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Homepage. This page: Is this estate-car version of the Austin A40 ferrying people to the local shoot?

Austin A40 Countryman 1200cc.

Various A40s appear across this site, thanks in part to the '49 saloon and '51 pickup I have myself. Shown on this page is a period photograph of the estate-car version of the early 1950s Austin A40, known as the Countryman. This is a genuine A40 Countryman, note the sliding rear side windows, neatly inset into the rear side panels of the bodywork. The Countryman was a very useful little vehicle indeed, with seating for 4 or 5 people. The rear seats could be folded down flush into the floor space, transforming it into a van, on which this model was based. Many people converted vans into estate cars to dodge purchase tax, a tax that on the commercial version was much lower. Whereas the A40 car was replaced by the Somerset in 1952, production of the Countryman, 10cwt van and the pickup, continued for several more years.
An Austin Countryman of the 1950s
As with the other variants, the A40 Countryman was powered by a 1200cc engine, forerunner to the popular B Series unit that would serve BMC & BL well for a couple of decades. A close look at the photo above shows the larger 17" wheels that were fitted to the commercial versions of the A40 range, requiring the front wheel arches to have a larger opening. Also note the lack of chrome trim strip on the door. Earlier Countrymans had the separate removable rear wheel spats, which were later replaced with integral arches as seen here. Standard road tyres are fitted to the front of this A40, but the owner has opted for Town & Country tyres on the back. Perhaps this particular Austin was regularly used cross-country, en route to the local shoot??
My guess is that the Austin wasn't very old when this photo was taken, as it has yet to develop the usual "droopy doorhandle" syndrome that most A40s seem to end up demonstrating!
More information about A40s in general can be found here, with a write-up on the commercial version over here in the van & pickup section at oldclassiccar.
Return to Old Car Photos Page No. 9.

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