Austin 3 Litre

THE LAST BIG LUXURY AUSTIN

 

Austin 3 Litre Downton Conversion

Daniel and his wife Bunty Richmond (They were know as man and wife but never married) started Downton Engineering after they took over a country garage in the Village of Downton in Wiltshire and specialised in the repairs and restoration of Rolls Royce's. They soon diversified into specialised tuning services after Daniel was asked to tune a Morris Minor in 1957. A big turn around came in 1961 when Daniel tuned the new Mini cooper creating a 103 mph Mini. Alex Issigonis summoned Daniel and he shortly became technical consultant for BMC. Staffing levels increased to over 20 and their specialised tuning services were in great demand, a rolling road and dynomometer were installed on site. Downton did work for BMC on many of their cars, Daniel Richmond, John Cooper, Alex Issigonis and W.V Appelby were the men who extracted  all that power from the humble BMC "A" series engine which went on to great things on the worldwide stage. In 1968 BL and BMC became BLMC and it was decided consultants were no longer required and so the Downton contract was terminated. This was a big blow to Daniel and he spent more and more time  on his favourite hobby of fishing. Daniel Richmond succumbed to years of heavy drinking and smoking and died at the age of 50 in 1974. Bunty committed suicide in 1975 and the works then closed down.

                                                             Engine with three carburettors visible (apoligies for the image quality)

Several former employees started their own successfull companies. Jan Odor formed Janspeed. George Toth and Richard Longman formed Longman Engineering. David Dorrington formed Maniflow, Brian Slark formed Slark Race engineering and Steve Harris formed his own tuning company in Dorset. Daniel Richmond ran a Downton modified Austin3-Litre for a reputed 300,000 miles. You can see from the data below just what a difference this conversion made to the car, the replacement exhaust system used the original manifold but ran a twin pipe system, this was described as "vital" by Daniel in extracting power from the engine by allowing it to exit the gasses more efficiently, interestingly the tailpipes exited each side near the rear wing/rear valence join area. The prices listed are dated August 1969.