Posted May 21st 2012 8:30AM
As Canadians, we incorporate some degree of British culture into our own. Whether that's food, drink or music, chances are we all have at least a little bit of Brit in us. Another aspect of their culture we were happy to adopt were their cars.
One Vancouver based dealership, Fred Deeley Motors (pictured above) was the province's main distributor for the Austin company. They started in 1932, selling cars such as the Austin 7 compact and the Austin 18. These were poor choices in BC's terrain and shifting weather conditions and thus, sales suffered.
Despite this however, Fred Deeley Motors wanted to continue selling Austins. They managed to convince Austin to build a left hand drive model of their upcoming vehicle, the Austin Devon A40. The A40 featured a 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine and was well equipped for the time.
Read more after the jump.
Related GalleryAustins dumped into English Bay
Much to Deeley's liking, Austin agreed. Much to Austin's liking, Deeley sold 1,250 of the A40s in the first year. By the next year, Deeley sold almost three times that amount, outselling every other marque in the province.
Austin was enjoying success in the province. You could see an Austin on any given street. Deeley had even brought in an Austin race car to help advertise the brand even more. One one fateful day in 1952 however, tragedy struck.
A Dutch ship transporting Austin A40s caught fire in the English Bay. Fire crews put out the flames with salt water, but damage was unavoidable. The damaged cars were stripped of useful parts and then dumped into the waters.
An Austin spokesman told the Vancouver Sun "We don't want anyone to have any doubt in his mind when he buys a car. We are making sure no one claims his car is acting up because it was damaged in the fire."
If you ever find yourself out in the English Bay with a snagged fishing line, who knows, you might be hooked on a small piece of automotive history.
News Source: Alyn Edwards, The Vancouver Sun
Image Credit: Vancouver Public Library