January 15, 2018


Austin Automobile Co. (1903-1920)

Grand Rapids, Michigan

This is an Austin radiator script (c1911)    mjs
Size: 508mm high

The Austin was an excellent automobile and the Austin Automobile Company claimed it was "known as the most beautiful car in the world". Quality rather than quantity was the company priority and the company introduced several innovations to improve driving quality. The first Austin was a 25 hp two-cylinder touring model. By 1907 the Austin line included 60 hp four-cylinder and 90 hp six-cylinder models in touring and limousine body styles. From 1910 until 1917, all Austins were six-cylinder models offered in a variety of body styles. From 1917 all Austins were 40 hp twelve-cylinder models.

The Austin's slogan "The Highway King" was adopted from the 1916 model year. The Austin was a successful car but did not survive the depression following the First World War with only 10 cars produced in 1920, the last year for the Austin.


Early Austin cars did not carry a radiator emblem but the Austin name appeared on the hub caps and on the serial plate, see example below:

This is an early Austin serial plate (c1905)    dkc

From about 1906, Austin cars displayed a large brass script on the front of the radiator core. Brass radiator scripts continued to be used on Austin cars for several years. The original radiator script shown at the top of this post was still in use by 1911 and is very rare.

In the following example of a 1909 Austin displaying a brass Austin radiator script, there is also a brass Austin nameplate around the crank hole:

Austin car showing a brass radiator script (1909)  ms

Close up showing the Austin nameplate around the crank hole (1909)   ms

I do not know when the first radiator emblem was used on an Austin car. However, the Austin Highway King models carried enamel radiator emblems from late 1915 for the 1916 model year. The following 1915 Austin advertisement includes an illustration of the Austin Highway King emblem:

This is an Austin Highway King ad (1915)  khc

There were two versions of the emblem using different enamel colors and both are very rare. One version of the radiator emblem is colored white, maroon and black and the other version of the radiator emblem is colored white, blue and red, as shown below:

This is an Austin radiator emblem (c1915-1920)    mjs
Size: 75mm high 55mm wide   MM: S.D.Childs

This is an Austin radiator emblem (c1915-1920)    mjs
Size: 75mm high 55mm wide    MM: S.D.Childs

I suspect that one of these emblems was used on the six-cylinder Highway King models from 1916 with the other used on the twelve-cylinder Highway King models from 1917 but I do not know which. Please let me have the details and dates of use of these emblems, if known, so that this post can be updated.

There are good quality reproductions of the blue and red emblem but they have no maker's mark and are smaller in size than the original emblem ( the reproduction size is 70mm high by 55mm wide ).

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