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
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.
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.