by Paul Sweeney
We are starting 2016 with a bang, as the third new arrival of the New Year appears - and its a little corker. This stunning 1938 Austin 7 Ruby is in great condition and even has the optional rear luggage rack stowed inside the boot lid!
The Austin 7 is a small car that was produced from 1922 until 1939 in the United Kingdom by Austin. Nicknamed the "Baby Austin", it was one of the most popular cars ever produced for the British market, and sold well abroad. It wiped out most other British small cars and cyclecars of the early 1920s; its effect on the British market was similar to that of the Model T Ford in the US.
It was also licensed and copied by companies all over the world. The very first BMW car, the BMW Dixi, was a licensed Austin 7, as were the original American Austins. In France they were made and sold as Rosengarts. In Japan Nissan also used the 7 design as the basis for their first cars, although not under licence.
Many Austin 7s were rebuilt as "specials" after the Second World War, including the first race car built by Bruce McLaren, and the first Lotus, the Mk1.
Such was the power of the Austin 7 name that the company re-used it for early versions of the A30 in 1951 and Mini in 1959.
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.
by Paul Sweeney
Meet a new member of the British Car Museum family - a lovely 1948 Alvis TA14
The Alvis Fourteen also known as TA 14 was the first car to be produced by Alvis cars after World War II. Announced in November 1946, it was made until 1950 when it was replaced by the 26.25 HP Alvis Three Litre or TA 21.
The Fourteen was available as a four-door sports saloon built for Alvis by Mulliners of Birmingham but there were also Tickford and Carbodies drophead versions. The bodies were mounted on an updated pre-war Alvis 12/70 chassis that was widened and lengthened but retained the non-independent leaf spring suspension and mechanically operated brakes.
Disc wheels replaced the 12/70s wires.The 1892 cc engine is a slightly larger-bore version of the one used in the 12/70 and produced 65 bhp (48 kW). It is fitted with a single SU type H4 1 1⁄2-inch side-draught carburettor.
The top speed is around 74 mph (119 km/h) and acceleration from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 22.2 seconds