Portfolio of Projects
Austin Projects by Finch Restorations
The Austin Motor Company Limited was founded in 1905 by Herbert Austin (8 November 1866 – 23 May 1941) in Longbridge, England.
When aged sixteen, Herbert Austin, the son of a farmer, migrated to Melbourne, Australia, to join an uncle who was Works Manager of Langlands Foundry, a Melbourne engineering firm. During the following years he worked with various engineering companies, including a subsidiary of the Wolseley Company of Great Britain.
At the age of 27, Austin was invited by Frederick Wolseley to return to England to supervise the manufacture of sheep shearing equipment. In 1905, at the age of 38, Austin resigned from The Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company but retained his interest and ties becoming the chairman of their board from 1911 to 1933.
Austin's new venture in 1905 was to develop a new car manufacturer and was joined by his brother Harry who had also worked at Wolseley. Austin raised capital to set up the new car factory in Longbridge, which was producing seventeen different models by 1908. The Austin car works at Longbridge was later to become one of the greatest car manufacturers in the world.
The 1920s and 1930s were turbulent times for the car manufacturer. The company went into receivership in 1921 but rose again after financial restructuring. Herbert Austin was no longer managing director and he became the chairman. With the help of the Seven model, Austin weathered the worst of the depression and remained profitable through the 1930s.
In 1952, The Austin Motor Company Limited merged ownership, but not identity, with long-term rival Morris Motors Limited, becoming The British Motor Corporation Limited.
Also in 1952, Austin did a deal with Donald Healey, leading to a new marque, Austin-Healey, and a range of sports cars.
As a consequence of fuel supply threats resulting from the 1956 Suez Crisis, the revolutionary Mini small car design was launched in 1959. The Austin version was initially called the Austin Seven, but Morris' Mini Minor name caught the public imagination and the Morris version outsold its Austin twin, so the Austin's name was changed to Mini to follow suit.
In 1966. BMC completed the purchase of Jaguar and in December changed its name from BMC to British Motor Holdings Limited (BMH). In early 1968, BMH merged with Leyland Motors Limited and Austin became a part of the large British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC) combine.
In 1970, British Leyland dropped the separate Austin and Morris branding of the Mini, and it was subsequently simply "Mini", under the Austin Morris division of BLMC.
The 1970s were a turbulent time for the British car manufacturing industry. In 1982, most of the car division of the now smaller British Leyland (BL) company was rebranded as the Austin Rover Group, with Austin acting as the "budget" and mainstream brand to Rover's more luxurious models. The MG badge was revived for sporty versions of the Austin models. The Morris and Triumph brands were axed in 1984.
The marque Austin was used until 1987. In 1988, the Austin badge was phased out and Austin Rover became the Rover Group from the following year. The Austin cars continued to be manufactured, although they ceased to be Austins.
The rights to the Austin name passed to British Aerospace and then to BMW when each bought the Rover Group. The rights were subsequently sold to MG Rover, created when BMW sold the business. The trademark is currently owned by the Chinese firm SAIC Motor, after being transferred from bankrupt subsidiary Nanjing Automotive which had acquired it with MG Rover Group in July 2005.
Austin Commercial Vehicles
Austin also made car-based commercial vehilces, light and heavy truck-based commercial vehicles, military vehicles and aircraft. The production of commercial military and commercial vehicle was prevalent from the 1940s and through the 1960s. The FG model truck was a common workhorse produced in relatively large numbers during the 1960s.
Projects by Finch Restorations
Austin car and truck restorations performed in recent times by Finch Restorations are provided at the links on this page below.