Austin& Longbridge Federation.
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April 2012 Newsletter.

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June 2011 Newsletter.

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December 2010 Newsletter.



Austin & Longbridge Federation
August 2012 Newsletter

From the Chairman. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..2
7th Pride of Longbridge - Event Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Dr. Moulton’s Home Visit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Longbridge Development – Youth Centre, Town Centre etc. . . . . . 16
Stolen Healey found 42years later . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
BMC/BL Rally Peterborough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
MG Rover Trust Fund Wound Up. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
MG Motor UK Expansion Plans & MG6 update. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  28
Austin Seven 90th Anniversary Weekend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  31
Forthcoming Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
About Us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
Membership Renewal Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38








From The Chairman 2012 August

Welcome to our August newsletter.

Its been a few months since the POL event took place, which was without doubt the best so far. The weather was kind to us, which resulted in well over 1,000 cars attending and enjoyed by around 3,000 visitors.
A big thank you to all who helped with the marshalling and any other tasks.

 If you have any suggestion that would improve next years event please contact me via email

 Next years POL is on the 13 April 2013

 The Federation can only survive if we have members, so please renew your membership using the attached form at the end of the Newsletter. Only paid up members will get the next Newsletter.

 John Baker












14th April 2012.

Just a few comments received on the event.
It was my second visit via the Cowley convoy and I enjoyed the day tremendously.

Very many thanks for organising this years POL. It was the most enjoyable event I have been to for a couple of years.

A brilliant event.

Just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful event at Longbridge on Saturday.
Thanks for all your hard work towards what was a very successful event.

Just a quick email to say how much I enjoyed attending Pride of Longbridge. This was the first year I had attended and it was well worth making the three hour trip up from East Devon to see a fantastic array of cars, particularly the Rover saloons which I have a personal interest in.







3 former Longbridge workers with their Minis have 105 years of service. L to R

Ken Parkes started at Longbridge as an apprentice in 1947 and finished as Production manager on K-series line in 1991 has a 1961 Mini. Anthony Westwood was Maintenance engineer/supervisor from 1969 until 1999 and has a 1960 Mini while Keith Woodfield was in Engine Rectification from 1962 until 1992 and has a 1959 Mini. They spent the day educating local children about what the factory had achieved using the large amount of books brochures and press cuttings they had brought with them.











David Wilkes of Birmingham has restored his 1923 Austin 7 C Van in the livery of the vehicle used by Austin in the van’s brochure. He cannot be sure his van was not that actual van but equally cannot confirm it was as no record exists of which van went to which customer. It was called a C Van because of its distinctive cabin profile shaped like a letter C. Donaldson’s Butchers of Kings Lynn are still trading.









A convoy of over 40 cars came from Cowley to Longbridge.


























Mr Bean came up from Cowley.


















  Worcester MGOC having a picnic







Dr. Moulton’s Home Visit – 29th July 2012.

On Sunday 29th July, this very special event took place at the home of Dr. Alex Moulton – the highly talented engineer who designed and developed suspension systems for many cars produced in the second half of the last century, mainly by the British Motor Corporation, British Leyland, and later by Rover. Dr. Moulton is also known worldwide for his innovative bicycle designs, and has a small factory producing Moulton bicycles close by his home in Wiltshire. The Sunday meeting was organised by Spencer Hall, aided by his wife Jan. (Spencer is also Treasurer for the Landcrab Owners Club). Members of other clubs were also to be seen with their cars, all of which have Moulton designed Hydrolastic suspension systems.

A gaggle of Moultons outside the museum

Amongst others, The Princess and Ambassador Owners Club were asked to provide a Princess and an Ambassador for display. Unfortunately an Ambassador was not to be found in time, but the club was extremely well represented by David Wicks with his Princess 2.2 HLS, and another fine looking gold Princess 2 HL, owned by a club member. Our sincere thanks to both attending members, and to Dave, who provided the following photographs and words.









Dr Moulton was on top form. He is a very likeable man and really does enjoy having visitors like this, although as you can see from the pictures, he is a very frail 92 year old now. Frail only in body though, I think, as he is still very sharp of mind and is quite jolly. It was a great privilege to meet such an icon and there is a sense that you are in the presence of living automotive history, comparable to meeting someone like Henry Ford or Alec Issigonis

Dr Moulton explains a Hydrogas Displacer.













Display outside the hall.









My car of the show - a genuine imported UTE

“Ute” which was an Australian version of the BMC 1800, this car has just finished a full restoration and really is superb.

Probably the real car of the show though, was Alex Moultons own Mini Cooper test vehicle. This is the car in which Moulton tested various settings of the prototype hydrolastic suspension, it is equipped with only two seats one of which slides from front to rear and in which the tester can monitor the suspension performance over various road deformities. We were told that the car is valued at £250,000!






