1933 Austin 12/4 Harley Saloon

Make: Austin
Model: 12/4 Harley Saloon
Year: 1933
Registration Number: PO 7738
Chassis Number: H5561
Engine Number: HC4373
MOT Test Expiry: Exempt
Guide Price: £9000 - 11500
Road Tax Exempt

The 1930s saw a number of family saloons on offer from a variety of manufacturers in the 7 to 12 horse power range. Austin had had great success with their Heavy 12/4 models in the late twenties, but it was thought necessary to produce a car with a little more performance. Hence the Light 12/4 was developed as The Harley and later the Ascot and New Ascot before war intervened. All these were considered tough and reliable like their previous offerings, but were generally more nimble and a little more sporty looking.

PO 7738 was purchased new by a lady in Pulborough on 12th June 1933. It had the four cylinder engine, coupled to a four speed manual gearbox. Nothing further was known until the motor car reappeared in Worthing with a taxi / car hire firm, and it appears to have spent the next twenty years in Sussex, but retired on the introduction of the MOT test, for which it was deemed unlikely to pass.

In 1972, a new owner acquired PO 7738 and set about a complete and thorough restoration of the car, obtaining a first time MOT pass, some four years later on 22nd June 1976. In 1986 it was acquired by a well-known Austin/Morris enthusiast as part of his collection. He is said to have driven the 12/4 to Le Mans on two occasions and then stored it with others until 2014. The next owner was able to purchase the car out of this jealously guarded collection; the new custodian then carried out a careful re-commissioning of the mechanics, bought two new tyres and tided up the paintwork.

Our Southern Area Operative finally caught up with the Harley, which he had been after for some while, for he knew it to be good and within his modest maintenance capabilities. Although no MOT test is now required, the car was driven to Beech Hill Garage near Reading for their classic- orientated mechanics to check right over and service with fresh oils throughout. After more than a year of enjoyable outings, including The 2016 ‘Daffodil Run’, we have managed to persuade him to put it in our Summer Sale, which he was supposed to have done in the first place….

Now offered in seemingly robust condition, with forty year old blue/black paintwork showing signs of age, but greatly cheered by good chrome and a lovely interior in brown leather (which is thought to be original in the rear), reasonable carpets and mats and a tidy headlining. All instrumentation is correct, but the timepiece has stopped and fuel gauge seems dubious. The engine starts easily on full choke with foot well away from throttle when cold and she drives, steers and brakes as in period.

The motor car comes with its V5C registration certificate, a history file of mostly recent work and a further file of Photocopied Handbook with Spares List.