- Herbert AUSTIN,
the founder of the Austin Motor Company, was born at Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire, on
November 8th, 1866.
- At the age of sixteen he
went to Australia and first joined an uncle who was Works Manager of a Melbourne general
engineering firm. During the following years he worked with six different engineering
companies until, soon after his twenty-seventh birthday, he was asked by Frederick
Wolseley, by whom he was then employed, to return to Birmingham, England, to supervise the
manufacture of sheep shearing equipment. He accepted, and the firm prospered. In 1895 he
built, as an experiment, a tiller-steered three wheeler car. A second followed in 1896 and
this was exhibited at the Crystal Palace.
- The experiments continued
and in 1900 he built and entered for the Automobile Club of Great Britain 1,000 Mile
Trial, a four wheeler, with a horizontal single cylinder engine. It won first prize. In
1901 the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company was founded at Adderley Park, Birmingham, and
Herbert Austin was installed as Manager. Under his direction Wolseley cars of the next few
years won international renown, but in the early summer of 1905 he resigned and looked
around for somewhere to start on his own.
- After numerous exploratory cycle rides all round
Birmingham, he came to Longbridge, seven miles out of the city. There he found a small
derelict printing works, which proved to be just what he wanted. Friends came forward with
financial help and the Austin Motor Company was born.
- Herbert Austin