The Great Man poses between two iconic cars.







            Mint HL owned by fellow PAOC member


531NOF Austin 1800 was a Press car









Longbridge Redevelopment
Latest plans for the Town Centre and Austin Park

The Main changes to the town center are that provision has been allocated for a new
130,000 sq ft retail unit. Future phase to include Employment, Leisure, & Community Facilities.








Austin Park Revised Plans.


Changes have now been proposed for the Austin park. This is because in the original overall plan for the redevelopment of the longbridge site, the Railway Bridge (A38) was also to be demolished, but this has now been abandoned. So the course of the River Rea under the bridge will remain as it is. These changes will make the Park larger but a different shape. This will improved pedestrian access to the Town Centre and College from the Rubery area as they will be able to walk under the bridge on what was the bed of the railway lines, see below. You will see from the above plan that this will allow for further development on the Bristol Road by Bournville College









The Factory (Youth Centre)
Longbridge Lane

This will be officially opened in September.









Sport Facilities.








Stolen Austin Healey found after 42 years.

A Texas man can finally end his 42-year search for his stolen 1967 Austin Healey sports car thanks to his persistence, a couple detectives and eBay. The City of Brotherly Love was none too friendly to former resident Robert Russell. His car, which held sentimental value to him and his wife, was heisted from his Philadelphia, Pennsylvania home in October of 1970.

 But he never gave up searching for the vehicle. A LASD release says Russell, ‘continued his periodic search off and on for these many years, including on Internet websites such as eBay.’

In May 2012, Russell spotted what he thought was his car listed for sale on eBay and located at a car dealership in East Los Angeles. After comparing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) listed in the ad to that printed in the car’s Certificate of Title, Russell knew he’d found her








Russell contacted the East Los Angeles Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and Sheriff’s Detective Carlos Ortega along with the Philadelphia Police Department’s Major Crimes Auto Squad investigated the theft, finding that the VIN had been incorrectly entered into the system at the time of the theft report. The car, therefore, was never listed as stolen.

 Ortega recovered the vehicle from the dealership, ‘intact and in fair condition,’ says the release, ‘although requiring some exterior and interior work.

 Russell and his wife ventured to East LA several days later to reclaim the Austin Healey, which was swiftly transported back to Texas. Estimated to be worth $23,000, the Austin Healey was originally purchased for $3000.








BMC Rally 5 August 2012 Peterborough.

 The 19th Annual BMC/BL which this year took place on Sunday 5 August, has usually been blessed with good weather, but this was not the case this time, with showers throughout the day. Numbers were down, which both the weather and the main Olympic weekend probably played a part.

This annual event is still worth the trip, with a wide range of BMC/BL products on view. So let’s hope the sun shines in 2013.



























MG Rover workers get no payout.
(Birmingham Post - 9 August 2012)


The MG Rover Trust Fund is to be wound up after over seven years – without a penny going to 6,500 former workers forced out of Longbridge.

Trustees are finally calling time on the long-running cash saga after banking giant HBOS withdrew £12.5 million earmarked for ex-workers and the High Court rejected a legal bid for a reprieve earlier this year.

The end of the road comes over seven years after former Phoenix Venture Holdings chairman John Towers pledged up to £30 million for redundant workers – and follows a fruitless last-ditch plea to the Phoenix Four for personal contributions from their reported £42 million fortunes

Now plans have been drawn up to donate just over £20,000 originally allocated to set up the Trust Fund to a local children’s charity, dependent on workers’ approval.

Birmingham historian Carl Chinn, one of the four trustees, said: “After all this time, it is very disappointing and upsetting. The former directors have not seen fit to put substantial funds into the Trust to enable us to make proper payouts to the workers

“It is a very sad end to the saga. These people are very wealthy men based on the money we know they received from their time at Longbridge.







“There is just over £20,000 available and that will go to charity if ex-workers agree. There were genuine hopes (of payouts) but the Trust is now set to be wound up.”

Fellow trustee and former Unite union official Eric McDonald said: “The only thing we can say about the Phoenix Four is that they are the only people who have done very nicely, thank you, out of the collapse of MG Rover.

They have all done exceptionally well out of a company they only paid £10 for. They have become millionaires and have made no attempt to defend their positions. They got £42 million and all the MG Rover workers got was their redundancy pay from the state.”

Oliver Thomas of the Justice for Rover Workers campaign, said: “We have all feared deep down that the Trust Fund payments would never happen, despite all of the hot air that has come out of the Phoenix camp.

“But when the moment comes when you know that it is over, it is still very frustrating, given the money that they have walked away with.
Whilst their trust fund in Guernsey profited them millions, it is sad that the workers who were promised up to £30 million appear to have been
strung along.

