is built for steady economical running rather than for speed or brilliance".
These changes did not appear on the open cars, which no longer included the Ripley sports, until 1938 when the Cambridge and the Conway cabriolet gained an aluminium cylinder head on the engine and a higher compression ratio.