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Austin 12 (1939) Photo Gallery
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Austin 12 (1939) Description
Manufacturer : Austin Motor Company       Year : 1939

The Austin 12 was a large four-door family saloon produced by the Austin Motor Company. It was launched in August 1939 and was produced until replaced in 1947 by the similar-sized but larger-engined Austin A70 Hampshire. For much of this period, however, it was provided only for military and government use.

The car was presented as an all-new design. It shared a six-light (three windows on each side) profile with its predecessor, but was more streamlined. Standard fittings included a sliding roof, opening windscreen and leather upholstery. The bonnet (hood) was now one piece and hinged at the rear, rather than opening at the sides. The body was 3 inches (7.6 cm) longer than the earlier car, despite having a wheelbase that was (initially) 51⁄2 inches (14 cm) shorter. It was also 1⁄2-inch (1.3 cm) wider. A conventional chassis frame was retained, and the brakes were mechanical, with operation by a system of rods. Rigid beam axles were retained front and rear with conventional leaf springs.

The 1939 Austin 12 inherited a 1535 cc sidevalve engine and four-speed gearbox from its predecessor. 40 bhp (30 kW) of output was claimed. Even by the standards of the day, it was considered by many to be underpowered. This issue was addressed in 1945 when Austin introduced the Austin 16, which was an Austin 12 fitted with the manufacturer's first ohv engine, this having a displacement of 2199 cc. The extra power converted the car into what one commentator described as a "a particularly lively proposition", although by this time the less-than-lively Austin 12 had been in production for six years with the same body.

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