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    Default Austin Gypsy restore

    History of the Company



    Austin Gypsy restore - page25 1
    The Governor
    Herbert Austin was born on 8th November 1866 at 3, Mill Cottages Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England. His father, a farmer, was Giles Stevens Austin and his mother was Clara Jane Simpson.


    He was educated at Rotherham Grammar School and Brampton Commercial College, where he studied Architecture. Aged sixteen he emigrated to Melbourne, Australia, to join an uncle who was Works Manager of Langlands Foundry, a Melbourne engineering firm. During the following years he worked with various engineering companies, the last one being a subsidiary of the Wolseley Company of Great Britain.


    He married Helen Dron, daughter of James Dron on 26th December 1887 in Melbourne. Herbert Austin, later had two daughters, and a son who was killed in France in the First World War. At the age of 27 he had an invitation from Frederick Wolseley to return to Birmingham, England, to supervise the manufacture of sheep shearing equipment.
    It was in 1952 that the Austin Motor Company produced the Austin Champ under a military contract and was fitted with a Rolls Royce engine manufactured at Longbridge. The Champ was used by various Armies around the world. A civilian version was produced using the engine from the Austin A70 Hereford. It only sold in small numbers, and the Champ production ceased in 1956.


    It is against this background that the Experimental Department looked at a completely new design, that would compete with the Land Rover, using the experiences gained with the Champ.


    It really was starting with a clean sheet, one of the first decision they took was to adopt a new type of suspension that was called "Flexitor," which the army at their Bagshot Heath, Fighting Vehicles Research Department had been testing on a military trailer. So what impressed the Austin development engineers, the units did not need lubrication, and coped well with repeated impact over bumps. But would it be suitable for a four wheel drive vehicle, there was only one way to find out, build a prototype.


    This was then carried out, and the team were happy with the results. One advantage with this system was that the units gave a natural damping to the suspension, and with the addition of hydraulic shock absorbers made for a controlled ride. The "Flexitor" units had been developed by Alex Moulton, who had produced the rubber cone on the Mini along with the hydrolastic on the 1100. They were manufactured by Moulton & Co Ltd. part of the Avon Group in Bradford-on-Avon. So using this system gave independent suspension all round by using trailing arms on which to mount the wheel hub.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 2

    Prototypes were built and a road proving programme started, testing was carried out on test tracks and also a 200 mile daily round trip with a full ? ton payload around the local countryside and back to the factory each day for inspection. The heating and comfort was fine in the summer, but in the winter period it was necessary to wear some heavy sweaters and coats. One of the early modifications was to re-routing the exhaust to exit at the RH side of the vehicle rather than to the rear, as in this position exhaust fumes were been pulled back into the interior.


    At MIRA (the Motor Industries Research Assoc.) near Nuneaton Warwickshire, this purpose built facility, for hire to any interested automotive company, has the capability of testing virtually any type of vehicle from high speed cars to cross-country trucks. The facilities there consisted in those days of various types of track, rough road (Belgian Pave, which is largish smooth stones cemented into a road bed) off road track, dust tunnel, water splash trough even a banked high speed outer track. The Pave testing gave the equivalent of a total vehicle life in 2,000 miles of testing, so rough that drivers needed to switch after 30 minutes of driving.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 3
    Pave testing at MIRA


    From the outset it had been designed as a rugged cross-country vehicle, the chassis used oval section welded steel box-section, and had a wheel base of 90 inches, which was 2 inches longer that the SWB Land Rover. Attached to the chassis at six points was the all steel body (unlike the Land Rover aluminium body) which was made from sheet steel with box section reinforcement.


