During 1948 many new models were introduced to the UK market. These were the real post-war designs with new modern full-width bodywork and usually with such features as independent front suspension, steering column gear change, bench-type front seats, etc. Most of them were not available for the domestic market where buyers had to be content with earlier models. These, however, were gradually phased out of production because manufacturers needed all their production capacity for the new models, and owing to a drastic change in the road tax system (a flat rate, rather than based on the old hypothetical RAC formula) there was no longer such a need for the old-fashioned small-bore Eights and Tens.
Rationalization and concentration on a minimum number of different models were of paramount importance. Some 330,000 cars were produced, more than two-thirds of which were exported. UK registrations numbered 112,666 new cars and just over 10,000 'hackneys'. 221 cars were imported. New car prices, where quoted, were valid in May 1945, and include purchase tax, unless stated otherwise. One of the biggest events of 1948 was the first post-war London Motor Show at Earls Court, in October/November. It was the first since 1939, and most manufacturers displayed their new models, the majority of which are considered 1949 models. By 1948 the Italians were producing cars with integral wheel arches instead of the original wings. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the Americans were making much larger bulbous cars and embellishing them with considerable quantities of chrome.
The immediate post-war years were bad ones for French car designers. The 1948 Peugeot 203 is a car which typifies the over-rounded look - and it was remarkably like the Standard Vanguard. The styling of French 'cars of this era generally tends to run to extremes. They were often either utilitarian to the point of absurdity, or almost impossibly futuristic. The famous Citroen DS 19 achieved a degree of advanced styling which for a 1956 car verged on the impossibly radical. French cars are most easily identified by the comfort they provide and by their unusual engineering features. A number of older French cars seem to portray a vaguely oriental appearance. This, on many of them, can be attributed to a spindly construction, with wheels that were too large, and oversize headlights mounted a little too closely together.
AC continued their 2-Litre model. mainly in two-door Saloon form. Pictured left is a rare and rather ungainly 'shooting brake', built on the same chassis. Similar bodies appeared on other high-grade chassis, including Alvis and Riley When equipped with rear doors and folding rear seat, like this example, they were classed as Utility Cars.
The Alvis Fourteen Model TA14 Drophead Coupe was introduced in January 1948, and offered until September of the following year. The bodywork was by Carbodies Ltd, whose plant was opposite Alvis' own, in Coventry's Holyhead Road. The chassis price was £665 (basic), while the complete car cost £1276, which was the same price as for the Saloon.
Armstrong Siddeley Typhoon 2 door, Lancaster 4 door Saloon and Hurricane Drophead Coupe
Armstrong Siddeley continued their 1947 Sixteen 2-Litre programme, comprising the Typhoon two-door and Lancaster four-door Saloons and the Hurricane Drophead Coupe. The Drop Head Coupe cost £1247. The Typhoon, which was also known as Sportsman's Saloon, carried the same price tag. All three were superseded, in September 1949, by 2309-cc engined models.
Aston Martin and Lagonda were taken over in 1947 by David Brown (later Sir David). At this time the tubular chassis and a new 1970-cc OHV engine were still under development. Shown is the first DB Aston Martin, the car that won the Spa 24-hour race in 1948. The picture shows the car as it was at the 1948 London Motor Show, with revised bodywork. A similar car, called the Spa Replica, was marketed during 1948/49 at £3110.
Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports 2-4-seater was the first post-war Aston Martin to be offered to the public, at £2332 (October 1948). The prototype had run as a practice car at Spa. The 1970-cc (82·55 x 92 mm) four-cylinder pushrod OHV engine had a CR of 7·25:1 and twin SU carburettors. The maximum power output was 90 bhp at 4750 rpm (95 bhp on the Spa Replica model). Both cars had a four-speed gearbox and 9 ft wheelbase. The Sports (later known as DB1) had 5.75-16 tyres, the Spa Replica 5·25-18, both on wire spoke wheels. They were produced at Feltham in Middlesex.
Austin Sixteen Model BS1 Saloon and BW1 Countryman
The Austin A135 Princess, Model DS2. was mechanically similar to the A125 Sheerline, Model DS1, except for triple SU carburettors (v. single Stromberg) and higher final drive ratio. The main difference was that the £1277 Sheerline was entirely Austin-built. whereas the Austin A135 Princess had coachwork by Vanden PIas. Both had a 4-litre OHV Six engine and coil-spring independent front suspension. Successors to a long line of Austin Twenties, the A125 and A135 were continued for many years in various forms, including limousines and ambulances. Prices started at £2103.
