Although the number of vehicles on the roads of the United Kingdom was now over 2 million (1,984,430 cars, 89,410 'hackneys', 504,028 commercials), both production and exports showed a downward trend. 1938 production of cars in the UK dropped to 341,028, that of trucks and buses to 103,849. Exports of cars dropped from 78,113 to 68,257 units. In order to make British cars more attractive in export markets, several manufacturers had for some time been producing engines with a large cylinder bore (which, within the United Kingdom, resulted in higher road tax, the taxation system being based mainly on the cylinder bore). Conversely, several American cars had been or were available with special 'tax-cheating' small-bore engines. New vehicle registrations during 1938 totalled 427, 578 and included 280,217 cars and 8,843 'hackneys'.
AC (Acedes) Cars Ltd offered 16/60,16/70 and 16/80 chassis and a variety of body styles. Pictured left is the Two-Seater Sports Competition model on the 16/80 chassis. It was capable of a cruising speed of 90 mph, 'under favourable conditions'. A 16/70 Four-Seater version was available also. Both were priced at £500.
AC 16/60 Five-Passenger Wide Track Greyhound Saloon
The AC 16/60 Five-Passenger Wide Track Greyhound Saloon was company's topline model, costing £585. It had 9 ft 11 in wheelbase and 4 ft 5 in track, compared with 9 ft 7 in and 4 ft 2 in on other models (except Two-Seater Competition Sports which had 8 ft 10in wheelbase).
The Alvis Silver Crest was a six-cylinder engine chassis and George Lanchester had a great deal of say in the design of it. The Alvis 12/70 shared the same basic engineering but had only four cylinders. The Silver Crest Drophead Coupe pictured left had bodywork by Tickford.
Armstrong Siddeley 17 HP Saloon
The Armstrong Siddeley 17 HP chassis had 2394-cc (66·67 x 114 mm) six-cylinder engine and four-speed gearbox. Shown left is a Armstrong Siddeley with Landaulette coachwork by Salmons & Sons of Newport Pagnell, Bucks.
The Austin Seven was in its last full year. There were Saloon (Model ARR, shown), Cabriolet (AC), Tourer (AAL) and Two-seater (APE) body styles. From July they had full Girling brakes and concealed bonnet hinges. In 1939 the Seven and the 7·99 HP Big Seven were superseded by a new Eight.
The Austin Fourteen Goodwood Cabriolet was similar to Fourteen Goodwood Saloon except for the roll-back roof as shown. Wheelbase was 9 ft 4 in. Engine was a 1711-cc (65·5 x 84·63 mm) side valve Six, developing 52 bhp and rated at 15·96 HP. Ten Cambridge Saloon and Conway Cabriolet looked similar but were somewhat smaller and had four-cylinder 32-bhp power unit.
The Austin Eighteen Iver was a seven-seater Limousine on 10ft 3 in wheelbase chassis, powered by a 65-bhp 17·9 HP side-valve six engine of 2510-cc capacity (69·35 x 111 mm). Without sliding glass partition it was known as the Windsor Saloon, with 9 ft 4¼ in wheelbase (five-seater) as the Norfolk.
The British Salmson range comprised S4C 12 HP, S40 14 HP and 20/90 models, all shown in this period advertisement. The former two had four-cylinder engines, rated at 11·9 and 12·8 HP respectively. The 20/90 was a Six and was the only model continued for 1939.
British Salmson 20/90 14HP Six-Cylinder Two-Seater Sports
British Salmson 20/90 Six-Cylinder Two-Seater Sports. This attractive model sold at £645. The 20/90 was mechanically similar to the 14 HP with the main exception of the engine. Both had 9 ft 4* in wheelbase.
BSA Scout Series 4 Two-Seater De Luxe
The BSA Scout Series 4 Two-Seater De Luxe cost £156 10s and had an aluminium-panelled body with frame of selected ash. It had a three-speed gearbox with dash-mounted remote control, and front-wheel drive. Engine was 1203-cc (63·5 x 95 mm) side-valve Four. A four-seater version was also available, both in standard and de luxe form. All Scouts had independent front suspension with quarter-elliptic leaf springs.
