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Homepage. This page: A second page to feature classic Austin A40 Somersets of the early 1950s.

Austin A40 Somerset (Page 2).

This selection of photos continues on from a previous page to feature period shots of Austin's A40 Somerset saloon of the early 1950s. I ran one myself for a while in the late 1990s, although my relationship with the curvaceous 1200cc Austin wasn't always the easiest. The low point was reached one bright sunny day when the rear wheel decided to part company with the rear axle, wedging itself under the back wing, causing the car to scrape along and leave a deep groove along a re-surfaced section of tarmac. Not the car's fault really (I'm not sure why it happened), but, as the latest in a series of issues I'd had with the 1950's Austin, I sold it on, replacing it with a 1950's Ford-based special - which didn't run terribly well either.
In 2014 I heard that my old car is in the process of being converted into an A40 Somerset pickup, a variant never officially offered by Austin.
To open this second page of period A40 Somerset photos is this charming holiday scene from, I'm sure, the mid/late 1950s. A light-coloured A40, registration JAM 605 (was it ever preserved I wonder?) of 1952/1953, rests with its windows open, close by a period caravan. A gent, stood alongside the Austin, and a lady reclined in a deckchair, can also spied in this nostalgic image. A young child stands close to the car also, perhaps dreaming idly of the day when she too can take to the wheel of a dependable Austin such as this one. Given how sturdy the Somerset's separate chassis is, there's every chance that the car was still on the road when she hit her 17th birthday, and was ready to start learning to drive for herself.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size images.)
A 1952 Austin Somerset

2. An A40 parked in London.

An afternoon in a quiet London side street, September 1954, is captured in this next old photograph. In the foreground is the rotund rear end of an A40 Somerset. Facing it is a Yorkshire-built machine, in the form of a Jowett Javelin (better period shots of Javelins can be found on this page). Unfortunately, there are no notes with this image to advise whereabouts exactly it was taken - many of the other photographs in this set, taken as part of a traffic and parking survey, came with handwritten-notes confirming the time of day, and the names of the streets being reviewed.
An A40 saloon car parked in London

3. A grey example in Cyprus.

Austins of the 1950s were a common sight in many countries around the globe, not just in Britain. The following two photographs are of overseas examples. Bonny emailed over the following shot, that he took in 1959 while staying in Limassol, Cyprus. The location is Heroes Square. While the Somerset was six or so years old at the time, its condition reflects how much kinder the Cypriot climate is to cars, than back home in dear old Blighty. The chrome trim, glistening in the sunshine, has yet to display any signs of the mazak beneath the shine deteriorating. Bonny suggests that the motorcycle, laden with baskets, is likely to be a Matchless.
Austin parked in Cyprus

4. A Somerset spotted in Utrecht, 1958.

While cycling through Utrecht in 1958, Leo captured a number of now-classic cars on film. Here, a LHD A40 Somerset is shown parked at the side of a quiet street. In the background, a scooter and the front of a Peugeot 203 saloon are also in view. Other than the steering wheel and single rear view door mirror being on the wrong :-) side, and the presence of a "WW" (Wegenwacht breakdown organisation) badge on the grille, the car is otherwise identical to a home-market car. Thanks for the photograph.
An A40 Somerset in Utrecht
More old photos like this will be added in here shortly.
Return to Page 15 in the gallery of vintage cars and vehicles.

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