“I personally now reject all comments from the Phoenix Four about the Trust Fund and whatever intentions they had. I’ve met with them several times and we were promised funds that never came.

“It still beggars belief that although this matter was questioned in the House of Commons and also through an inquiry and then passed to the Serious Fraud Office, no action was taken and no help given to ex-workers in terms of the Trust Fund from anybody within a senior Government position.”

MG Rover collapsed in April 2005 with debts of more than £1 billion, throwing 6,500 people out of work after nearly five years under the Phoenix regime.

Former chairman John Towers had initially estimated the value of Phoenix Venture Holdings assets for potential transfer to the Trust Fund as between £10 million and £30 million.

Around £12.5 million was raised from the sale of Studley Castle conference centre and some dealerships but the cash was withdrawn by banking giant HBOS who later said it was duty bound to miniise its losses as a creditor of MG Rover.

Former workers are now being asked to approve plans – through the Justice for Rover Workers website or Unite union – to channel the £20,000 available to a local charity before the donation can be made.









MG Motor UK announces expansion plans.
(Birmingham Post - 14 August 2012)


New jobs are being created through a multi-million pound redevelopment programme at MG Motor UK which will see its design centre double in size. The latest phase of the rebirth of Longbridge will see substantial investments in the design studio, the engine test centre and the factory ahead of the launch of a new diesel version of the MG6 later this year.

Meanwhile, the Chinese-owned firm is recruiting new engineers and designers to work on the next generation of MG cars as the firm prepares to hit the export trail to mainland Europe within two years








New production plans for MG Motor UK include the new diesel model and a Ford Fiesta-sized MG3 by the middle of next year, with a Ford Focus-sized MG5 and an MG SUV vehicle also in the pipeline.

The major expansion of the model line-up will see new jobs created at Longbridge as the Chinese owner looks to boost sales in the UK, China and eventually Europe. MG Motor UK Press and PR Manager Doug Wallace said: “Work has just started on a huge £1.5 million redevelopment of the design centre which will double the size of it, and we are investing £1.4 million in the engine test centre which will allow us to design engines and transmissions for future products.

In addition, £1.5 million is being invested in the factory to facilitate the introduction of the new diesel engine. It’s very much a gradual build process but we are getting there. “The work on the design centre will be complete by the end of this year and the work on the other two areas will be slightly longer. It’s all systems go for us.”

MG Motor UK’s transformation of Longbridge has already seen around £450 million invested across the board, while the firm’s plans for new models, allied to a series of new engines, aim to substantially increase output by the end of 2013.

Meanwhile, jobs being created include specialists in body engineering, engines, transmissions, vehicle integration and design. MG has also recently expanded into Egypt, Uruguay and New Zealand.

MG6 updates.







IMPROVED production methods have paid dividends for customers of the award-winning MG6 who will now get better fuel economy, reduced CO2 emissions and pay lower road tax.

And as an added bonus the on-the-road price of all MG6 GT and MG6 Magnette models have been reduced, thanks to the new systems.

Many of the production. advances have been made MG Motor UK's factory in Birmingham where final assembly and quality sign-off of the MG6 range is carried out. The cars are designed and engineered by 300 professionals at two centres of excellence at the site.

For the latest 2012 model year cars, CO2 figures drop from 184g/km to 174g,/km which reduces the Vehicle Excise Duty by one band. This saves £50 on the first year's road tax and £20 a year after that.

Fuel economy improves with the urban cycle increasing from 26.lmpg to 27.7mpg (+1.6mpg). The extra urban cycle rises from 45.2mpg to 48.7mpg (+3.5mpg) while the combined figure increases from 35.6mpg to 37.7 (+2.1mpg)

The improved VED figures mean that the recommended-on-the-road prices for all MG6 models are reduced by £40. Entry to MG6 ownership now starts from £15,455 for an MG6 GT fastback in S model trim.

On-the-road prices for MG6 GT models in SE trim have been cut from £16,995 to £16,955 and the TSE trim model comes down from £18,995 to £18,955 due to the changes. The price of the flagship MG6 Magnette model is reduced from £19,995 to £19,955

Guy Jones, sales and marketing director at MG Motor UK, said: "This is yet more good news from MG. It comes on top of a fantastic debut by Jason Plato and Andy Neate in racing versions of the MG in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

"We scooped the What Car? 2012 Security Award at the start of the year and we are expanding our dealer network all the time so things are really going well for us.

"But most important, people are now realising what a great value for money package the MG,6 is as well as being a fantastic car to drive."






Organised by the Austin Seven Clubs Association 20/21/22 July 2012

The official photograph. Austin Sevens with their owners (and past owners).

