Before the airing of The Prisoner, Patrick Magoohan who played the lead “free man” stared in another show called Danger Man again playing the lead character John Drake an on call NATO agent for a “messy job”.
Episode 12 of Danger Man show’s John Drake arriving at his boss Mr Hardy’s office in an Austin Sheerline similar to the one featured today.
Design of the traditional Sheerline started in 1942 under the direction of Leonard Lord.
The first 12 Austin Sheerlines were built with a 110 hp straight six motor in 1947.
The remaining 11,065 were built up until 1954 with 125 hp straight six motors of the type that would eventually also be found in the Jensen 541R.
This nearly two tonne car was capable of a top speed of 82 mph, while the glass fibre bodied Jensen 541R with which it shared it’s motor was capable of 120 mph.
One would not want to meet an out of control Sheerline in anything less substantial, as this linked photo of the aftermath of a collision between a Sheeline and a Bond three wheeler shows.
The inside of the Sheerline was opulently appointed with acres of walnut finishing on the dash, all three of the Sheerlines I have seen to date have radios fitted, I am not sure if this would have been standard as early as 1947 to 1954.
Like the more expensive Rolls Royces and Bentleys of the day Sheerlines were also built as limousines and hearses on a longer chassis frame than the saloon shown here, Sheelines could also be ordered for use as ambulances.
In 1946 Austin acquired the Van den Plas coach building company which was to build an even more up market version of the A125 known as the Austin A135 Princess using the same chassis and running gear.
A Sheerline cost £1277 new in 1948 matching suitcases were available for an additional £21.
Along with minor parts in TV show’s like Danger Man, Invisible Man and The Saint, Sheerlines also appeared in films like The Belles of St.Trinian’s 1954, The Village of The Damned 1960, The Bedsitting Room 1964 and Hammer House of Horror 1980.
An Austin Sheerline replacement was developed in 1950 but production never, some would say wisely, went beyond a single prototype. The A125 Sheerline was dropped in 1954 in favour of Vanden Plas bodied Austin A135 Princess range.
When I first started coming to Bristol in the early 1990’s this particular car became a regular land mark indicating I was completely lost in the crazy maize that is Bristol’s road network.
I hope you will join me in sending Birthday Greetings to GALPOT contributor Steve Arnaudin in Brevard NC.
Thanks for joining me on this “Sheerline But Not A Princess” edition of “Gettin a little psycho on tyres” and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !