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Homepage. This page: A classic fifties' Austin Westminster, and a variety of other cars, parked outside a BMC building.

Austin Westminster.

This is one of several old photos that turned up relating to BMC (British Motor Corporation) cars of the 1950s. Heading this line-up of vehicles is a four-door Austin A95 Westminster, powered by BMC's C-Series 2.6 litre six-cylinder engine, coupled to either a manual or optional automatic gearbox. Alongside the Westminster are several other vehicles, not all of the same stable. Closest to the A95 is a 1953-1955 Standard 8 saloon, identifiable in part thanks to its sliding door windows, a feature of the car at its launch in 1953, and only replaced on all 8s in 1955. Further along is a sportscar from Austin-Healey, in the shape of a Mk1 Sprite, while a van based on the Ford 100E saloon - the Thames 300E - in the livery of Constructors Limited of Birmingham, is also in evidence. Furthest away is a four-door Morris Minor.
The visitor in the Ford van could well have been speaking to factory owners, regarding their range of steel shelving, tool stands, cupboards and similar factory equipment.
Can anyone identify the building behind the Austin Westminster? The huge Nuffield sign attached to the nearest end of the building might suggest Cowley, as might the illuminated signs for Morris Commercial, Morris, MG, and Wolseley. However, in the distance, above a showroom at the far end of the building, are signs for Austin, Austin-Healey and Riley cars (not clearly visible in this photograph), so could it be Longbridge? More rare photographs of this BMC plant can be found here, two of which are interesting as they appear to have been taken prior to the facility being in operation.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Original photo of an Austin Westminster

The A95 and A105 saloons.

The A95 was Austin's updated version of the previous (and rather short-lived) A90 Westminster, incorporating many of the design cues that would also differentiate the four-cylinder A55 Cambridge, from its A40/A50 forerunner. The most obvious differences between the earlier and later cars were the longer rear body (the "hips" of the A40/A50/A90 were gone), the wraparound rear window, and new side mouldings. Up front, a new grille would feature. Of more significance though was the introduction of a six-cylinder estate version, known as the A95 Countryman, offering those motorists with an eye for comfort but with a need for practicality, a good excuse to visit their local BMC agents and book a test drive.
Similar in appearance, but sporting a yet higher specification, was the A105, a plush motor-car available in four-door saloon form only. The 90mph A95 and the 96 mph A105 would continue in production until BMC's be-finned, Farina-designed, replacements were ready.
Find more early motoring photos on Page 16 of the vintage gallery.

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