Reviewed by Kim Henson.
Title: An Austin Anthology II
Author: James ‘Jim’ Stringer
Published by: Veloce Publishing Ltd; www.veloce.co.uk
112 pages; hardback
Price: £15.99 UK; $25 USA.
Regular readers may remember that some time ago on this website I reviewed James (Jim) Stringer’s fascinating book entitled ‘An Austin Anthology’, covering 19 different stories of adventures and little-known facts about Austin motor cars (and aeroplanes!) and the company itself.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book so was interested to see that Jim has followed it up with ‘An Austin Anthology II’.
I should mention again that the author Jim Stringer has a deep passion for all things Austin, and has owned one car in particular (a 1929 16/6 saloon) for six decades; he has a detailed knowledge of the Austin company and its cars, and especially relating to the pre Second World War era.
His latest book takes the form of 22 chapters, each the result of in-depth research by the author and covering an Austin vehicle or model (including boats, also Austins that ran on rails…). As with the first volume, this book is broken down into individual chapters/stories, so is easy to read a section at a time (if you wish).
I read each chapter with enthusiasm, learning more about Austins as each page was turned. The book is easy to read and has been written in a style that readily engages the reader.
Detailed history of each vehicle covered is given, and in each case the people involved are brought to life through each chapter, in words and wonderfully evocative contemporary photographs.
I don’t wish spoil the enjoyment of delving into this book, but I’d like to mention a few highlights that particularly appealed to me…
To start with, the book’s Foreword page has been written by ex-Austin man, archivist and BMC historian Norman John Milne, who himself is deeply knowledgeable about the Austin company and its products through the years; his enthusiastic introduction sets up the reader for enjoying the following pages.
As the chapters unfolded, I found out many facts and much information of which I was previously unaware, covering (for example)… Austin Sevens that were converted to run on railway lines, then there is a terrific chapter all about Alf Depper, an amazing man who started work at ‘The Austin’ in 1906, and who had a varied and vitally important career with the firm, there’s another chapter on a V12 cylinder Austin powered speed boat, also Austin armoured cars from the First World War. These are just examples for I enjoyed each and every chapter, all different in scope and coverage.
Without wishing to give too much away in terms of content, I hope that the foregoing gives an inkling of this excellent book’s wide-ranging contents.
Thoroughly recommended. I must confess (and many of you may already know) that I am an Austin enthusiast, but even if you are more interested in other makes, or are more generally interested in vintage and classic vehicles, I think that you will find this book of interest for the historical accounts and the amazing stories it documents.
Well done Jim Stringer for researching and putting in print these wonderful true tales.