1934 Austin 16 SaloonAFY 376 - 1934 Austin 16 'Berkeley' Saloon

Jardine (White Heather), Morecambe

The Austin Motor Company was founded in 1905 by Herbert Austin, and a plant at Longbridge, Worcestershire (later in Birmingham) was established. The company was merged in 1952 into the British Motor Corporation Ltd.

The Austin Sixteen was introduced as a medium saloon in 1927, and in production until 1936, the four door saloon being given the model name 'Berkeley'. From 1934, synchromesh gearing on 3rd and 4th gears was added, and an automatic gearbox was offered as an alternative, although few automatic models were sold.

First registered on 10 May 1934 with Lancashire County Council, this car had only one previous owner at Morecambe and was licensed as a Hackney Carriage at an annual rate of £10.0.0d. It was operated by Mr Jardine, who traded as 'White Heather' and also owned the Chevrolet LQ coach that is now also in the Society's collection. Among Mr Jardine's customers was the late broadcaster, Wilfred Pickles, who travelled in the car to and from his hotel in the Lake District when he was at Morecambe for a summer season. It was licensed until the end of December 1961.

In the early 1970s, the Society's founder secretary, Mr Vincent LeTall and Society president Mr Herbert Jones were spending a long weekend in Morecambe with their families to see the illuminations, and the manager of the hotel was a fellow vintage vehicle owner. The existence of the Chevrolet coach, in the care of Jim Jardine's widow, came up in conversation.

This led Vincent, with his daughter Wendy to meet Mrs Jardine one evening at the holiday flats she managed. A cautious conversation took place at the door, but they did see the 'Chev' but at its side was the taxi, also from the 'White Heather' fleet. At that time, Mrs Jardine did not want to part with the vehicles, but kept in contact with Mr LeTall over subsequent years.

Two years later, he received a letter saying "fetch both car and 'bus but please ensure that they are always safely kept in preservation". Bradshaws of Sturton sent a low-loader to Morecambe and the poor driver came back to Vincent's private museum in Ingham (at his house) non-stop - he was too scared to risk his valuable cargo to possible vandal attack. Quite a non-stop marathon on the roads of the 1970s.

'AFY' was a non-runner when acquired, in need of a complete engine rebuild. Some work was carried out in 2002-04, including the discovery that the amber lenses of the direction indicators had been painted black with just a narrow line of amber on show. This was to conform with Wartime Blackout Regulations.

October 2011 - Work has restarted on the 16. So far the rear seat has been removed (not an easy task), the fuel tank and most of the interior trim revealing some woodworm in the plywood panels. Also the spare wheel housing - yet another difficult task!

January 2012 - Good progress is being made on the Sixteen. This includes welding new steel in the rear wheel arches and rear mudguards. The rear window glass has been removed, with new rubber seals required when the glass is replaced after repainting. On the subject of paintwork a discovery has been made that originally the car was two-tone in colour: i.e. the lower half was maroon whilst the top half was black.

Some time in the past a sheet of aluminium was placed over the roof thus covering up the sun roof (sliding head); this was common practice when the roof seal was poor and leaked.

April 2012 - Welding continues on the Berkeley - current area of repair is the inner rear area directly behind the rear panel. We have made a new lower rear panel repair & cut a replacement piece of oak to replace the rotten rear oak spar that the rear panel is pinned and screwed to - however before we can fit this panel we need to repair and stabilise the inner panel directly behind the timber, the rear of the body was able to flex and move about as this member was rotten at both ends where it sits on the chassis, plan at the moment is to get the rear end welded back together to give some rigidity and then look to remove the body from the chassis.

The Aluminium panel has now been removed from the roof by Paul and we are now looking at the best route forward to try and open the sliding roof without damage - it's been shut for many years and is pretty stuck!

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the spare wheel carrier receives attention, December 2011 Interior has been stripped for attention, December 2011 Rear view, showing new rear panel, March 2012

July 2012 - The strip down of the Austin 16 continues, Paul has now removed the sliding roof (after MANY rusted and broken screws were drilled out) and with Michael's help has removed the front wings and grille, We are working towards the removal of the body from the chassis so that we can have a team stripping and rebuilding the chassis whilst the body is welded and rebuilt. With a bit of a rearrange in the workshop and the movement of a couple of completed cars into the Museum we should have the space to take the body off quite soon.

January 2013 - Once the Austin Gipsy had left the workshop for paintwork, we had a tidy up and rearrange so that progress can be made with the Austin 16, its welding work has now resumed and the back end of the bodywork is now stabilised with new steelwork and replacement timber. James has begun work on the repair of the front wings and we hope to have the body in a strong enough condition to lift it off its chassis in the New Year.

April 2013 - Welding work continues to get the body ready to remove from the chassis.

October 2013 - Paul has made significant progress in repairing the front wing and getting everything to line up with the bonnet and radiator.

January 2014 - Welding has continued as has attention to the bodywork.

April 2014 - Notable work in the continuing major restoration has been the removal of the body from the chassis to allow further work.

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During and after the lift

April 2014 - The chassis has been stripped down and prepared for shot blasting, along with the wheels.

October 2014 - The chassis and axles have been sprayed black. The springs have been re-fitted with new bushes and the axles prepared for re-fitting.

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AFY 376 receiving its reconditioned front springs, September 2014 AFY 376 chassis, December 2014 Old and new water-pumps for AFY 376

January 2015 - The 16 continues to make giant steps in its restoration. The chassis has been largely reassembled with the springs and steering column refitted. The brakes have been relined and the wheels prepared for painting. The engine is having a new sump gasket fitted, but is thought to be in good condition. A new water pump has been made.

April 2015 - The restoration of the 16 continues apace with the fitting of the refurbished shock absorbers and the brakes. A cradle is being built so the engine can be transported to a specialist welder who can repair a serious crack in the lower crankcase.

July 2015 - The wheels have now been shotblasted and painted. They now require a set of tyres. We have located a set of 5 Firestone 500 x 20 tyres which will cost £ 178 each.

January 2016 - The engine has received its cylinder head and is under reconstruction, the radiator has been re-cored and re-fitted and the body has been placed back on the chassis - work on the bodywork and welding will continue.

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AFY 376 - January 2016. AFY 376 - January 2016 - engine being re-assembled after re-fit of cylinder head. AFY 376 - January 2016 - re-cored radiator

April 2016 - The radiator has been re-cored and the manifolds and distributor fitted. The body has been trial fitted and it now looks like a car again!

July 2016 - Progress continues with the 16 - the paintwork has been stripped back to a fetching pink primer - not an original Austin top coat option!

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AFY 376 - July 2016 AFY 376 - July 2016

LINKS

Austin & Longbridge Federation

Austin Memories

page updated 31.7.16