As part of their plan to produce a car to match the demands of every sector of the UK population, Austin also developed a range of luxury cars designed to target the upper echelons of society.
One of these cars was the Austin Sheerline which, in actual fact, was in its design and development stages during the Second World War, although production did not get under way till after hostilities ceased, with the first Sheerlines rolling off the production lines at Loughborough in 1947, because of the national commitment to war production.
Austin didn’t stretch their design imagination too far, giving the Sheerline a traditional British look, with a vertical grille, large and impressive headlights, distinctive knife-edge styling with separate but flowing wings and traditionally mounted side lights.
Following Austin's acquisition of Vanden Plas, Sheerline and Princess were sold as two separate models, although bot models were powered by Austin's four-liter, six-cylinder engine.
The all-steel, Austin-inspired Sheerline was the company's largest automobile, while the even more opulent Princess featured coachbuilt bodywork with'spats' partially covering the rear wheels and smaller headlamps
The six-seater Princess IV ('DM7') was equipped with a new higher compression engine that produced 150bhp, a a respectable figure for that time.
Finish quality was at the the highest level, as was to be expected from a Vanden Plas .
When the Sheerline was launched the following year, Austin also launched an A125 Vanden Plas version, titled the Austin A135 Princess Mark One , using the same chassis and running gear as the Sheerline.
The interior gave a more pronounced feel of opulence with walnut veneer, leather upholstery and luxury carpets.
The Sheerline was a luxurious car which Austin designed and produced to compete with acknowledged market leaders, Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Not far behind in engineering style, design and finish Austin could market the Sheerline and its sister car at a much lower price, around two-thirds of what a Rolls or Bentley of the Fifties would cost.Despite the hype, the Austin Sheerline failed to capture the imagination of the wealthy upper class of the UK and the British Commonwealth.
The truth was that although the Austin Sheerline might have looked the part, it lacked the class and style of the equivalent Rolls-Royce or Bentley.
The Austin Sheerline was produced by Austin in the United Kingdom from 1947 to 1954, with around 8,000 coming off the production line during that time.
Austin's attempts to capture the luxury car market was then limited to the A135 Austin Princess.
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