BSA Scout Series 4 Two-Seater De Luxe
The BSA Scout Coupe De Luxe sold at £179 but could be ordered with twin carburettors for £5 5s extra. It was a two-seater with large luggage space behind the bench-type seat and had a sliding roof as standard equipment.
The Daimler DB 18 Roadster with Charlesworth bodywork with Mr R S (Bob) Crouch (later Daimler bus sales manager) who rallied it during 1938/39. In 1938 Daimler offered three Sixes (16·2. 19·3 and 23·8 HP) and two in-line Eights (25·7 and 31·7 HP).
The Daimler Light Straight Eight chassis had 10ft 3 in wheelbase and was used by several well-known coach builders, including Arthur Mulliner, Vanden Plas, James Young, Freestone & Webb, Salmons & Sons. etc. The engine was an OHV straight-eight of 3421-cc capacity (72x 105 mm), rated at 25·7 HP. Like all contemporary Daimlers it had Fluid Flywheel transmission incorporating four-speed pre-selective epicyclic gearbox. Rear axle was underslung three-quarter floating worm driven type.
Ford 22 HP V8 Model 62 was basically similar to 1936/37 model but had larger boot and detail modifications. Bumper overriders were no longer fitted and the small circular grilles below the headlights incorporated V8 emblems. Prices were up by £30 and the Saloon now cost £240.
Ford 30 HP V8 Model 81A, delivered to the British Army. Basically the North American Ford V8 Station Wagon, this particular RHD model was fitted with 9·00-13 (vs. 6·00-16) tyres and the wing cut-outs were enlarged to provide extra clearance. Other British fittings were the semaphore type direction indicators and the wing-mounted sidelights.
The Frazer-Nash Colmore had a three/four-seater touring body. It cost £550 and is shown left with full weather protection installed. The wheelbase was 9 ft., the standard engine a 1657-cc (60 x 97·9 mm) twin-OHC Blackburne Six with two SU carburettors. Four-cylinder power units were also available. Like all Frazer-Nashes it had an unorthodox transsmission system with dog-clutch gear-change and separate chains for each of the four forward ratios to the differential-less rear axle.
The Hillman 'Little Jim' was the earliest ancestor of the Imp 7. Only two prototypes were produced in about 1938 but for some reason or other the project was cancelled and the cars were subsequently dismantled. Pictured left is the unitary construction bodyshell of what would seem to have been an attractive looking little car.
The Hillman Minx 1938 models had a restyled radiator grille and full-width bumpers. Pictured left is the Drophead Coupe, the top of which could be adjusted to three individual positions, open, de Ville (shown) and closed. It was priced at £215.
The Hillman Minx Saloon in the 1938 Monte Carlo Rally. It was driven by the well-known Dutch driver Maus Gatsonides who covered the route without loss of marks. The car is seen here at the Bulgaria-Yugoslavia frontier, together with another Dutch entry (1937 Ford V8 Coupe).
The Hillman Fourteen Saloon had a 13·9 HP four-cylinder engine, all-synchromesh gearbox, Evenkeel independent front suspension and other refinements. Tyres were 5·75-16 on pressed steel wheels. Radiator grille was similar to that of the Minx. Prices £248 to £268.
The Humber Sixteen Saloon was the lowest-priced six-cylinder Humber so far, at £330. Except for engine, radiator grille and minor details it resembled the Hillman Fourteen. The radiator grille was similar to that of the Snipe. Engine was a 2576.5-cc (67·5 x 120 mm) side-valve unit, rated at 16·95 HP. Wheelbase was 9 ft 6 in, tyre size 6·00-16.
Humber Snipe chassis was now offered in two versions, viz. the 20·9 HP shown here and the larger Snipe Imperial. The 20·9 HP resembled the Humber Sixteen but had 75-mm cylinder bore, resulting in 3181-cc cubic capacity. Wheelbase was 9 ft 6 in and the Saloon shown cost £345.
