Introduction

Rover 8 advert
The First World War had brought the British motor industry to a virtual standstill, as far as car production was concerned. It wasn’t until 1919 that production was resumed for some of the pre-war economy models, many not returning to the market at all, and some produced in a larger engine capacity form. Of the two cylinder economy cars on offer before the war, only the Jowett 8, was now available. The economy twin was not finished though, and new models began to replace those of 1914. First with a new twin was Rover with the Eight in 1919, Wolseley began production of the Stelitte Seven in 1920, with three more in 1921,The BSA Ten, the Stoneleigh, and the revised Jowett, the Seven. The last of the new twin’s, the Ariel Nine arrived in 1922.
Of the pre-war four cylinder cars, Lagonda with 11.1, Singer with the 10, Standard with the 9.5, and Wolseley with the Stelitte 10, resumed production in 1919, being joined by Deemster with their new Eight. It wasn’t until 1921 that the next models were  introduced, they were the  Rhode 9.5, and the short lived Bayliss Thomas 9/19. In 1923 Swift intoduced the Ten.
In the early 1920's four British companies introduced quality economy light cars onto the British market place. They were in 1922,  Talbot and Gwynne and in 1923 Humber with the 8, Austin with the 7, and Humber with the 9 in 1925. They all had four cylinder, water cooled engines of quite high efficiency, the Talbot and the Gwynne with overhead valves and Humber with the inlet over exhaust and Austin with the side valve arrangement. The difference between the Austin and the other four cylinder economy cars, was the price. The Austin Seven was in the price bracket of the economy twins, not the other four cylinders cars that were roughly twice the price of the twins, with them being economic to run but expensive to purchase initially . It’s initial price was was even lower than some of the twin cylinder cars, and in future years would be lower, leading to an overall price reduction in the market. This would have a profound effect on the economy car market and the demise of the low volume producers. By 1923 both Lagonda and Demster had increased the engine capacity of their cars, taking them out of the economy bracket. By 1925 a long list of manufacturers had a left the market, Rhode ceased producing the 9.5, Singer with the Ten,  Standard with the 9.5, both the Stelitte Seven and Ten, and the Stoneleigh.  The Rover Eight and the Ariel Nine only lasted another year. The BSA Ten, the Talbot 8/18 and the Humber Eight were last produced in 1926. Surprisingly, the Gwynne Eight, though expensive at over a hundred pounds more than the Austin Seven, survived until 1928. Jowett had replaced the pre-war Eight in 1921 with the Seven, that had been superseded by the the 7/17 in 1926, and would remain in production until 1930. A Jowett twin would be available until 1952. Meanwhile the Austin Seven had been joined in the market in 1926 by the Riley Nine a quality economy car, and in 1927 by the Triumph Super Seven, the Clyno Nine, and the Singer Junior, and what would be its greatest rival in 1928, the Morris Minor. The last new economy car in the Vintage Era was the AJS Nine, and the Swift Cadet. These car produced in the later half of the 1920’s, along with the evolving Austin Seven didn’t reflect the style of the Vintage Era, which was for cars produced in low volume at a relatively high cost, and were the forerunners of the mass produced economy car.
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