COOL AUSTIN OF ENGLAND BODY, VERY STREETABLE CAR, CLOTH BUCKET SEATS, 383CI
Less weight means more performance, and this 1950 Austin A40 with the full pro-street treatment takes it to an extreme. It's also quite attractive and nicely finished, making it a welcome addition to a field crowded with the usual machines. If you believe good things come in small packages, this is an excellent example of it.
Of course this isn't the first time someone has stuffed a big American V8 into a diminutive English car, but in contrast to the far more common Anglias and English Fords, this little Austin has a pleasing vintage look that hasn't been brutally altered during the transformation. The curving fenders still give it a pleasing old-fashioned look and the rounded bodywork is more pre-war than 1950s, which is all part of its appeal. For a pro-street vehicle, finish quality is extremely good (heck, it's good for ANY type of vehicle), with great paint and subtle ghost flames licking from the front wheel wells. Despite the frame-wracking power that has been channeled through it, the doors fit well, the hood lines up right, and it shows much better than average quality everywhere you look. The front bumper was molded into the front clip, while the rear end has a distinctly British look with a very tidy razor-edge roll pan that wraps around the rear, making for a very handsome little car. In true hot rodding fashion, there's not a lot of chrome, but the remaining bright pieces like the grille badge and headlight rings are in good shape and add some sparkle.
The interior is not nearly as minimalist as its racing roods would suggest. Comfortable cloth buckets are quite supportive, and the six-point roll cage was cleverly designed to strengthen the tub but stays out of the way, making this car very user-friendly. The pro-street treatment definitely helps with passenger space, as the rear seat is gone, replaced by massive wheel tubs, and giving front seat passengers plenty of stretch-out room. The dash has clear VDO instruments and a big Auto Meter monster tach in the center, and with a tilt column and billet wheel, it's much more spacious behind the wheel than you'd expect. It's pre-wired for a stereo system, but it's for the next owner to decide what it'll be, and I'm guessing he'll be having too much fun with the loud pedal to worry about music. The fold-down trunk lid is uniquely British and offers access to the big polished stainless fuel cell stashed in the trunk.
Originally built as a full-race piece, the 383 cubic inch Chevy stroker motor under the hood today is a lot more streetable, yet still extremely potent. There's nothing radical but the well-sorted combination starts easily, idles well, and thanks to bottomless reserves of torque, acceleration is explosive at any speed. It's neatly finished with a smooth firewall, some chrome dress-up components, and a giant radiator up front. Underneath, it's a full 2x3 rectangular tube frame chassis with a strut-type front suspension with rack-and-pinion steering and disc brakes, while out back there are ladder bars with coil-over shocks and a narrowed 9-inch rear with acceleration-happy gears inside. A snappy TH350 3-speed automatic is ready for action or just a cruise, and the exhaust note is serious but not abusive. And no pro-street machine is finished without a set of skinny front tires and giant meats out back, all wrapped around traditional Weld Drag-Stars.
This gnarly little Austin is more than a handful for just about anything else that's street legal, and the look means it'll always be appreciated at shows. Call today!
- Cloth Interior
- Coil-Over Suspension
- Front Disc Brakes
- Power Brakes
- Seatbelts (Front)
- Tilt Wheel
- Transmission Spec
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