Austin A40 2-door Dorset G2S2 and 4-door Devon Model GS2
Austin A40 two-door Dorset Model G2S2 and four-door Devon Model GS2 Saloons superseded the earlier Eight, Ten and Twelve in October 1947, at £403 and £416 respectively. The Dorset was phased out during 1948. They had a 1200-cc (65·48 x 89 mm) 40-bhp (10·7 HP) OHV Four engine with four-speed gearbox, independent front suspension with coil springs and Girling hydro-mechanical brakes. Wheelbase was 7 ft 8; in and tyre size 500-16. In March 1948. a 10-cwt Van (GV2) derivative was added, followed by Countryman (GP2) and Pick-up (GQU2) modifications thereof in September.
Austin A40s were sold in considerable numbers all around the world. The first A40 Devon in New York is shown here looking rather forlorn in Fifth Avenue traffic. When eventually discontinued in early 1952, over 344,000 A40s had been produced; 77% of these had been exported, earning £88 million in foreign currency.
In February 1950. it was announced that the A40 had been identified as the individual British product that had earned more dollars for Britain than any other one-make commodity. namely $70 million in 160 weeks.
Bond Aircraft and Engineering Co (Blackpool) Ltd of Longridge, Lancashire, introduced their first three-wheeler in mid-1948. Intended as a 'runabout for shopping and calls within a 20-30 mile radius', the car had a chassisless body of stressed-skin construction. It was powered by a 125-cc Villiers two-stroke engine, mounted on a swivelling fork which carried the front wheel, suspension being by means of a trailing link. The brakes operated only on the unsprung but resiliently and independently mounted rear wheels. Shown is a prototype. Quantity production commenced in 1949 with the Mark A.
By 1948, Citroen Cars Ltd (UK) had been assemblers of Citroen front-wheel drive cars for many years, importing the body pressings and mechanical components from France. Many British-made components and fittings were utilized. The Light Fifteen Model PVS was in production for exactly ten years, from October 1945, and in October 1948 was joined by the Series 15C Six which was similar but larger (wb 10ft 1½ in v. 9 ft 6½ in. 2866-cc six-cylinder engine v. 1911-cc Four. etc.).
The Commer Superpoise passenger-utility vehicle was based on light truck chassis. It was supplied to Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, Superrmarine Works. It was powered by what was basically the same 1944-cc four-cylinder engine as that used in the contemporary Humber Hawk, both makes being members of the Rootes Group.
Daimler continued their 2½-Litre DB18 in Saloon and Drophead Coupe form. The chassis was available at a basic price of £1065 for bodywork by other coachbuilders and shown here is a Drophead Coupe by Tickford Ltd of Newport Pagnell, Bucks.
The Ford Pilot Saloon, Model E71 A, was introduced in August 1947, and continued until 1951. Except for the front end, the four-door four-light bodywork was very similar to that of the pre-war 22 HP Model 62. When the Pilot was introduced there was to be a choice of 2·5 and 3·6-litre V8 engines, but it was soon decided to fit only the larger unit (basically identical to that of the contemporary Fordson Thames trucks). This 3622-cc (77·8 x 95·3 mm) unit produced 85 bhp at 3500 rpm and drove through a three-speed gearbox with steering-column mounted shift lever. Suspension was in the Ford tradition with rigid axles and transverse leaf springs. Available for export was an 'equipped chassis' (Model E71 C) for pick-up truck bodies. Some export models had vertical louvres in the bonnet side panels. A metal Estate Car variant was offered, but supplied almost exclusively to Government departments.
The Ford Anglia and Prefect were continued with little change except that in December 1947, the word 'Anglia' had been incorporated in the radiator grille badge and the Prefect had chrome radiator slats and plain hub caps from October 1947.
The Hillman Minx for 1948 was announced in December 1947, and known as the Mark II, was facelifted and modified in several respects. Bonnet, bumpers. front wings and dashboard were restyled and the four-speed gearbox had steering-column gearshift. The radiator grille was no longer integral with the bonnet and the headlamps were built-in. The wheels were now of the full-disc type. Another important modiification was the change from mechanical to hydraulic brakes. The Saloon was priced at £493.
The Hillman Minx Mark II Drophead Coupe featured the same improvements and modifications as the Mark 11 Saloon plus the omission of the 'hood irons' of the convertible top. The Mark II Minxes were not produced for very long. After nine months they were superseded by the entirely restyled Mark III models.
Hillman Minx Mark II Estate Car shared its rear body styling with the Minx-derived Commer light van.
HRG 1100 and 1500 Sports
HRG 1100 and 1500 sports two-seaters with their characteristic quarter-elliptic leaf-sprung tubular front axle were continued from 1947 but production of the 90-mph Aerodynamic model was dropped. The 1100 and 1500 were continued until the mid-1950s when all HRG production ceased.
The Humber Hawk, Snipe and Super Snipe were continued from 1947 with very little change except the adoption of steering-column gearshift on the Hawk, in September 1947. The system was called 'Synchromatic finger-tip gear change'. With this modification the Hawk was now known as Mark II but all three cars were discontinued in September/October and superseded in production by the entirely newly-styled Hawk Mark III and face-lifted Super Snipe Mark II.