The Rain Gods were in a good mood over the weekend of the Warwick Austin Seven gathering and had moved on to pester someone else. The miserable weather that had characterised the weeks leading up to the event had been so wet that the prospect of 500+ vehicles driving around on his precious cricket pitches had prompted the head grounds man at Warwick School to have a holiday to get over the stress.

On the Thursday and Friday, marquees for the Austin Cinema and Member Clubs were erected and cars started to arrive, carefully avoiding the areas of grass deemed too soggy to drive on. It was touch and go whether all of the vehicles expected could fit into the space available as, first the early chummies, lighter and less likely to do any damage, were allowed onto the grass. A miraculously dry Friday night meant that more areas were opened up on Saturday morning, and just as well, as more Austin Sevens than were registered eventually arrived.

Saturday was a day of coming and goings as cars arrived from all over the country and abroad in their various forms. There may have been 530 Sevens but every single one was different, the result of up to 90 years of motoring and the attentions of all their different owners.







Mid-morning, the cars started to set out on a series of different runs that had been designed to take in the scenic beauty of Warwickshire. The good Burghers of Warwick had a very different Saturday shopping experience. Despite a large number of people taking advantage of the runs the field didn't seem to empty of cars and a relaxed mood set in

After an evening of eating, singing and, for the more energetic, dancing, Sunday dawned as an even more relaxed day. The sun was brighter than ever and the field was full of cars and activity.

The Eureka Jazz Band started playing to add to the atmosphere with Andy Lowe, the next Chairman of the Association on drums and were interrupted only occasionally for the events that punctuated the day

The first of these was the arrival of the Mayor of Warwick who gave a speech from a balcony that overlooked the field. Another was the official photograph, taken from the same vantage point, first with the owners standing next to their cars and then, after a mass exodus, choreographed by the Master of Ceremonies, Howard Annett, just the cars on their own. An exercise that was a lot more successful than anyone expected. Draught 'Orstin Seven Ale' sold out in the beer tent, the AGM took place in the school at which the new committee was voted in and a service took place in the School Chapel with an Austin Seven engine in attendance.

Archive films were shown in the Austin Cinema tent throughout the weekend with Club films going back to the 1960s illustrating the varied uses that Sevens have been put to by their owners. In one of the classrooms Phil Bailden, the Association Archivist put on a display of historic artifacts and a number of significant Sevens were gathered in a display organised by the Pre-war Austin Seven Club. In a side field the autojumblers autojumbled the weekend away with the need for a little less plastic sheeting than they have probably been used to this year.

The event was recorded in HD for a video that will be released by the Association in the next few weeks. A trailer for the video can be seen on YouTube that squeezes the whole of the Saturday morning into 75 seconds.

Tim Griffiths







Five o'clock Saturday morning the Austin Sevens lined up in the mist.


Ian Mason-Smith with Les Gammon and the
Mayor of Warwick, Councillor Mrs.Elizabeth Higgins.






The Eureka Jazz Band Pause between Numbers.

 Members of the boat tail register line up for a photograph                     

Posing for the official photograph on Sunday afternoon.






Forthcoming Events




26 – 27 August

Blenheim Classic Show


29 Aug – 2 Sept Great Dorset Steam Fair

1 – 2 Sept

British/Midland Championships

2 Sept

Dudley Classic Car Show


6 Sept

Ace Cafe
Classic Mini Italian job


8 – 9 Sept

International Auto-Jumble


9 Sept
National Mini Day


14 – 16 Sept Goodwood Revival


14 – 16 Sept Stoke Prior Steam Rally


15 – 16 Sept

British Commercial Vehicle
1960s / 70s Weekend










22 – 23 Sept

Kettering Vintage Rally
& Steam Fayre


23 Sept

MGB 50th
Birthday Party


13 - 14Sept

Malvern Classic Show
& Auto-jumble


21 Oct

Malvern Mini Show
& Spares Day


4 Nov

London To Brighton Veteran Car Run


16 – 18 Nov

NEC Footman James
Classic Motor Show







Please contact the organisers nearer the time, to check that the event is still ON







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.

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.

Opinions expressed in the Newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the 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 December edition - 26 November 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.

Editor. John Baker:-






Austin Federation Membership Application – Renewal 2012

 Membership Status            Individual                Club – Association

Membership Fee                      £5                                £10

 Please note that the annual subscription to the Austin Federation falls due on the 1st April 2012. If you have not already
done so – please renew your Club or Individual subscription now. Annual rates as shown above.

 Please make cheque payable to ‘The Austin Federation’ and send it to.

AF Chairman, 6 Appletree Close, Birmingham B31 2YP.

Name: Mr. Mrs. Ms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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