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Austin & Longbridge
Federation

     QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER

Spring – April 2012

For all those with an interest in the history, products &
workers of the motor vehicle factory at Longbridge

Formerly the Federation of Austin Clubs Registers and Associations


The front of the 1972 Longbridge Programme featured in the December Newsletter.

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From the Chairman
Pride of Longbridge

Dear Reader

Welcome to our April edition of the newsletter
This is the time of year when we work with RCAT to bring you the annual Pride of
Longbridge event. This is on the 14
th April 2012 in Cofton Park B31 2BQ starting at
10.00am and finishing at 4.00pm. Please bring along your vehicle, whether it is an
Austin, Morris, BMC, BL or MG-Rover etc. No booking is required, just turn up in the day
for this free event.

We are in need of more marshals to aid the free flow of vehicles. This is to cover the first
two hours. If you could help me with this task please contact me by email

Marshals meeting Wednesday 11 April at 7.30pm at Cofton Park in the car park.

Its that time of the year to renew your membership. Thank you to those who have
already renewed theirs.

John Baker.

austinlongbridgefederation.co.uk

Membership renewal form attached to this eNews.

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Significant Anniversaries 2012

90 years of the Seven

It only seems like yesterday that I was attending the Golden Jubilee of the Seven at
Longbridge – see the Programme front cover reproduced above – but it is half a lifetime
past. I helped to transport and unload a part-restored Chummy chassis – we thought it
was important to attend and that it would be a novelty. As it turned out there were
dozens of people who had the same idea. It would have been possible to have an area
laid out as part of the factory 50 years earlier! Bring your Seven to Cofton Park for the
POL on Saturday 14
th - even if you only have a part-restored chassis.


Five Up in a Seven.

80 years of the Ten

In April 1932 an entirely new Austin model was introduced - the Austin Ten. Bring your
Ten to Cofton Park to celebrate the car that knocked the Seven of the pedestal of being the best selling Austin.
 


1932 Austin 10 /4.

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60 years of the Somerset and A30

Post war there was a shortage of new cars in the UK as most of them were assigned for
export to repay the vast US dollar loans of the war years. For the majority of drivers
post-war a Somerset was the first new Austin they could buy. Independent front
suspension, hydro-mechanical brakes and a factory fitted heater were items inherited
from the Devon. The Somerset introduced a new and distinctive “Austin” style also used
for the A30-35 and which, in the famous London Black Cab, survives to this day.


Austin A 30.

50 years of the MGB

The Longbridge connection is of course the engine and transmission of the “B”. The first
monocoque MG and surely the one with the longest production run. Many argue that the
first MGBs were the fastest – the 3-bearing “B” series engine having less friction and the
Morris Minor door handles providing less wind resistance!

50 years of the 1100/1300 range

The combination of Issigonis engineering, Moulton hydrolastic suspension and Farina
styling produced the best-selling car of the 1960s – the 1100/1300. New technology
combined with style. Shame about the rust and the collapsing trailing arm bearings.

30 years of the MG Metro

An MG made at Longbridge – a warm hatch subsequently made red-hot with a turbo.

30 years of the Austin Ambassador

In April 1982 BL introduced the hatchback version of the Cowley built wedge Princess
under the name Ambassador. Considerable re-engineering was needed to provide the
strength around the hatchback opening. Had BL introduced the then-fashionable
wedge-shaped ADO71 in March ’75 as a hatchback, and dropped the Maxi, it could have outsold what both models actually achieved for the next 10 years. BL - Too many unrelated models – too few good ones – too late.

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CONTENTS

From the Chairman ………………………………......................................    2
Significant Decade Anniversaries in 2012 ..……...................................      3-4
Forthcoming Events – 2012 .….………..………………............................   5
Around The Clubs – Princess and Ambassadors Owners’ Club…….…   6-7
Our Cars in the Media. ……………………………………………………….. 7
Longbridge Redevelopment news…………………………………..….....  8-9
British Car Production 2011-12……….…………………………………… 10
More on the Flight Shed ……..…………………………….…………… 11-14
About Us - The ALF aims and objectives…………………………………..15

 