The Humber Snipe Imperial Six-light Saloon with sliding roof cost £495. The 4085·7-cc engine (85 x 120 mm) was rated at 26·88 HP and was the same as used in the Pullman chassis. Tyre size was 7·00-16, wheelbase 10ft 4 in.
The Humber Pullman chassis had 11 ft wheelbase and 7.50-16 tyres but otherwise its technical specification was much like that of the Snipe Imperial Shown are two typical examples of Thrupp & Maberly coachwork on this chassis.
Lagonda offered six and V-12-cylinder chassis. Pictured left is a Drophead Coupe on the former, which carried the model designation LG6 The chassis prices were £875 and £895 for 10ft 7½ in. and 11 ft 3½ in. wheelbase size respectively. Engine was a 4453-cc (88·5 x 120·64 mm) OHV unit, rated at 29·13 HP. Complete cars cost from £1150 up to £1540. V-12 chassis (4480 cc) were priced from £1200 up to £1250. depending on wheelbase, complete cars from £1485 to £1875.
The MG VA-Series 1½-Litre had four-cylinder 1548-cc (69.5x 102 mm) OHV engine with twin SU carburettors, developing 55 bhp at 4400 rpm. Saloon, Tourer and Drophead Coupe body styles were offered and some 2400 were produced during 1937-39.
The Morris Fourteen Six, Series Ill, had the same bodywork as Series II of 1936/37 but a new overhead-valve engine and several detail improvements and modifications. The engine was a six-cylinder 1818-cc (61·5 x 102 mm) unit, rated at 14·07 HP. Wheelbase was 8 ft 10in., tyre size 6.00-16.
The Morris Twenty-Five, Series Ill, looked like a stretched Fourteen Six and had built-out luggage boot. Wheelbase was 10ft 1½ in., tyre size 7·00-16. Engine was a 3485-cc (82 x 110 mm) OHV Six, rated at 25·01 HP. Saloon cost £320.
The Morris Twenty-Five, Series Ill Special Coupe sold at £345. Optional extra equippment included a folding luggage grid at rear. Mechanically it was similar to the Twenty-Five Saloon.
Railton Hudson-Terraplane Hybrid
Railton was Anglo-American ('hybrid') car produced in Cobham, Surrey. Chassis and engine were Hudson Terraplane (4168-cc sideevalve straight-eight). The chassis price in 1938 was £438 for 10ft 2 in wheelbase, £540 for 10ft 9in.
RolIs-Royce 25/30 HP Park Ward All-Weather coachwork
Pictured left is a RolIs-Royce 25/30 HP 11 ft wheelbase chassis with Park Ward All-Weather coachwork. The 25/30 HP had a 4257 -cc (89 x 114 mm) six-cylinder engine and 6.00-19 tyres. The bare chassis cost £1100.
The RolIs-Royce 40/50 HP Phantom III had a V-12-cylinder engine of 7340-cc cubic capacity (82·5 x 114 mm), rated at 50·7 HP. As usual, Rolls-Royce did not disclose the actual power output; it was considered 'adequate'.
The RolIs-Royce 40/50 HP Phantom III had 10 in longer wheelbase and six more cylinders than the 25/30 HP. The tyre size was 7·00-18 and the bare chassis cost £1900. A factory-supplied Saloon cost £2675, a Limousine £2670.
The Rover Twelve Sports Saloon was a four-light model but was also available as a six-light Saloon. Prices were £310 and £300 respectively. Power unit was a 1495·72-cc (69x 100 mm) OHV Four. Wheelbase 9 ft 4 in., Tyres 5·25-17. Fourteen and Sixteen models looked much the same and were also available as Six-light or Four-light Sports Saloons. The top-line Twenty, or Speed, was a larger-bore version of the Sixteen. available only as Sports Saloon (£425).
The Singer Bantam De Luxe had a new 8·93 HP 1074-cc four-cylinder OHC engine. It cost £149 10s. Available for £10 less was the Bantam Popular which was similar but did not have the De Luxe's sliding roof, luggage carrier, leather seating and bumpers. Both had three-speed gearbox, 7 ft 7 in wheelbase and 5.00-16 tyres on 'easy clean' wheels.
