Austin A40 Som­er­set

EN­GINE 1260cc/4-cyl/OHV POWER 42bhp@4500rpm TORQUE 58lb ft@2400rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 71mph 0-60MPH 28.9sec ECON­OMY 28-35mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, four-speed man­ual MoT Ex­empt ODOMETER 3919 miles

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Nick Larkin

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

A 1260cc en­gine means that these are not cars for wild driv­ing. That said, this ex­am­ple starts in­stantly and runs ex­tremely well, with no nasty trails of blue smoke when the throt­tle is blipped. The col­umn gearchange – whose shift pat­tern is hand­ily ex­plained for the unini­ti­ated by a sticker on the driver’s door win­dow – works well, but won’t be rushed. It’s fairly low-geared, which helps with town driv­ing, and al­lows the Austin to bowl along at 50-55mph. Bends do need some an­tic­i­pa­tion but the clutch pedal isn’t too heavy and the brakes are ac­cept­able.

BODY­WORK CHECK

The car has been re­painted in a pe­riod-cor­rect Austin green, though the orig­i­nal beige/ brown is still vis­i­ble in the boot. It was ob­vi­ously done to a good stan­dard some time ago – there’s no over­spray and the new colour ex­tends into the in­te­rior as well. Un­derneath, the Austin looks to be in ex­cel­lent or­der but there are rust bub­bles on one of the front wings that will need at­ten­tion sooner rather than later. The chrome­work is gen­er­ally good, with the front bumper – which sports two pe­riod-cor­rect spot­lights – hav­ing been rechromed. How­ever the rear bumper could do with a trip to the chrome shop too. The high­spec Nokian Hakkapeli­itta tyres look to be in good or­der.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

We un­der­stand that the seat squab leather is new-old­stock. For­tu­nately, its shade ex­actly matches the rest of the up­hol­stery. The door trims are show­ing some signs of age – in­clud­ing a rip in the driver’s one – but are still ser­vice­able. The car­pets and head­lin­ing are in good or­der, like­wise the painted in­stru­ment panel and orig­i­nal steer­ing wheel.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

The con­di­tion of the en­gine bay is per­haps best de­scribed as be­ing hon­est rather than to show-stan­dard, but while some de­tail­ing would im­prove its ap­pear­ance, there are no nasty leaks and no sign of over­heat­ing. Ev­ery­thing seems to work as it should, apart from the spot­lights, which aren’t wired up. Speak­ing of which, some of the wiring, though by no means in du­bi­ous con­di­tion, does look non-stan­dard. The ven­dor says that he will sort this be­fore sale.

THE CCW VIEW

It’s hard not to love this car – it’s the very essence of a cared­for, if far from con­cours, 1950s ve­hi­cle. The colour, spot­lights and in­te­rior are all in-keep­ing, and it still wears its orig­i­nal Lon­don reg­is­tra­tion num­ber. The ven­dor has owned the car for four years and is only sell­ing it be­cause he no longer has ac­cess to a garage. It’s a car that you wouldn’t feel scared to use on a reg­u­lar ba­sis as well as pre­serve and en­joy. Though some work is needed, it’s good in all the im­por­tant places.

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