Forthcoming Events - 2012

Date Event Contact.
14 April Pride of Longbridge Rally
21-22 April Footman James 33rd Classic Car Show
Royal Bath and West Showground Shepton Mallet
http://www.bccsl.co.uk/tickets.asp
22 April FBHVC - DRIVE IT DAY - Events All Areas Ask your Club.
22.April Lincolnshire- DRIVE IT DAY - From 9.30 am.
27miles to WoodhallSpa
Tony Johnson 01522539
22 April DRIVE-IT DAY BIRMINGHAM-Victoria Square
Lord Mayer of Birmingham - www.didbrum.com
Clubs call Alan Billington
Individs  call Tom Griffiths
20 May Copy date for JUNE NEWSLETTER federatio.co.uk
1 - 5 June Austin A30 - 35 Owners Club - Diamond Jubilee. Austin A30 - 35 Owners Club
20 - 22 June 90th Anniversary Celebration of the Austin Seven
WARWICK SCHOOL,  Myton Rd, CV34 6PP
Austin Seven Clubs Association - All pre-war Austins
Austin 7 Clubs Association
Ian Mason- Smith . Email
13 - 15 July ATDC National Rally - Basingstoke. www.austintendriversclub.com
15 July Cambridge-Oxford Owners club NATIONAL RALLY
"Tram Sunday" Fleetwood Lancs
www.co-oc.org
5 August BMC-BL Spares Day Ferry Meadows Peterborough. Ask your club.
October- Date
 to be agreed
FEDERATION ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

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Around the Clubs
The Princess and Ambassador Owners Club

The club, started in May 1997 by four enthusiasts, aims to help owners of
Princess and Austin Ambassador cars to maintain, repair, and restore their cars
It is a friendly small club run entirely by members. Currently the club has more
than a hundred members worldwid
e.

The Club offers the following services:-
                 · Spares
                 · Website - http://www.princessandambassador.org.uk/
                
· Newsletter
                 · Rallies

Spares
With the increasing passage of time since the last Ambassador was produced in
1984, thoughts are increasingly turning towards spare parts in order to keep the
cars on the road. The club purchases spares before they become obsolete and
out of stock. The Club has also purchase a number of service items in largish
quantities, which are available to members at reasonable cost. In addition, the
club is in contact with several specialist parts suppliers who are often able to find the most elusive parts.
 

Website
In addition to information about the cars and the club the website keeps the
public up to date with club activities and has a section for the sale of cars – with a handy link to eBay. Members have their own area which they can log into plus
there is a public forum.

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Newsletter
As you would expect this contains technical and general information about the
cars, details and forthcoming events and reports of past events, plus a members sales and wanted column.

Rallies & Events
Throughout the summer months and into the early autumn the club arranges
several meetings at interesting locations throughout Britain – including Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford; Stanford Hall, Leicestershire; and the Museum of British Road Transport, Coventry. In addition to these meetings, the club attends several classic car shows during the summer months - details of which are published in plenty of time on the club website.

Membership
The cost of membership in the Princess and Ambassador Owners Club for the
first year is only £20 (£15 annual membership + £5 joining fee).

Membership is renewable annually on June 1st.

Contact: Harry Parker, Membership Secretary.

-----------------------------------

Our Cars in the Media
The Princess

The car is the star in “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” on BBC TV which
features a Princess - as the car used by the private detective and his partner assistant Richard MacDuff.

It is not clear why the Princess appears because the TV series is set in the
present day – but it may be a reference to the time-travel that features in the
book. In view of the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things” it must link in somewhere.

It may be a reference to when the book was written in 1987 or a link to the author
Douglas Adams – perhaps he owned a Princess. Maybe he even took one of his
famous long baths in one – there might be room.

 

 

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Longbridge Redevelopment

The new youth centre (called My Place) in Longbridge Lane will open in a couple of months.
 


Looking remarkably like the architect’s drawing – the new youth centre “My Place”.

Plans for Longbridge re-developement - Phase 1.

 

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Longbridge Redevelopment – phase 1

The High Street development off Longbridge Lane has now started, with Sainsbury’s store on the corner. This is part of the first phase which will include other shops


Longbridge High Street – conjectural view looking down the High Street towards Sainsburys

The next part of this phase is for the River Rea to be above ground through a
landscaped area to be called Austin Park.


Austin Park - impression

Phase 2 will include offices, restaurants, an hotel and more shops.

 

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British Car Production 2011-2012

Car production in the UK has revived. Some recent statistics are:-
                Car production in 2011 up 5.8% on previous year
                Production 1.340M cars
                Exports 83.7% - or 1.121M
                Largest producer - Nissan Sunderland with 480,485 - beating its
                   2010 record when it became the first UK car plant to exceed 400,000
                   annual production.  

Also February 2012 production exceeded February 2011:-
    Increase in UK production of 23.5% in February - to 138,296 cars.
                 February daily production more than 4700 cars.
                 Exports 82% of production - over 113,000 cars in the month
                Jaguar Land Rover sales increasing 54.4%

JLR, Nissan and Mini are all expanding, and Honda Swindon has done so recently. JLR are to increase production by introducing a third shift at Liverpool to meet the demand for the Range Rover Evoque, and the new Jaguar F is planned to be made at Castle Bromwich. The Nissan Sunderland plant has expanded to meet the worldwide demand for Qashqai and Juke models - both of which carry a premium price. The Quasqai is well named - being a principle cash cow for the manufacturer - more than 300,000 of the model were made at Sunderland in 2011.

