1946 Railton Eight
Year of manufacture1946
Number of seats2
1946 Railton Eight Saloon
Coachwork by Whittingham & Mitchell
Registration no. 308 UXP
Chassis no. CHH/745434
Conceived by business partners Reid Railton and Noel Macklin, Railton cars were based on Hudson mechanicals and assembled at the old Invicta works on Macklin's Fairmile estate in Cobham, Surrey. Introduced in 1933, the first Railton used a modified Terraplane Eight chassis on which was mounted British-style coachwork. The Railton weighed less than the Terraplane, and with 94bhp available from the 4,010cc sidevalve straight eight, the result was a stylish car with outstanding performance for its day. Priced at £499, it also represented remarkable value for money. Tourers were offered at first, followed by saloons and dropheads. Various other Hudson chassis were used over the years and there was also a 'baby' Railton in the late 1930s, which was based on the Standard Ten. The marque was effectively killed off at the outbreak of WW2 having produced around 1,400 cars, though a handful of prototypes was exhibited post-war, by which time the Railton enterprise had been sold to Hudson Motors Ltd.
Possibly unique, this rare Railton Eight was constructed in 1946 on a pre-war chassis and carries four-door saloon coachwork by Whittingham & Mitchell, a company based in New Kings Road, West London and after WW2 in Staines, Middlesex. W&M were best known as contract body builders for major manufacturers, but did accept commissions on more upmarket chassis such as Railton. This car is one of only six Railtons built after WW2, and is believed to be the only example bodied by Whittingham & Mitchell.
First registered 'MMG 91', this car previously belonged (from 1954) to the Chairman and founding member of the Railton Owners' Club, Mr Alan Nicholls, and is well known in Railton circles. The comprehensive history file contains plentiful material dating from the Nicholls family's period of ownership, including an ROC register entry form recording the first owner as one Percy Jaggard of Upminster. Completed by Alan Nicholls, this form states that the Railton had covered 48,000 miles by 1954 and for the next six years was used as a fast touring car for business purposes. By the time the (undated) form was filled in, it had got through three reconditioned engines and covered some 210,000 miles.
More recently, this Railton has formed part of a private collection in the West Country. Works undertaken while in the present ownership include an engine rebuild, re-trimming the interior in brown leather, and re-chroming the door fittings. It should be noted that the engine, number '1552501 H6937', is not original to this chassis (the latter number is most likely a Hudson reference).