An Australian citizen named Herbert Austin has made many attempts to become a successful businessman and write his name in the history of entrepreneurship in the 20th century. Starting a small cattle clipper company, he planned to seize a huge share of the Australian market. However, after meeting Frederick Walsley in 1895, Herbert got the idea to create his own car. In 1904, he had already settled in the UK, which by that time was home to the world's third largest car market and the largest number of automakers. As a result, the most successful pre-war model was the Austin 7, which sold 400,000 copies from 1922 to 1938.
Without hesitation, Herbert calls his company in honor of himself - "Austin", and devotes his entire life to the formation of the automobile empire, permanently managing the Austin concern and all its subsidiaries until his death in 1940. World War II is hampering all of Britain's industry, and even Austin, the third largest automaker in Foggy Albion, has been affected by the slump. Nevertheless, the legacy left behind by Herbert Austin helped the company successfully emerge from the crisis period and in 1947 reach the level of a million cars sold, and five years later the number of cars sold annually reached two million copies.
The successful 1952 culminated in the formation of the British Motor Cororation through the takeover by Austin of Morris, Riley, Walsley and MJ. Thus, "BMC" became the largest car manufacturer not only in Europe, but all over the world. And after the concern joined such brands as "Jaguar" and "Rover", it became known as "British Leyland".
Nevertheless, the path to success was thorny, since after the war all products of the British car factories were pre-war developments that were not modernized, due to the fact that all large companies switched to developing new models from scratch.
In 1947, the Austin Princess was introduced, which became the company's first luxury car. The car had a four-liter six-cylinder power unit with a capacity of 137 horsepower. The main advantage of the model was not so much its balanced technical characteristics as its price, which was two times lower than that of the main competitors of the model from Bentley and Rolls-Royce. In addition, thanks to the collaboration with the Italian design studio PininFarina, Austin, and later British Leyland, did not spend extra energy on creating their own designs.
In 1959, two models were introduced - Mini Cooper and Austin Seven-850, which occupied the niche of compact and inexpensive cars in the European car market. Each of them could be equipped with either a 48-horsepower one-liter engine for the standard version and 71 horsepower for the 1.2-liter engines, which were installed on the enlarged versions of the Mini and Seven-850.
In addition, the production of Austin sports cars was started, which were named Austin-Healey and were taken out into a separate brand, which lasted until 1971 and was closed for financial reasons. The latest Sprite model was produced under the Austin brand for several years and sold 130 thousand copies around the world.
In 1969, a new British Leyland model was introduced, which was named Maxi and replaced the Seven-850. In essence, it was a modified Mini model, which received a 1.5 liter engine with a capacity of 90 horsepower.
A year later, the Maxi version with a forced power unit was released, as well as a new generation of Mini with an economical 1 liter engine with 48 horsepower. In addition, a sporty Mini variant called OT was available. And in 1973, the Allegro sedans were released, which were another modification of the Mini and Austin Seven-850.
In 1975, Austin began production of the next generation of the Princess, now a mid-size family sedan, equipped with hydro-air suspension and engines ranging from 1.7 to 2.3 liters.
The new Maxi-2 was introduced in 1980 and was supplied with a 1.75 liter engine with 92 horsepower. In addition, an ultra-compact Metro model was presented on the Mini platform, which received an updated body design and a 1.2-liter engine.
1983 and 1984 presented new models of Maestro and Montego, which differed only in the volume and power of the power unit. Also in 1984, a new structure of the British Leyland conglomerate was formed, which was named Austin Rover. Now the single concern was divided into two independent companies, united only by a single management elite. And in 1988, the shares of "Rover" were completely bought by "British Aerospace", which aggravated the position of "Austin", which every year lagged behind its competitors, and the money invested in the reorganization of the concern did not bring dividends. In 1989, the government dashed Austin's hopes of revival by introducing new requirements for the environmental emissions of large enterprises, and the company's shareholders, in order to get at least some profit, preferred to sell it to the former Rover, which was interested in selling the MINI model to all over the world. And so the story of one of the most serious players in the UK car market ended. The only reminder of the past glory are the cars of the MINI company, which is owned by the German "BMW", but each of these cars has completely retained the features that were laid in them back in the days of "Austin".