This company owes its future world fame to Sir Herbert Austin. As CEO of Wolseley, he founded the firm at the turn of the century in an old printing house in Longbridge and named it after himself. At first, she specialized in the manufacture of passenger cars. But the Austin program soon expanded to the point that light trucks were a natural extension of it.
The first small van Austin 15 cwt, built on a robust taxi chassis, appeared in 1908, at the head of the huge family of Austin trucks.
Herbert Austin, although he did not like trucks, but on the eve of a new war, anticipating large government orders, far-sightedly decided to expand their wide production. In December 1912, a series of two models with a carrying capacity of 2 and 3 tons was presented, which entered production from February of the following year. Soon, the range was expanded with 1.5- and 5-ton versions. They were equipped with 4-cylinder engines with a capacity of 20 and 30 liters. from. Due to the sloping iron-shaped hood and the radiator installed behind it, the trucks resembled French Renault cars, but their main highlight was hidden in something else. Austin was one of the first in the world to offer an individual rear-wheel drive system using two cardan shafts that transmitted rotation from a gearbox with a differential built into it to bevel gearboxes of each drive wheel. To compensate for the deflection of the shafts, the motor was installed with a slight tilt back, and springs were introduced into the rear suspension. In total, the company manufactured about 2,000 of these chassis, on which side or ambulance bodies were mounted, as well as cannon armament. Most of them went to the armed forces of Great Britain and its allies.
1915 In the summer of 1916, Austin switched to the production of modernized third-generation armored vehicles with Vickers machine guns, a second helm station, bulletproof glass in the viewing slots and rear dual slope wheels. During World War I, Austin produced 480 armored cars. Such armored vehicles were widely used in revolutionary events.
Until the mid-1950s. Austin almost unchanged produced the K2 and K4 series with a lifting capacity of 2-5 tons, equipped with a 4-liter engine with a capacity of 85-90 liters. from. The first post-war novelty in 1948 was the cabover K8 truck and van with a payload of 1.00–1.25 tons, equipped with a 68-horsepower gasoline engine and a spacious body, on each side of which there was one wide double door. By 1954, the car was being offered with a Perkins diesel. At the same time, the production of pickups and vans on serial light chassis A30, A40 and A70 with a payload of 250-500 kg flourished, and on the basis of the most prestigious sedan A135 various vans and special versions of bodies were produced.
In 1949, Austin began production of what is arguably its most famous K9 Loadstar bonnet truck, with a streamlined bonnet and fenders. It was offered in versions with a carrying capacity of 2–5 tons, and was equipped with the same 4-liter 90 hp engine. from. and a vacuum brake booster. One of the options was a K9WD 1-ton army truck with a 92-horsepower engine, a new synchronized 4-speed gearbox and a 2-speed transfer case. 1954 saw the introduction of the original K4 prototype cab-over-engine truck - Austin's last independent work on trucks.
By the early 1950s. most British car companies are in dire financial straits. In 1952 Austin and Morris merged into one of the largest British automobile concerns, British Motor Corporation (BMC).
The creation of the Navy concern led to the interweaving of the Austin and Morris lineups. For some time, light vans and pickups on passenger chassis remained a specialty of Austin, and Morris retained leadership in the development of trucks. At the same time, Austin cars differed from Morris models only in markings, a different exterior design and a wider configuration. This strange cooperation began in 1952 with the appearance on the market of the 1 ton wagon type Austin 1 ton and 1S ton, identical to the Morris LD1 and LD2 cars. In the cargo range, the leadership belonged to the very attractive light bonneted cars Morris LC and the cabover FV / FE series with a carrying capacity of up to 5 tons. The first ones in the Austin program had the same marking, the second were called more prosaically Austin 3 ton.
In the second half of the 1950s. the independence of the Austin brand was determined only by the modernized range of pickups on light chassis A35, A55 and A60 with a payload of 300-400 kg. The main light van of this period was the Morris J2 with a payload of 750 kg, which was almost identical to the Austin-152, differing only in tubeless tires. At the same time, the new Morris WE series 2-, 3- and 5-ton bonnet trucks in different versions were sold under the Austin S203 and 504 brands, and the Morris FF / FH cabover with a payload capacity of 5-8 tons with a rather attractive all-metal cab had their twin Austin -45. These machines used 6-cylinder, 4-liter gasoline engines with a capacity of 90 hp. from. or 105-horsepower Navy diesels, synchronized 4-speed gearboxes, hydraulic drive with vacuum booster, hydraulic shock absorbers in the suspension, power take-off shafts and a tire inflation pump.
In 1959, Austin surprised the world with its most notable 1.5-5.0t payload trucks, known as the FG. In its program, they were called S200 and 404. The greatest excitement concerned the cab above the engine with two small windows in the lower part of the front side rounded panels that allowed the driver to see the roadside in front of the front wheels, and two entrance doors located at an angle of 45 ° in the rear corners of the cab ... In the fully open position, the door edge did not extend beyond the overall width of the vehicle. This made it possible to get out of the car, even if it was standing close to the wall, and also, opening the door, to observe the loading. Such an intricate design made it possible to bring visibility from the driver's seat to circular. From a technical point of view, the cars remained classic trucks, which were equipped with gasoline engines from Austin passenger cars with a capacity of 61 or 90 hp. from. and two diesel engines with direct injection (55 and 68 hp). They only lasted eight years in production.
In the first half of the 1960s. nervous shuffling in the program continued, and there was no time to invent new markings for cars of different companies. In the range of light vans, the compact "twins" Morris J4 and Austin J4 appeared with a payload of 900 kg, and among cabover vehicles with a payload of 5-7 tons, the Morris FJ and Austin FJ counterparts with a folding cab and diagonal headlights prevailed. In other truck series, the Austin brand was no longer present. A new field of activity in the cargo area suddenly appeared with the creation of the legendary front-wheel drive Mini passenger car, which from the early 1960s. under the Austin and Morris brands, it was offered as a minivan and a pickup truck with a payload capacity of 250-300 kg.
In 1968, the economic crisis led to the inclusion of the Navy in the new British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC). As a result, all the trucks that survived by that time were first branded by the Navy, and then Leyland. True, there were also rare echoes of past glory. The last significant novelty of both firms is the 1-ton van ВМС-250JU with the engine installed under the floor with a slight angle of inclination. In commemoration of a long partnership, it was briefly renamed Austin-Morris. Until the last days, only light vans on the chassis of serial cars remained in the Austin program. These were the Metro and Maestro models, produced until 1987.