The Humber Pullman was the first Humber to receive a post-war face-lift clearly from the same Rootes stylists responsible for the Hillman Minx Mark II. The Pullman in its basic form was a Limousine and the new edition, again bodied by Thrupp & Maberley, was designated Mark II. Pictured left are two special-bodied Pullmans, produced for the Royal Tour of Australia and New Zealand. Humber, in conjunction with the Governments concerned, provided three Landaulettes (right) and two Touring Cabriolets (left) for Australia, and two Landaulettes for New Zealand. In addition ten standard Pullman Limousines and nine Super Snipes were supplied for the two Tours.
The Invicta Black Prince Byfleet Drophead Coupe was produced in 1948 and was priced at £3890. It superseded the Wentworth Saloon which was still available to special order, but which was produced mainly in 1947. Both were made only in small numbers and had many unconventional design features such as a Brockhouse Turbo Torque Converter transmission giving infinitely variable gear ratios (plus epiicyclic reversing gear), X-form frame with torsion bar independent springging front and rear, inboard rear brakes, etc. The 2998-cc 120-bhp six-cylinder engine embodied a 24-volt dynamotor, coupled direct to the front end of the crankshaft. The power unit was based on a Meadows industrial engine and had twin overhead camshafts, non-adjustable valves and three SU carburettors. The coachwork was made by Jensen of West Bromwich.
Jaguar 1½, 2½ and 3½ Litre Saloon models were continued from 1947 and in October were joined by revised 3½ Litre Mark V models. Mid-1948 prices were: 1½- Litre £953 (special equipment model (1009), 2½-Litre £1189, 3½-Litre £1263.
Jowett Javelin Drophead Coupe
Jowett continued their successful Javelin and 'owing to popular demand from overseas' introduced a Drophead Coupe variant: a five-seater with a three-abreast bench seat plus a separate two-seat 'dickey' in the rear (outside). It was displayed at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show. The tail end of necessity being unusually long, this car looked very ill-proportioned and, not surprisingly, was not produced in quantity.
Lagonda 2½-Litre Saloon and Drophead Coupe were produced in very small quantity in 1946/47, after which the company was bought by Mr David Brown who resumed production by the autumn of 1948. The 2580-cc (78 x 90 mm) engine had twin overhead camshafts and twin SU carburettors. It developed 105 bhp at 5000 rpm. Wheelbase was 9 ft 5½ in. Suspension was independent with coil springs at front and torsion bars at rear. Prices in August 1948: Saloon £3110, Drophead Coupe £3421.
Rover's new four-wheel drive utility vehicle, very appropriately called Land-Rover (one of the cleverest features of the vehicle!), went into quantity production in July 1948, after having made its world debut at the Amsterdam Motor Show in April. The first Land- Rovers had the same engine as the Rover Sixty car. It was intended as a stop-gap to keep Rover busy in post-war years, the Series I workhorse had aluminium bodywork because of steel rationing. It's now an icon that has explored every continent on earth.
Lea Francis 14 HP Sports Two-seater
Lea-Francis Cars Ltd of Coventry, in addition to their Fourteen Saloon, Coupe and Utility models, offered this 14 HP 1767-cc Sports Two-seater on 8 ft 3 in wheelbase chassis. On the home market it was priced at £1276. It was also available with a 12 HP 1496-cc engine at the same price.
The MG Midget TC was a carryover from 1947 and continued to sell well, especially in North America. It was particularly popular in California, where it created much goodwill for British sports cars. The car had a top speed of 75 mph and was used on both street and track. In Britain the price was £528 throughout its production span.
MG 1¼ Litre Saloon, designated Model YA, continued to sell at £672. Including its slightly modified successor (the 1951-53 YB) and the YT Tourer version, which had twin carburettors (1948-50), an overall total of about 8700 were produced.
Morgan Three-Wheelers lined up at a British rally attracting all kinds of veteran, vintage and other special-interest vehicles in the early 1970s, Right to left: 1948, 1935 and 1949 Morgans. Four-wheeled models for 1948 were continued from 1947.
The Morris Six was the company's first post war six cylinder car. At launch the car was priced at £671 on the UK market. The car was very similar to the 1948 Issigonis designed Morris Oxford series MO sharing the same bodyshell from the windscreen backwards. The bonnet was lengthened to take the overhead camshaft, single SU carburettor, 2215 cc six cylinder engine which produced 70 bhp (52 kW) at 4800 rpm. The whole car was longer than the Oxford with a wheelbase of 110 inches (2,800 mm) against 97 inches (2,500 mm). Suspension was independent at the front using torsion bars and at the rear there was a conventional live axle and semi elliptic springs. The steering was not by the rack and pinion fitted to the Oxford but used a lower geared Bishop Cam system. The 10 inches (250 mm) drum brakes were hydraulically operated using a Lockheed system. The design was shared with Nuffield Organisation stable-mate Wolseley as the 6/80.