The Singer Twelve Drophead Coupe sold at £279 and was the company's top-line model. Mechanically it was similar to the Twelve and Super Twelve Saloons, featuring an 11·4 HP 1525-cc four-cylinder OHC engine, four-speed gearbox, semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear and 8 ft 7 in wheelbase. Tyre size was 5·25-16 (5·50-16 on Super Twelve).
The SS Jaguar for 1938 was available in 3½, 2½ and 1½-Litre form with HP ratings of 25, 20 and 14 respectively. All engines were produced by the Standard Motor Co and incorporated Weslake patents. 'The Motor' described the Jaguar as ' ... a credit to the British Automobile Industry.'
Standard Flying Nine, Ten, Twelve, Fourteen and Twenty
The Standard Flying Ten Super Saloon with 1267-cc (63·5 x 100 mm) engine and four-speed gearbox. 1938 models had restyled radiator grilles. They were generally referred to as Flying Standards. The range included Flying Nine, Ten, Twelve, Fourteen and Twenty models. The latter had a six-cylinder engine. all the others were Fours. The limited production V8 (see British and European Car Spotters Guide - 1937) was still available, at £325.
The Talbot 1938 models at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1937. In the centre is the then-new 3-Litre Saloon which was based on the Humber Super Snipe. On the right is the Ten Sports Tourer, based on the Hillman Minx, (Like Hillman and Humber, the Clement Talbot company was part of the Rootes Group; later in the year the company and the cars were re-named Sunbeam-Talbot).
Triumph offered Dolomite, Vitesse and Gloria models for 1938. Various types of engines were available. Left is the Dolomite 2-Litre Saloon which had a 15.72 HP 1991-cc (65 x 100 mm) six-cylinder OHV engine. It was optionally available with a four-cylinder engine of 1767-cc (75 x 100 mm, 13·95 HP) or 1496-cc (69 x 100 mm, 11·81 HP) capacity. All power units were now of Triumph design and manufacture. Wheelbase was 9 ft 8 in, tyre size 5.50-17.
The Triumph Vitesse 14/60 4-Window Saloon had the 1767-cc Four engine, 9 ft wheelbase and 5·00-17 tyres. In 2-Litre six-cylinder form it looked generally similar but the wheelbase (and bonnet) were 8 in longer and the tyre size was 5·25-17.
The Vauxhall Ten H-Series Model HI Saloon, also known as Ten-Four. This was the first British car with unitary body-cum-chassis construction and it remained in production until World War 2, after which it was continued until 1947 as Model H IY. Produced concurrently with the H-Series 10 HP was the I-Series 12 HP. Both had Dubonnet-type independent front suspension with torsion bars.
The Vauxhall 25 HP G-Series, Model GY Saloon. It had a wheelbase length of 9 ft 3 in but was available also with 10ft 10in. wheelbase, designated Model GL. Both had a 3215-cc OHV Six engine and independent front suspension. Prices. GY Saloon £315. GL Grosvenor Limousine £595. Special coachwork on this chassis included a Tickford Foursome Coupe by Salmons & Sons (£410), four-door Wingham Cabriolet by Martin Waiter (£415) and Grosvenor Close-Coupled Sports Saloon (£385).
The Wolseley Twenty-Five Super Six, Series Ill, had a 3485-cc (82 x 110 mm) OHV six-cylinder engine, rated at 25·01 HP, four-speed gearbox, 9 ft 9½ in wheelbase (Limousine variant 12 ft 1¼ in). All models had illuminated Wolseley badge on radiator grille.
The Wolseley Super Sixes all looked alike. Differences were mainly in engine cubic capacity (1818 to 3485 cc). Wheelbase of Saloon models was 8 ft 10in. for 14/56 and 18/80 models. 9 ft 9½ in. for 16, 21 and 25 HP. Pictured left is a 25 HP with 7·00-16 tyres.