1908 Austin 100hp Grand Prix racing car at PCB Live

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In the winter of 1907/8, Austin built a team of four cars to be entered in the French Grand Prix. Two of these had chain drive and two were shaft drive.

Both the shaft-driven cars crashed in practice and parts were amalgamated to build a ‘fifth’; a shaft drive car, which is the car you can see on display whilst visiting the PCB Live event.

Three Austins were eventually brought to the starting line, driven by Warwick Wright, Dario Resta and J T C Moore-Brabazon (later Lord Brabazon of Tara). Warwick Wright retired with a seized engine but Moore-Brabazon and Resta finished in 18th and 19th places respectively, the only British cars to finish the race. This car, the only survivor from the team, is Moore-Brabazon’s Austin.

The Grand Prix model was not an entirely special model as it shared many parts with the 60hp touring car. Perhaps unsurprising, it was therefore no match for the Continental opposition.

This was Austin’s only Grand Prix appearance and the cars were sold off afterwards, advertised as ‘fast tourers’. This particular car was owned for a number of years by Sir Hickman Bacon, who lived in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. He had a special touring body made for the car, which could be detached to leave a two-seater. Hickman Bacon presented the car back to Austin in the 1950s.

Pre-register as a PCB Live visitor and receive a free British Motor Museum pass (worth £14.95) to see this and almost 300 other fascinating vehicles from the UK’s automotive past whilst you are on site. Pre-registered visitors also benefit from abundant free parking right outside the show, a free bacon roll and brew for those arriving before 1030, and free tea and coffee on site all day.