The Austin 8 was a small car made by the Austin Motor Company. Launched 24 February 1939[1] and produced into the war until 1943, about 9,000 – 9,500 of the wartime Austin models were two-seater military 8AP tourers produced for the armed services and government, and the rest were four light saloons, six light saloons, two and four seater tourers and vans. After World War II, the model was made from 1945 until 1948.

By the late 1930s, sales of Austin’s big seller, the Austin 7, were declining and the 1938 addition to the range of the 900 cc “Big 7” did little to fill the demand, as despite its larger engine its suspension and handling were still rooted in its early 1920s origins. A restyled and re-engineered range of cars had started to appear in 1937 with the Cambridge 10 with its much more streamlined look, and following the arrival of Leonard Lord development of a proper 8 hp car was accelerated. First the “new” engine was advertised to be 27HP, but later it was corrected to the same rate as the Big 7, which was 24HP.

The new car, which was displayed to dealers in February 1939, kept the 900 cc, four-cylinder, side-valve engine from the Big 7, now with a higher 6.5:1 compression ratio, but had a completely new chassis. This was halfway to full unitary construction in that the main member was a pressed steel floor pan with a box section welded down each side of the car with three others going across the floor. The body was then bolted to this structure. Suspension was by semi-elliptic leaf springs with hydraulic dampers.

Two- and four-door saloon bodies were made as well as two- and four-seat tourers, and vans. About 47,600 were made before war closed production in 1943. In 1945, production restarted, but there were no more tourers or two-door saloons.