    Austin Gypsy restore - austin gipsy assemble


    The bodies were built and trimmed at Nuffield Metal Products Common Lane Birmingham. Although the steel bodies were put through the 'Rotodip' for protection against rust, in service rust did become a problem. The final painted and trimmed bodies were then transported to Longbridge for the final assemble (MK I). The MK II & MK IV were assembled at Adderley Park Birmingham.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 5
    Longbridge production East Works Series I


    It was powered by the 2,199 cc four-cylinder petrol engine that was in the Austin A70 Hereford. It had proved to be reliable and although only producing 62 bhp @ 4,000 rpm power is not everything, torque is more important for this type of vehicle at 110 lbs/ft at just 1,500 rpm. Also available was a diesel engine of 2,178 cc which had its engine speed governed at 3,100 rpm and produced 55 bhp.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 6Austin Gypsy restore - page65 7
    Petrol - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Diesel




    With a four-speed gear-box with synchromesh on all forward gears, and a transfer box giving the operator the choice of either rear-wheel drive in high ratio, neutral for power take-off or four wheel drive in low ratio. Maximum payload was put at 10 cwt,along with a maximum drawbar pull 3000 lbs. This transfer box was superior to the one fitted to the Land Rover as with a little practice you could change between low and high ratio whilst on the move.


    With Land Rover having such a hold on the market, it was difficult for the Gipsy (or Gippo as it was nicknamed at the factory with typical Birmingham slang) to be recognised a serious competitor. On factor was that it was only available in one chassis length, with the Land Rover having two with numerous body styles. Various publicity stunts were carried out to arouse public interest. In Birmingham the local car dealer had a 1 in 1 slope to prove that the Gipsy was a serious competitor. It attracted good media publicity, but the police were not keen as they felt that motorist would be distracted seeing the Gipsy on the roof, so after a few weeks it was all removed.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 8
    Birmingham Garage 1960


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 9
    Longbridge used the idea and constructed its own 1 in 1 slope back to back version. The scary part was at the top when you had to descend and could not see the slope.


    The Gipsy was available with various options that allowed the Gipsy to carry out many tasks.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 10
    Welding


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 11
    A belt drive that can power various attachments




    __________________________
    It was in the annual two weeks shut-down in July 1960, that the Gipsy track was transferred from East Works Longbridge to Adderley Park Birmingham and installed in No1 Machine Shop, as the Longbridge factory space was needed for the Mini engine production. So all the Series I were made at Longbridge, with Adderley Park now producing the Series II Gipsy. This also meant that the Experimental Department also moved from Longbridge.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 12
    Gipsy Experimental Dept. Adderley Park


    Note the Gipsy on the left is a military version which has quarter bumpers added above the standard bumper. The next Gipsy is the department's recovery vehicle.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 13


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 14
    Gipsy production line at Adderley Park


    Series II
    There were various detail changes made to the suspension and steering in the Series II to improve cornering and reduce tyre wear, the 'Flexitor' unit had now a softer rubber compound, and because of problems with the trailing arm cracking under harsh conditions, heavier gauge metal was now used. The hydraulic shock absorbers were replaced with lever type dampers, and the ground clearance was improved. The steering-box was repositioned and now had a split track-rod, which was necessary because of the increased wheel travel afforded by the new 'Flexitor' units. As the Gipsy has to be filled up with fuel in remote places, the fuel tank now has a filler neck that can be extended to make it easier to fill from a jerrican.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 15
    LWB (111 inches) Pick-Up




    A long wheel base version was added at 111 inches just one inch longer that the Land Rover, with heavy duty leaf springs connected to a beam axle at the back with the 'Flexitor' system at the front. There were various body changes, the most obvious were the new fresh air vents mounted on the front wings, below the windscreen were added a larger ventilator. The doors were now conventional with a proper galvanised handles and sliding glass windows. A pick-up version was also available which had a fibre-glass hard top, and had a payload of 15 cwt. A change was made to the transfer box, so that with the now two levers, so that both high or low ratios could be selected in four-wheel drive.




