THE AUSTIN TWELVE SIX SPORTS TOURER
A Roomy, Yet Graceful Car of Good All Round Performance. Brief SPecification:
Engine : 6 .cylinder monobloc, bore 61.25 mm., stroke 84.63 mm., total capacity 1,496 c.c. R.A.C. rating 13.956 h.p. Maximum b.h.p. 38. Side valves, detachable head. Zenith down-draught carbutetter. High lift camshaft. 4bearing crankshaft. Low expansion pistons of special alloy. Four point suspension. Coil ignition. 8 gallon rear tank.
Transmission Single-plate clutch. 4 speed gear-box, “twin-top.” Ratios 18.26, 11.7, 7.58 and 5.5 to 1. Unit construction. Central change. Spiral bevel drive. Three-quarter .floating rear axle, wheels carried on ball bearings.
Brakes : On all four wheels. Independent hand-brake.
Steering : Worm and wheel.
Suspension : Semi-elliptic all round. Zinc interleaved. ” Silentbloc ” shackles. Luvax hydraulic shock absorbers in front and Hartford friction-type at rear. Wheels and Tyres : Magna wheels, with Dunlop 4.75 x 19 tyres. Price : Sports Tourer, as tested,
£268. FOR some time there have been rumours of the introduction of a sports model by the Austin Corn
pany, and this report received confirmation last month when a new Sports Tourer on the Twelve-Six chassis was announced by the famous Birmingham factory. Dealing with the engine and chassis, a high performance is available from the 6 cylinder 1,496 c.c. power unit. The induction and exhaust manifolding has been re-designed, assisted by a down draught Zenith carburettor. The compression ratio has been increased to 7 to 1, and the valve lift has been altered by means of a special camshaft. All this results in a brake horse power of 40, and in order to enable full advantage of the power output to be derived on the open road a close ratio gear box, with silent third, has been fitted. The ratios are as
follows : 18.26, 11.7, 7.58 and 5.5. to 1. A new frame is used, the deep side members of which are dropped to the centre. Three of the cross members pass under the propellor shaft, one having a
remarkably stiff “U” section. Thus the passenger load is carried 4 inches lower than in the standard model. Other chassis details of interest are a large diameter propellor shaft of Hardy-Spicer type, Luvax hydraulic shock absorbers at the front and Hartford friction shock absorbers at the rear, and the sensible position of the tool and battery boxes under the bonnet.
The body is designed to give a combination of good lines and complete comfort, an aim which has been successfully attained. Ample weather protection is provided by an efficient hood and side curtains which do not in any way curtail the driver’s vision. The hood folds very neatly into an envelope, and a wellfitting tonneau-cover adds to the smartness of the car. The windscreen hinges forward from the top, and is so made that it can swing forward from the bottom to a horizontal position, if desired.
On the road the Austin Sports Tourer is a most satisfying vehicle. To begin with, it is of sufficient overall size to be unaffected by normal inequalities in the road surface—a trait never found in small sports cars, however well sprung. This, combined with a smooth, quiet engine capable of propelling the car at a cruising speed of 55/60 m.p.h. results in a very pleasant form of high speed travel. Some impressions of one’s first acquaintance with the car will be of interest. The driver sits in a most comfortable position, upright and therefore ready for any emergency, but completely supported by thick upholstery. Of course the seats are adjustable. The big steering wheel is nicely canted so that one’s arms are not too high, and a cut-away side of the body allows free movement of the right elbow
in taking sharp corners without detracting from the deep seating position. No body-movement is necessary to reach the central gear-lever, but the handbrake is rather far forward for trial work. The headlight dipping control is on the steering wheel boss, and an ignition lever is attached to the steering column.
In getting away from a standstill, one’s first impression is that of the responsiveness of the engine to the throttle. The Zenith down-draught carburetter has not a trace of flat-spot, even when the accelerator is roughly depressed. The clutch is smooth in taking up the drive, but being heavily constructed it results in a slow gear change. The 18 to 1 low gear is really in the nature of an emergency gear, and we found that perfectly smooth starts could be made by using second speed. Although on the slow side, the process of gear changing presents no difficulties, providing one remembers that a very much greater revving-up is needed from third to second than from top to third.
The steering meets all the requirements demanded by sporting motorists of accuracy at high speed and pronounced selfcentering action, combined with light operation in traffic—without being too low geared. As regards suspension, at the time of the test the driver was the sole occupant of the car, and a certain amount of fore and aft movement was experienced at speeds in excess of 65 m.p.h. This pitching did not affect the firm road holding of the car. Additional cargo, plus a little adjustment of the shock-absorbers, would no doubt remedy this, while as the car stood, a cruising speed of 55 m.p.h. could be maintained over any surface in complete comfort. An opportunity of timing the car at its maximum speed over a measured distance did not occur during the course of our run, for our destination lay in a different direction from Brooklands Track. However, we took the precaution of checking
the speedometer, and found it to be dead accurate over a wide range. On any fairly level stretch of road we found the maximum to be 70 m.p.h., which is all that discerning motorists would expect from a 11 litre power unit propelling a really comfortable four-seater touring body. Mention of comfort brings one to the accommodation for the rear passengers. The two seats are separated by a generous arm-rest, in which is contained the footpump. The body-sides are on a level with the passengers’ shoulders, providing real protection, and deep footwells complete the comfortable seating position. Finally the brakes are well up to their work, never tending to cause the car
to swerve, however fiercely applied.
The Austin Twelve Six should fill a definite niche in the sports car field for those who require a car of good all round performance without sacrificing the comfort of a slower machine. At 2268 it is remarkable value.
The New Austin Seven.
The second of the new range of Austin sports models is the 7 h.p. 2 seater illustrated below. Full mechanical details of this car will appear in these columns shortly. Extensive engine alterations give a power output of 23 b.h.p. at 4,800 r.p.m. On the road this will propel the car at a speed of 65 m.p.h. with a top-gear ratio of 5.6 to 1. The car costs only 2148.