Vehicle Registration particulars recorded over the last 80 years can be seen from the headings on logbooks from 1930 and the 1960s (left). We see the latter in many of the continuation books still present with vehicle histories. The addition of ‘make’ can be seen.
In trying to identify the history of a much altered 1934 Sports, the body type listed seemed to be a wildcard as a car being researched was not listed as an Austin ‘Sports’, but a ‘Tourer’, whilst having correct chassis details and remnants of alloy body work. Whilst contemporary marketing listed the 65 as a fast touring car, how might the designations have been made?
Scrutinising mycarcheck.com, one can see the range of designations from a random selection of 65s listed in the survivors’ Register. The body types of a sample of 30 listed are:
‘Sports’ 16 (53%)
‘Tourer’ 7 (23%)
‘Convertible’ 2 (6.6%)
‘Saloon’ 2 (6.6%)
‘Not Codeable’ (or nothing in box) 2 (6.6%)
‘TYPE65’ 1 (3.3%)
The make encountered was predominantly recorded as ‘Austin’ with ‘Austin Seven’, ‘Austin A30 Seven’ and ‘austinnippy’ also observed – so we can already see the signs of operator input error over the years, just as we know about the errors with engine size that have crept into many Austin 7 registration documents as cars were confused with other models when records were bulk-updated.
So what can be surmised from this?
- Austin ‘Sports’ is the most commonly recognised designation for the 65 model make and body type.
- There is evidence of variation in body type classification in registration documents. A number of things could account for this.
- The percentage classed as ‘Tourer’ suggests that this might have been perceived as representing what was a sports touring body, but scrutiny as to the proven originality of the chassis would help.
- Those designated ‘saloon’ do not have the benefit of point 3.
- Similar interrogation of the entire 65 Survivors’ Register registrations would give a better statistical sample size.
- It would be interesting to extend this search to the Nippys where there is similar variation noted from a cursory glance.
It would be interesting to find evidence supporting the absolute originality/identity of any cars which do not have the ‘Sports’ designation, if just to confirm the systems did have inevitable operator variability in recording information. The county archive may have details of body, but it might be listed just as the make and horsepower.
In a worst case scenario, surviving cars with documentation that does not fully confirm a Sports identity could possibly be represented by 65 remains linked to other 1933/early 34 chassis number identities, in which case the stamped chassis and body numbers become the next element to scrutinise.