    It was in 1962 that to get some publicity a Series II SWB Gipsy with a team of London University Students, completed the climb up Britain highest mountain, Ben Nevis, just 4,406 ft to the summit.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 16
    Looking at the task in hand


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 17
    Nearly there


    Attempts were made to dislodge Land Rover from their monopoly of supplying vehicles to the Armed Force but this was never very successful. In fact less than twenty were supplied, although the government did order several hundred for the AFS in the even of a nuclear attack. They remained in Government hands for nearly 30 years in storage. They were then sold off, much to the delight of collectors, who were able to purchase virtually new vehicles that were almost 30 years old, the ultimate GARAGE sale for Gipsy enthusiasts.


    Market research shown that there was a need for more variants to fulfil the requirements of customers around the world. The Gipsy's were imported into various countries around the world, the only Gipsy's built outside the UK, was in Bogot?, in Colombia, South America by a company called Colmotores who assembled them from (CKD) complete knocked down kits, the venture only lasted about 3 years.


    __________________________


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 18
    G4 M10 was SWB G4 M15 was LWB


    Time for another update, for the Series III to be announced, but at the end of 1962, the replacement was called Series IV, and was given the title G4, of which no less that 25 different versions were now available. The standard suspension was now the semi-elliptic springs with beam axles. One of the main reasons for abandoning the Flextor, was the imprecise steering, it was on the wooly side, although it was very predictable. The 'Flexitor' version was still available al-round on the Short Wheel Base (SWB) and only on the front for the LWB, as it did give a more car like ride.




    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 19
    G4 Chassis and suspension


    There were various advantages in using the beam axle, as going over bumps, the axle moved with the semi-elliptic springs allowing ground clearance to be maintained and the steering was more precise on the road. A bonus also was that on the short wheelbase version the turning circle was reduced from 42 ft to 35 ft and on the long wheelbase from 53 ft to just 43 ft.


    Power from the petrol engine was increased by 10 bhp to 72 at 4,000 rpm, although the torque only increased by 2 lbs/ft to 112 lbs/ft at 1,500 rpm. The diesel engine now produced max power of 55 bhp at 3,500 rpm and the torque figure of 89 lbs/ft at 2,800 rpm. With the increased power the transmission was still well within its capacity to cope, in fact the transmission was though by many to be superior to the Land Rover, as it was possible to change into high or low ratios whilst on the move.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 20
    New Front Styling


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 21


    Rear Lights & Steps


    Although it still looked like a Gipsy, one of the obvious changes was the split front grille with a curved bottom part, which was detachable for installation of a winch and gave easy access to the steering box. The front bumper now had towing eyes, the fresh air vents on the front were now on the side near the doors. At the rear the lights were now flush with the rear panel, and protected by a handle like guard.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 22


    There were improvements inside with the instruments now in front of the driver in a full-length facia, in the centre as an optional matching ammeter and tachometer. On the passengers side was a lockable glove compartment and grab-handle, with more sound proofing, and improved seating and with matching door trims and armrests made it more comfortable to drive. The stalk on the steering column operated the horn and dip switch.


    With twenty-five standard models available along with numerous options, there was a model that would cater for all customers needs. One unusual standard model that you could order was a Fire Tender version.


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 23
    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 24
    Longbridge Works Fire Tender MK II


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 25
    Morris Engines Fire Tender


    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 26
    Austin Gipsy Fire Tender at Unipart Oxford
    The occasion was the retirement of the Superintendent
    _________


    For people who wanted to have their own body type, it was available as chassis - scuttle from the factory. If you did not need four wheel drive, it was possible to order it with only rear wheel drive. With this latest version the Gipsy was slowly beginning to make its mark in the market place. Plans were been made to increase production. when the Adderley Park factory had a major fire in 1963, which resulted in some lost orders. The Flexitor suspension option was dropped in 1965, and the G4 was now slowly gaining recognition in the market place.


    It was at this stage that plans were considered to give the Body a major face lift. Artist impression on what was been considered is below. I thing that if it had been produced as shown, it would have lost its rugged charm.




    Austin Gypsy restore - page65 27


    In 1966 the merger between BMC and Jaquar took place and in 1968 it joined forces with Leyland Motor Corporation. With the new company BLMC making two competing ranges of four-wheel-drive vehicles, Land Rover and Austin, it was not too long before the Austin Gipsy was phased out.

