Produced from 1932 to 1947. There were around 290,000 ’10/4’s made.
The Austin 10 was a small car made by Austin. It was launched in 1932 and was Austin’s best selling car in the 1930s and continued in production, with upgrades, until 1947. It fitted in between the “baby” Austin 7 which had been introduced in 1922 and the Austin 12 which had been updated in 1931.
The design of the car was conservative with a pressed steel body built on a cross braced chassis. The chassis was bought in and was designed to give a low overall height to the car by dipping down by 2.75 inches between the axles.
The 1,125-cc four-cylinder side-valve engine producing 21 bhp drove the rear wheels through a four-speed gearbox and open drive shaft to a live rear axle. Suspension was by half-elliptic springs all round and the brakes were cable operated. The electrical system was 6 volt.
For the first year only, a four-door saloon was made in two versions. The basic model cost £155 and was capable of reaching 55 mph with an economy of 34 mpg; it was rapidly followed by the Sunshine or De-Luxe with opening roof and leather upholstery at £168.
1933 saw the saloons joined by an open two-seater or “Open Road” tourer, a “Colwyn” cabriolet and a van. A sports model, the 65 mph, 30 bhp “Ripley” joined the range in 1934. Mechanical upgrades for 1934 included a stronger chassis, synchromesh on the top two gears and 12-volt electrics.
The first styling change came in late 1934 with a change to the radiator when the plated surround or cowl was replaced by one painted in body colour and it was given a slight slope. Synchromesh was added to second gear and “semaphore” type indicators were standardised. The saloon was given the name “Lichfield” and got a protruding boot which enclosed the spare wheel.
A new body style was added in 1936 with the six light (three windows down each side, with one behind the rear door) “Sherbourne” but the big change came in 1937 with the almost streamlined “Cambridge” saloon and “Conway” cabriolet. Other changes included Girling rod brakes, 16-inch steel disc wheels replaced the 19-inch wires and more room for passengers by moving the engine forwards by 4 inches. Top speed rose to 60 mph . These changes did not appear on the open cars, which no longer included the Ripley sports, until 1938 when all cars also gained an aluminium cylinder head on the engine.
A virtually new car was launched in 1939 with the body shell incorporating the floor to give a semi-unitary structure. The car was completely restyled by Argentine born Ricardo “Dick” Burzi who had joined Austin from Lancia in 1929. The bonnet was hinged at the rear, replacing the side-opening type on the old car and the radiator grille became rounded and there was no cabriolet.
In spite of the outbreak of World War II, production of the Austin 10 continued in large numbers but there were no tourers but there was a pick-up. In all during the war 53,000 of the saloons, pick-ups and vans, the last two unofficially known as “Tillies”, were made.
With peace in 1945 a change was immediately made to civilian production but with the post-war financial crisis they were nearly all exported with the first one arriving in the United States in July 1945.
The car continued in production in saloon form only until October 1947 to be replaced by the A40. The van also re-appeared post-war with a slightly larger 1,237-cc engine.