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Homepage. This page: My A40 Devon saloon
Austin A40 Devon seen here with F4 Phantom
An awesome cutting edge, high speed, highly sophisticated product of genius thinking often seen during the Cold War era, and an F4 Phantom...

Austin A40 Devon - built 1949

During the summer of 2005 I heard that a nice old Austin Devon was up for sale. I'd always had a soft spot for these post-war mid-sized Austins, so naturally my ears pricked up when this news filtered through.

A40 intro & derivatives
My own Devons:
A40 Devon Photographs
A40 in the snow pictures
A40 Pickup purchase no.1
A40 Pickup purchase no.2
Other Devon & Austin A40 stuff on Oldclassiccar:
A40 Devon Free Parts ads
A40 Pickup project pics
A40 Sports model history
A40 Sports sales brochure
A40 2dr Tourer (DHC)
A40 & A70 Ute in Australia
A40 Pickup in New Zealand
A look at the A40 Vans
Austin cars screensaver
Tri-ang Minic A40s
Vintage photos of A40s
Other sites:
Austin A40 site (NZ)
Austin A40 Profile (NZ)
A40 Woodie resto'
Austin Counties chat (NZ)
Austin Works (USA)
Earlpart catalogue download
Old Era Services (Australia)
Restored Classics
I went and had a look, and the rumours that it was a nice one seemed to be accurate. Over several cups of tea an agreeable price was decided upon by the vendor and myself. This was just the beginning of my negotiations phase however, for my other half was going to take some convincing that buying this Devon was an essential purchase, just like all the others have been..

Days and days of blackmail, persuasion, compromise, and several promises of DIY tasks to be done on the house, and I finally managed to gain muted sanction to acquire this shapely postwar machine. The fact that I'd recently re-acquired my old 122S Volvo didn't help matters when trying to justify this A40. Ah well.

Anyway, the day dawned in mid September when I was due to collect it. Fortunately it passed the MOT with flying colours. A squint underneath the car confirmed that the underside was in very clean order, and should last well if I keep it away from dampness and salty roads in winter. Prior to the MOT, new wheel cylinders had been fitted to the front brakes, so these should last for some time. The car is fitted with a mild steel exhaust, but comes with a spare stainless system, which will he handy to have in stock when the original disintegrates. Others spares include a steering column & box, rear springs, a gearbox, and some small trim items.

Update. During 2007 I had an email out of the blue from Berni, who once owned my Devon. He had it from 1986ish until 1995 or so, after which it was sold and restored completely: "... I kept it under a tarpaulin outside and it was a lot rougher then than it is now, I repaired the big box section sills under the floor that it doesn't really need, rebuilt the front suspension both sides and fitted a new offside rear spring when the old one cracked a leaf ... the original engine's block was warped and we couldn't keep a cylinder head on it for more than about two weeks, ended up putting a Wolseley 1500 engine in to it. I'm glad to see it survived and prospered - look after the old girl". Below are the photos that Berni sent over.
Austin Devon pic 1
Austin Devon pic 2
Austin Devon pic 3
Austin Devon pic 4
Austin Devon pic 5
Austin Devon pic 6
The A40 Devon was powered by an early incarnation of what would become to be known as the B series engine. Of 1200cc, this overhead valve engine is a sturdy and reliable slogger, leagues ahead in my opinion of some of the sidevalve powered offerings from Ford of the time. The car also comes with a four speed gearbox as standard, unlike the small Dagenham saloons of the time.

This engine would go on to be used in the later A40 Somerset, and, in various enlarged forms, in cars such as the MGB, Wolseley 1500, MG Magnette, and the many badge-modified variants of the Farina-styled Austin Cambridge, by which time it was up to 1622cc. This early-ish example has a floor mounted gearchange, later cars would feature a column shift, as seen on the later Somerset.

Driving the Devon is highly entertaining, and, even when compared to the Volvo, is a real timewarp experience. Cornering is reasonable, thanks in part to modern-ish radial tyres that it is currently fitted with. Acceleration isn't tooooo bad, and it cruises along quite happily at 45mph. It could go quicker, but in deference to its age, I try to not push the Devon's engine too hard. The original semaphore indicators still work as intended, although they have been supplemented by flashing indicators.

The bodywork, sat on its separate chassis, is in good order all around. The chrome is reasonable too, some could do with replating perhaps one day, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. The interior is similarly very nice, the rear seats and headlining have been replaced, leaving the front seats in original but still perfectly usable condition. In the end, I sold the Devon, after more than five years of ownership. More photos of the A40 can be found here. I owned the A40 for a number of years, finally selling it late 2010.

A40 Devon
A40 Devon next to an old fuel pump
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