Article header
Parts
Homepage. This page: A rare photo of an 8hp Austin staff car in use with the Portuguese army in the 1940s.

Austin 8 Staff car with the Portuguese Army.

Mário in Portugal emailed this photograph over, hoping that the car his grandfather is seen driving could be identified. The car is a military version of the pre-war Austin 8 tourer, known as a Staff Car. I've seen photographs of Austin 8 Staff Cars in use with the British Army during WW2, but this is the first I've seen showing an Austin with the Portuguese Army, with whom Mário's grandfather served. The date of the photo isn't known - could it have been during WW2 or just after the war? - the location however is believed to be Lisbon.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
An Austin Eight staff car
The are no serial numbers on the bonnet, but there is a circular plaque attached to one front wing, below where the headlamp would have been on a standard road car. Part of the Austin's military registration can just be seen to the right of shot. Was this Austin still in the ownership of the British Army, as so many of these Staff Cars were, or were some sold to other countries such as Portugal - who had declared themselves neutral during WW2? I'm sure more information on this interesting Austin will come to light (update: see below).

More information on this army vehicle.

Luis contacted me in February 2013, with more information on this interesting little car.
"I have seen your wonderful site about old classic cars, and I was very surprised to see a photo of a Portuguese Army Austin 8 HP. I have been investigating the history of the Portuguese Army vehicles (all types) for many years, and I can add more details about this car in Portuguese Army service:
"It was bought from the British War Office in the early months of 1943, and a few examples were bought, received from British Army stocks. They were used as staff cars in the Portuguese Army Batallions and Regiments. The one in the photo belongs to an Artillery unit. Many of the ex-British Army vehicles (these Austins were not the only ones...) recieved in Portugal during the years of 1942 until 1946 were still painted with the "Mickey Mouse Ear" camouflage, and were used in the Portuguese Army for a long time with this camouflage. I believe the Austin 8 HPs were used until the end of the fifties, when many American and Canadian Staff Cars and many Willys and Ford jeeps were recieved by NATO mutual aid and replace them all. I hope this information will be of interest to understand the use of these cars in Portugal."
Very interesting, thanks for the information Luis :-)
Return to Page 12 in the vintage and classic car gallery.
Some contemporary sketches of a car similar to the one shown above, can be found on this page of the site. Similar to this car is the military version of the Austin 10, or Austin Tilly as it would usually be known.
Thanks to Mário for allowing me to show this photo here.

Custom Search
www.oldclassiccar.co.uk (C) R. Jones. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers