Austin & Longbridge




Winter - December 2011


    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

Not as old as it looks! Do you recognise it?


From the Chairman
New Name - New Logo - New Website

  Dear Reader,

At the AGM on the 15 October various changes were made to the Federation.

The most important one was a change of name to Austin & Longbridge Federation
(ALF) Reasons for this are:-
     Avoid risk of confusion with FBHVC - both are referred to as “The Federation”
        Remove the perception that it was just an association of “Austin” car clubs
        Stress the Longbridge connection and heritage.

ALF is a federation of clubs and individuals with the aims of preserving and the heritage, name and products of the motor manufacturers that were based at the maintaining austin Factory at Longbridge.

The aims are to:-
  Preserve the heritage of Austin and Longbridge
  Promote all clubs associated with the various marques connected with
        Longbridge: Austin, Morris, Wolseley, Riley, MG, Rover, Vanden Plas; and the
       non-marque models: Mini, Metro, Maestro, Montego.
  Co-organise the Pride of Longbridge event annually in April - in conjunction with
        Rover Community Action Trust - RCAT.
  Promote the heritage element of the Longbridge redevelopment.
  Promote recognition of major milestones and anniversaries in the history of the
       cars and Longbridge works
  Colate and share information among member organisatios.

John Baker - Chairman - Austin and Longbridge Federation



        From the Chairman ……………………………….....................................   2
        Significant Decade Anniversaries in 2012.………....................................  3
        NEC Classic Car Show……..…………………………….......................4-10
        Around The Clubs - Austin Ten Drivers’ Club - ATDC………………  10-11
        Forthcoming Events - 2012.……………………………............................  13
        Longbridge in the News - Royal visit to MG……………………………....14
        Longbridge redevelopment - Flight Shed demolished………..……   14-15
        Triumph in the Midlands………………………………............................... 15
       About Us - The Federation aims and objectives…………………………16

Significant Decade Anniversaries in 2012

                       90 years of the Seven

It cannot have escaped your notice that next year is an important anniversary in
the history and heritage of Austin and Longbridge. Ninety years of the Austin
Seven - the car that introduced several generations of Britons to motoring.

There will many and varied events around the country to celebrate organised by
clubs and co-ordinated by the Austin 7 Clubs’ Association. Some of these events
also invite the participation of other Austin cars to celebrate - in particular the
celebration run to Brighton which is open to all pre-war Austins.

Organised by the Austin Seven Owners Club, London this will be held on Sunday
1st April 2012 and will provide a scenic route to Brighton, Madeira Drive. See
“Forthcoming Events” for contact details.

80 years of the Ten.

In April 1932 an entirely new Austin model was introduced - the Austin Ten.
Aimed at the popular 10hp annual tax bracket the car became the best selling
Austin of that decade. A true family car with 4 doors and 4 seats the advertising
of the 10 also pitched for the lady-driver market.


If you know of other significant decade anniversaries in 2012 for Longbridge
models please let me know in time for the March edition of this newsletter.


The NEC Classic Car Show 2011

Austin Counties Car Club Success

Peter -- I was at the NEC for the Classic Car Show on the Saturday which was
also the presentation evening at the Hilton, and was thrilled that our Club was
the only one at the awards to get two mentions! First as the runner-up in the
Club Magazine of the year award, and then as the small stand show winner.

We had a stand which was geared to this year’s theme of "Family Motoring", and
we featured Dinky toys, Austin pedal cars, and replica Dinky boxes with full size
cars emerging from them. If you look on the cover of the current issue of the
FBHVC magazine, it features our Club stand.

We have now won the stand prize two years out of three.

Chris Tallents.

Dinky Toys No 106 - Austin Atlantic convertible, blue - Meccano Ltd, Binns Rd, Liverpool  Photo - C Tallents - Austin Counties Car Club



More of the Austin Counties Car Club stand - Austin pedal cars.

Austin J40 at the NEC - photo C Tallents ACCC

Austin Racer pedal car at the NEC - photo C Tallents ACCC




Austin Seven Clubs at the NEC.

Chrome-rad 7s at the NEC - photo Harry Parker

Pearl cabriolet and Ruby saloon at the NEC - photo Harry Parker





Austin Allegros and Maxis at the NEC 2011.

Maxi teddy bears’ picnic at the NEC - photo Harry Parker

ATDC stand at the NEC - photo Roger Prestwood

The same team from Warwickshire who have represented the ATDC for the
previous 3 years returned this year to fly the flag and meet and greet old and
new friends.




Setting up the stand, which is very simple and cheap, is now a polished process,
with Ian Sykes’s estate car conveying the whole paraphernalia of the stand
including carpets and chairs etc in one load.

The only problem as usual is finding 4 small yellow chalk marks and a number
on a dimly lit floor the size of an aircraft hanger, which denotes our stand limits.
The NEC when empty is a big place. In addition there are often cars parked from
other stands just where the vital numbers and letters are scrawled on the floor.
Having overcome that hurdle, the whole process, including bringing in cars and
agreeing where they should be, was accomplished by lunchtime on Thursday,
ready for Friday’s opening.