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    thanks brothers i m very happy
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    Nicely done.

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    Austin Gypsy restore -1446367
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    Quote Originally Posted by veitnam View Post
    Austin Gypsy restore -1446367
    Austin is a perfect example of built not bought. And it is also a perfect example of why built 4WDs are better than the bought ones. As Irshad knows his car, inside out, I am sure, not many of us know ours.
    It is far better to be sure of the functionality of all the relevant equipment.
    Just recently, we went to Naran, and my vehicle did not have a tow rope when it was needed most. (We needed to pull another car). We all dearly longed for Irshad's Austin, which is always loaded with all the stuff that may be needed in any off-road trip.
    Irshad, the new colour just look awesome, and the new engine is a perfect blend of power and economy for the Austin.
    And the new tyres, and evertything.....
    But above all, it is the Love of Irshad for Austin that has bound the Austin together and is keeping this amazing vehicle, one of the best Off-Roader in the world. Keep it up Irshad and stay blessed......
    Ranger of the North---Didn't Get Any Speeding Ticket While I had the Unimog. Since I bought a Cruiser, I get a speeding ticket every now and then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by veitnam View Post
    Austin Gypsy restore -1446706
    Irshad Bhai yeh tou Ziadatee hai
    -

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    i have seen in in Abbottabad if looks can kill i would have been dead MA on of the best Gypsy in town
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    Here is a story of one mans adventure in his Gipsy
    <small class="auto-style3" style="font-size: small; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;">Dear Sir,

    in the early 1960's I drove a LWB Gipsy with my wife from Holland to India and by boat to Singapore followed by a journey through Malaya, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and back to Singapore. Then by boat to Fremantle and drove across to Melbourne.</small>
    <small class="auto-style3" style="font-size: small; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;">This Gipsy was a tropical version with double roof, a high performance radiator fan and oil cooler, it had two petrol tanks for long distance travel and we made provisions for waterproofing the ignition and electrics and venting gearboxes and axles high up. We carried tools and some spare parts and a spare battery. We had cloth seats.
    We modified the air cleaner intake to get air high up. The vehicle was a LWB hardtop petrol.
    We made arrangements to sleep in the back. We cooked on a German Army petrol stove which came with a small hand pump to extract petrol from the fuel tank. We had a small refrigerator and we cooked in a pressure cooker to keep the dust out. This pressure cooker was also our clothes washing machine. Soiled clothes, water and detergent and a drive did wonders getting dirty clothes clean. A washing line in the back for drying.