Morris Eight Series E four-door Saloon shown in 'Ghost View'
Morris Eight Series E four-door Saloon 'Ghost View'. This car was in production from 1939 until November 1948. During its last year it had a spring-type steering wheel. In addition to the two and four-door car models there was a 5-cwt Van variant, Series Z, which was continued until May 1953.
A national treasure in the UK, and with independent front suspension and monocoque construction, it was quite innovative when launched in 1948. Some 1.6 million were sold and the Moggie remains a popular classic.
The Renault Eight Model BFK4, as shown here. was assembled during 1947-50 by Renault Ltd of Western Avenue, Acton, London W3, largely from components imported from France and mainly for export. Although this 1948 advertisement claims that it was a genuine post-war car, it was in fact a continuation of the pre-war Juvaquatre (Eight in the UK), but with four doors and hydraulic brakes. As in 1939. the engine was a 1003-cc (58 x 95 mm) side-valve Four, driving through a three-speed gearbox. Front suspension was independent with a transversal leaf spring, wheelbase was 7 ft 8½ in. tyre size 4.75-16. In 1949/50 it was superseded by the rear-engined Renault 4CV (750), although the van variant (AHG2) was continued in France until 1953.
Riley 1½ and 2½ Litre RMA and RMB Saloons were continued from 1947 with only minor technical changes. The 2½ Litre, for example, was fitted with larger inlet valves from April and two leading shoe front brakes from June. From July interior bonnet locks were fitted. Price was £1125 (£863 for the 1½ Litre).
Riley introduced this three-seater RMC Roadster in March 1948, on the 9 ft 11 in wheelbase 2½ Litre chassis. It was originally made only for export, like the Drophead Coupe variant which appeared in September 1948. In September of 1949 these two models were made available for the local UK market. The Roadster was produced until December 1950, after it had been changed to a two-seater in January of that year.
Rover, in February 1948, replaced their previous range of 10,12,14 and 16 HP cars by two new models, designated the P3 Series. There were two basic models, the Sixty with four-cylinder and the Seventy-Five with six-cylinder engine. The two cars shared the same 9 ft 2½ in wheelbase chassis, with minor differences to front suspension and gearbox. The difference in engine length was made up by an elongated bell-housing in the case of the shorter Sixty engine.
Rover P3 Series models, both in four-cylinder Sixty and six-cylinder Seventy-Five form, were available with either four or six-light four-door body styles, without price difference, i.e. both Sixties sold at £1080, both Seventy-Fives at £1106. Compared with the previous Rover Twelve, the external differences were mainly in the bumpers, horns, fog lamp position and rear lamps. They were also shorter and wider. The engines were entirely new and featured overhead inlet and side exhaust valves (F-head). Cubic capacities were 1595-cc (69·5 x 105 mm) and 2103 cc (65·2 x 105 mm) for the Four and the Six respectively.
Singer Nine Roadster and Super Ten and Twelve Saloons
Standard decided in 1947 to pursue a one-model policy with their new and very attractive Vanguard Saloon, Series 20S. It was a new car from the ground up and went into full-scale quantity production in 1948. Initially. i.e. until the end of the year, practically all Vanguards were exported. The car had independent front suspension, four-cylinder OHV engine (2088 cc; 85 x 92 mm; 68 bhp at 4000 rpm), three-speed gearbox, with right-hand column shift, 7 ft 10 in wheelbase, 13 ft 10 in overall length, 5 ft 9 in overall width (providing seating for up to six passengers) and 5.50-16 tyres. In October an Estate Car variant was introduced, followed by a Van and later a Pick-up truck. Basically the same engine was used in the Ferguson tractor.
Triumph continued their 1800 Saloon, Series 18T and 1800 Roadster, Series 18TR (shown), with virtually no changes until October when the Roadster was fitted with the same 2088-cc engine and three-speed gearbox as the Standard Vanguard. It was redesignated the 2000 Roadster, Series 20TR. The same change was made to the 1800 Saloon in February 1949.
The Triumph 1800 Roadster was redesignated the 2000 Roadster, Series 20TR, when Triumph switced to using the same 2088cc engine as being used in the Standard Vanguard. The same change was made to the 1800 Saloon in February 1949.
The Wolseley Twelve (12/48), Series Ill, was another example of a basically pre-war car which was in its last production year. In October it was superseded by a new model, the Four-fifty. The Wolseley Eight, Ten, Fourteen (14/60), Eighteen (18/85) and Twenty-five were also phased out during the year.