Our philosophy is that the stand is just a framework for the cars that are the real
stars. We try to present different cars each year as it gives a fresh look, gives
other people a chance to bring their cars in, and gives our friends from previous
years who have generously driven their cars through winter weather, a rest.

Ian Roe from Balsall Common, who had just finished restoring his 1937 Austin10
Cambridge the week before, despite receiving some nasty cuts to his hands at
work recently, drove his car in on Thursday morning in good weather.

He was followed by Barry Newsome from Kenilworth in his Austin10 1935
Lichfield, who has also just completed a full restoration which has taken most of
his adult life, but it has been worth the wait. Both restorations were by the
owners themselves.

ATDC stand at the NEC - 1934 16/6 Berkeley - photo Roger Prestwood

The big car on the stand was the beautifully presented 1934 Austin16 Berkeley
of Geoff Hamblin from our Leicester Region. Luckily he only had to drive in from
Nuneaton, where he often garages this car. Geoff readily admits that he did not
restore this car himself, but he does keep it in beautiful condition. It is also a very
comfortable luxury saloon to travel in. He arrived in convoy with his wife, Jean
who had her Morris MO on a stand in the same hall at the NEC.



On Friday the first of the 18 helpers turned up to assist us run the stand. They
worked in shifts, although the whole weekend was run on typical Warwickshire
Lot light programming, i.e. none at all, but we all mucked in taking turns when
needed, and escaping to look at the rest of the show when the opportunity

We had about 6-8 people on the stand each day, and they came from all corners
of Austin land. A big thank you to them for their time and enthusiastic
representation of our club. We also signed up 14 new members during the 3

Suddenly it was 5.30 pm on Sunday and time to fold away our tents, well stand,
and go home on a cold winter’s night. All cars arrived home safely. All helpers
were tired with sore feet, but happy. My head was ringing with the many
conversations, anecdotes, old stories and the inevitable ”my dad had one of
these”. Looking forward to next year.

Metro at the NEC

Blue means hot for Metro Gti at NEC - photo Harry Parker




Austin A30-A35 Club NEC

Late A35 van at the NEC - photo Harry Parker

ATDC the club for Austin models 10-28hp 1931-39

ATDC provides the following services to members:-


· National Rally
· Local and Regional Events
· Free Monthly Magazine
· Car Insurance & Recovery Scheme
· Spare Parts Service
· Free Technical Advice
· Tool Hire
· Insurance Valuations
· Registration Retention - advice and help
· Access to knowledge base - Archive & Library

The Austin Ten Drivers’ Club was conceived in a lay-by on the road to Beaulieu in the
summer of 1964 when a Ten driver stopped on the way to the Austin Seven rally and
attracted two more en route to the same event. The first car had not broken down - it
was after all an Austin Ten - so conversation turned towards setting up a club.

There were already numerous clubs for Sevens and the VAR catered for the all the
Vintage Austin models. In contrast the Austin Ten had no club. The model was heading
for extinction, piled high in scrap yards, despite having been the most practical and
popular Austin in its heyday. The combination of a big cut in purchase tax and
introduction of an annual suffix on registration numbers boosted new car sales whilst the annual MOT test for cars over 10 years old and the construction of motorways meant that old slow cars were no longer required. Sevens always had that “Baby Austin - ah, sweet” factor. Larger models could still pay their way for weddings and funerals or as taxis in remote areas. Only the very poor or geeky wanted an Austin Ten.




Members were recruited through Exchange and Mart. In 1965 - coincidentally about 9
months after the lay-by meeting - the club was officially constituted. From the start the
emphasis was on driving. The first rally took place on 18th July 1965 consisting of 8
members and 3 guests on a follow-my-leader tour from Epsom to Newlands Corner for
judging by Mr William (Bill) Boddy - Editor of Motor Sport. The second rally was a 12-
car competitive navigational event. In 1966 a weekend rally was held in the Cotswolds
in May of that year, and in July the first National Rally was held at Beaulieu.

1934 Austin 10 at the Austin Longbridge Federation AGM - photo P Winney

During the next few years ATDC expanded, both geographically with regional meetings and in members. Those with growing families found that there were advantages in “moving up” to the 12 and larger h.p. models - so from an early stage what is still sometimes called “the Ten club“ was welcoming the larger cars of the 1930s.

Membership increased from 95 in 1966 to 250 by the end of the decade, including the
first overseas members. The number increased to over 1000 during the 1980s. ATDC
now has members at more than 1300 addresses in the UK and overseas. In 1981 the
club was incorporated to protect its members from the potential unlimited liabilities
arising from organising events and selling parts.

For those seeking an older car with character that is fun and easy to drive, reliable,
easily maintained, cheap to buy and economical to run - a great choice is one of the
Austin models 10-28hp from the 1930s.