Car production in the UK is shortly expected to exceed 1.4M annually. Cars and
commercial vehicle production was 1.47M in 2011. The existing record was set in 1972 when 2.33M vehicles were made - and this is unlikely to be exceeded anytime soon.

By way of comparison with the past - it took Austin 40 years to make 1M cars. Austin production in the decade of the 1930s was less than 400,000 cars. MG-Rover produced about 690,000 cars at Longbridge over 5 years.

But Europe-wide there is an excess of car making capacity in the face of falling sales - down nearly 10% across the EU and 20% down in France and 19% down in Italy. Ford has managed to make profits in Europe but General Motors has made losses. Despite being a highly efficient plant the Vauxhall Astra line in Liverpool has an uncertain future as does the van plant at Luton. Opel jobs are protected by complex legal agreements with the German unions. GM has recently bought shares in the French company PSA - robably a move to counter French nationalism.

Outside Europe the US market has picked up - a matter of interest to premium brands such as JLR. But the market in China may be about to contract - Chinese authorities are seeking to reign in inflation and slow the rapid expansion of the economy. In addition companies seeking joint venture in China are now required to support a Chinese brand rather than import one from the west.

Sources: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA), Daily Telegraph - Business News - 5 Jan, 20 Jan, 16 March, 6 April 2012, BIS Report on MG-Rover - MacGregor-Newey.

 

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Demolition of Flight Shed
A Correction


Inside the Flight Shed at Longbridge – detail of roof structure

Tony Osborne has provided some photographs of the inside and outside of the Flight Shed
taken in the early 1980s before the roof was re-sheeted. In the 1970s the roof sheeting was covered with a bitumastic paint and cloth, presumably fibreglass, to waterproof it but this was not as successful as hoped.

As a matter of interest, Tony calculated that the cost of heating the Flight Shed, using the gas
consumption for the building in 2004, would be over £500,000 a year at today's costs. It is hardly
surprising that no one wanted to use it!

 

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1980s from outside there is nothing to show that this was a Flight Shed.

Far from being unique there are in fact a number of surviving hangars built under the Horsley licence and many of them are in a better state of originality than the Longbridge Flight Shed had been. Brick side extensions and re-cladding were among the changes made over the years. Only the length and span of the roof – it was the largest of its kind – remained as the USP of the Longbridge Flight Shed. This did not appear to be enough to justify listing.


Size of beams shown by workers

 

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2012 picture – after collapse and before demolition – giving some idea of the size of the roof.


2012 – debris from collapse seen thru’ side window of extension

 

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Flight Shed - the end in 1980s.


Flight Shed - End Wall in 2012 from almost the same viewpoint.

The obvious caption is – The End.

Sources - Various.

 

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About Us - The Austin Longbridge Federation - ALF
Formerly the Federation of Austin Clubs Registers and Associations

Aims and Objectives

The primary objective of the Austin Longbridge Federation is to bring together clubs, organisations and associations, throughout the world, which have an interest in preserving and maintaining the Heritage, Name and Products of the Austin Motor Company and of the Longbridge Plant. The Federation is also open to individual members who share these interests.

Products include all brands associated with Longbridge - Austin, BMC, BL, MG-Rover - cars and commercials.

The aims are to:-

              Publicise and promote Austin and its heritage
              Facilitate the sharing of historical and social information
             Collate information allowing member organisations to manage their events diary
             Promote recognition of major milestones and anniversaries in the history of    
             Austin and the Longbridge works.

Newsletter
Opinions expressed in the Newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the management Committee of the Austin Longbridge Federation.

The electronic newsletter is distributed to all member clubs, organisations and associations, to individual members, and to others who have a continuing interest in Austin or Longbridge.

Contact
Please send information about your Club and its activities for publication in the Austin Longbridge Federation Newsletter.

Copy date for June edition - 26 May 2012.

Copyright
This Newsletter is copyright of the Austin Longbridge Federation, except where extracts of others work is quoted in fair comment. In submitting content for publication you agree to share your copyright with us. Sources will be acknowledged. Other than for commercial gain the content of this Newsletter may be copied in whole or in part by members, member clubs, registers and associations, provided this newsletter is acknowledged as the source. If you consider that any copyright of yours has been infringed by the content of this newsletter please contact the Editor.

Peter Winney - Editor

 

 

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