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Founding father of motor industry honoured

Herbert Austin, one of the pioneers of the British car industry, has been elected to the European Automotive Hall of Fame 100 years after he made his first vehicle at Longbridge.

His name has joined those of industry legends such as Henry Ford, Karl Benz, Ettore Bugatti, Alec Issigonis and Armand Peugeot at the Hall of Fame at Palexpo in Geneva, home of the Geneva Motor Show.

Austin, who subsequently became Sir Herbert Austin and later Baron Austin of Longbridge, was one of the founding fathers of the British motor industry.

Born in 1866 in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire, he went to Australia at the age of 16 and worked as an engineer before returning to Britain in 1889 to supervise the Wolseley sheep-shearing equipment factory in Birmingham.

He began making Austin cars at Longbridge in 1905 after buying the White and Pike printing works for £7,750. The company he helped found went on to export cars around the world.

Austin died in 1941 of pneumonia.

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