Peter Winney - Secretary ATDC Ltd - the club for Austin models 10-28hp 1931-39.



Austin Longbridge Federation AGM 2011

The urgent and important news is the re-branding - as explained in the Chairman’s
letter, page 2 above. Minutes will be issued in January.

Line up at the Austin Longbridge Federation AGM - photo P Winney

Austin A35 van, Austin 10, some modern thingy trying to look retro, split-screen Morris
Minor (A-series engine?) and Rover 75. Out of shot left - MG ZR.

No call for these in an Austin! - AA Box spotted in north Norfolk - photo P Winney



Forthcoming Events - 2012

The events list is a bit thin at present. Please let me have details of your events
for publication in the first newsletter of 2012.

Date Event Contact
24 February Copy Date for March Newsletter
1 April

A7OC AUSTINS TO BRIGHTON - A7 90th Anniversary Celebratory Run to Madeira Drive All pre-war Austins invited

Austin Seven owners Club
14 April Pride of Longbridge Rally
21 - 22 April

Footman James 33rd BRISTOL CLASSIC CAR SHOW -Royal Bath & West Showground - SHEPTON MALLET


22 April FBHVC - DRIVE-IT DAY - Events All Areas Ask your Club.

DRIVE-IT DAY BIRMINGHAM - Victoria Square Lord Mayor of Birmingham -

Clubs call Alan Billington
Indivs call Tom Griffiths

5 August BMC-BL SPARES DAY 2011 - Ferry Meadows  
Oct. Date to be agreed Federation Annual General Meeting

Truck with Attitude - Prescott Speed Hill Climb 2011 - photo A Mealing



Longbridge in the News - Royal Visit

Prince Andrew Duke of York, formerly an overseas trade ambassador to the UK, visited the MG Motor UK plant at Birmingham on 16th December. He is reported to have asked knowledgeable questions and to have expressed an interest in MG cars. Birmingham Post website - Jon Griffin’s report of 17 Dec 2011.

The architectural and historic significance of the Flight Shed stems from two linked facts:

            The largest unsupported roof in Europe when built in the 1930s
            Designed by Barnes Wallis

Flight Shed - intact - photo John Baker

The first aircraft type to be built at Longbridge in the Flight Shed was the Fairey Battle light bomber. A two-seat monoplane with enclosed cockpits and folding undercarriage the Battle was a modern version of the traditional light bomber aircraft. When new it was faster than contemporary German Stuka it could not dive bomb and it could not carry the arms and armour of the Russian Stormovik. Despite the bravery of its crews it was not effective in battle and was soon relegated from the front-line to jobs such as high-speed target tug.

Britain’s first 4-engined bomber the Short Stirling was another aircraft made at Longbridge in large numbers. Like the Battle, this too was in advance of its time but was soon overtaken by later more effective designs - notably the Handley Page Halifax and the Avro Lancaster. The Lancaster replaced the Stirling in production at Longbridge and, by a neat circle of fate, was used to launch Barnes Wallis designed bombs.



During its last years in use with MG-Rover the Flight Shed was home to engineers who worked in buildings and temporary huts that were constructed within the vast space of the Flight Shed. Sadly many years of low-cost maintenance meant that the shed roof was not watertight and the structure was subject to corrosion.

Flight Shed - roof collapse - photo John Baker

I am informed that a “nibbler” demolition machine working on site accidentally caught the corner of the roof of the Flight Shed which caused part of it to fall. Fortunately nobody was hurt under the roof as its fall was stemmed by the brick structures within the Flight Shed. The roof was an integral part of the structure. The whole Flight Shed thus became unstable and unsafe and had to be demolished.

Steve Rain - former suspension development engineer at Long bridge - had been gathering signatures for his “save the Flight Shed” petition with a view to having it listed as an historic building. Sadly, listing alone cannot save a building - it needs a use and income to maintain it.

Sources - Various.

Triumph in the Midlands

The British motorcycle maker Triumph sold almost 50.000 bikes in the last year as it increased sales despite global economic uncertainty, according to the Business Telegraph. In a previous incarnation Triumph motorcycles were build at Meriden. The site is now a housing company was at one time a workers’ co-operative but did not have the capital to research, design and build new models to regain the share of the super bike market it had lost to the Japanese.

The output from the company’s Hinkley, Leicestershire, factory is shown as 48,684 in 12 months to 30 June. The report says the company claims a 5% share in the global market for 500cc and larger bikes. The brand and model names are now carried on modern motorcycle designs.

Triumph now employs 1600 people has revenues of £345m and a profit before tax of £22m. The Chairman of Triumph is Lord Digby Jones who, as a guest at the Austin Centennial Dinner 2005, reminded us of the continuing importance and value of British manufacturing to the economy.

Source - Daily Telegraph Business News - 2nd December 2011



About Us - The Austin Longbridge Federation
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 Factory

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.

Please send information about your Club and its activities for publication in the Austin Longbridge Federation Newsletter. Copy date for June edition - 26 May 2011.

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 - Editior.