    After a tour through Eastern and Southern Europe to Turkey.
    After going around Turkey we went to Syria and Jordan. Because of political unrest we crossed the Syrian Desert by compass and old British Army maps to Iraq. We first went to Northern Iraq and then down to Kuwait. Back to Iraq and crossed the Shatt Al Arab near Basrah on "Jeepable" roads. This meant crossing swamps driving on felled date palm trunks lengthwise.
    This After Abadan we crossed the mountains to Shiraz which meant all day long in first low 4wd mostly at slightly faster than walking speed. We went around Iran, crossed the Salt Dessert and the remote mountains along the Caspian Sea. It started to rain and rain and rain and we travelled for days with the wheels under water on a dirt track. In Afghanistan I had a Malaria attack in Herat. I was nursed by an American engineer who was building roads there. Along the Russian border we bought Russian petrol which meant to retune the engine. We crossed the mountains to Baluchistan.
    On the way we came across the Pakistan High Commissioner to Afghanistan with his driver in an ancient broken down Rolls Royce. We towed them over the mountains on a rocky steep dirt track which was very slow going.
    We reached the border late at night and were welcomed by a Pakistani Scottish Regiment in kilts and bagpipes. We had a problem leaving because of their hospitality.
    In Quetta we met a Dutch priest who taught at a high school.
    He had just come back from Holland. He was so poor, that he hitch-hiked all the way from Quetta to Holland and back staying at Roman Catholic churches along the way.
    It was winter with extreme cold. We took the radiator cooling fan off and blocked the airflow to the radiator to keep the engine warm.
    When we went down the mountains to the dessert below we started early with the temperature around minus 15 degrees, while in the dessert below it was close to plus 30. after the desert we crossed the Indus valley to Mohenjo Daro driving on little slippery dykes with two wheels near the crown and two wheels just above the rice fields under water. After Karachi all the way up to Kashmir and Jamnu where we had a break.
    We crossed into India and travelled around. In Delhi we camped in the grounds of Government House as guests of the Indian Army. Our car was washed every day.
    On a National Highway in Hyderabad we drove on a bridge while it collapsed into the river.
    Amazingly the car and we were not damaged. A large number of people including Police and Army pulled us out. The Commissioner of Police apologised for this mishap.
    We boarded an old British steam ship SS Muhammadi for our voyage to Singapore.
    The car was lifted onto the deck. The lifting cable parted and the car fell upright a few meters down on the deck only causing minor damage. I personally tied down.
    During our voyage we ran into a tropical typhoon where some ten thousand people drowned. We went right through the centre where it was pitch dark and wind still. It was not possible to look over the waves standing on top of the bridge.
    We were the only cabin passengers with some thirteen hundred Indian coolies below deck. We had fish curry from mess tins for breakfast. The Captain never left his cabin leaving the First Officer in Charge. The ship was steered using the two engines.
    I went down the engine room to have a look how they managed.
    There was no panic. Coal was loaded into the engine by hand using buckets.
    The situation in the passenger holds were indescribable.
    In Penang harbour the Captain went ashore while the First Officer and I raided the
    Whiskey store. We drank Whiskey from beer glasses and became so drunk that we became quite sober again.
    In Singapore we contacted the BMC agents who allowed me to repair our vehicle in their workshop which was not a difficult job.
    We went to the Dutch Embassy who suggested that we contact the Tiger (Heineken) Brewery. We were welcomed by the Manager who unbeknown to me was a study friend of my father. A bit later we were introduced to the Chief Engineer who was my cousin who had recently been transferred to Singapore.
    After our trip through Malaya, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia we returned to Singapore and boarded a Danish ship to Fremantle.
    It took us less than one day to find a job in Melbourne. We drove across the Nullarbor to Melbourne.
    We crossed borders and entered Australia on a Carnet en Douane which allowed us to drive for a couple of years in Australia. Eventually I contacted Customs who allowed us to import the car as "scrap iron". We had travelled over one and a half year and covered some seventy thousand kilometers mostly over very poor roads, tracks and cross country. We had no breakdowns. We sold our car to a prospector who had it for years after us.
    I have had several Landrovers and other 4wd's, but Gipsy's are marvellous vehicles. Very simple, robust and very capable. They are a joy to drive.

    Bart Benschop</small>

    Dear Glen,

    I learned to drive on tractors and Jeeps and to navigate while sailing on the North Sea as a child.
    In the Dutch Army during my compulsory military service during the cold war learned to navigate and gained more off road skills both in Holland and in France both using Jeeps and DAF trucks.
    Before this trip I went on bicycle around Europe from Holland to Norway to Greece.
    This was followed by my travelling around the Near East and crossing the Saudi Desert and the Sahara by car on my own.
    Our Gipsy was a LHD with Flexitor suspension and heavy duty shock absorbers. We used Michelin 750 x 16 XY tyres with tubes on over width rims. We carried one spare.
    We carried spare engine oil, gear oil and Glycol antifreeze.
    We did the whole journey on the same tyres which were not finished at the end of our journey.
    Looking back I would probably have selected leaf springs rigid axles and a Diesel engine.
    We sold our Gipsy while in the outback of NSW on the other side of our continent from where I live now. The last time I heard about it was after about twenty years.

    Kind regards,

    Bart Benschop
    lions love land rovers mikaal and mothshim

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