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See Homepage. This page: One of the classic light vans built by Austin, the Devon-based A40 10cwt of 1948 onwards.
Classic vans and pickups

The Austin A40 Van.

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The 10cwt Devon-based van
The Austin A40 van was based on, and closely mirrored developments to, the post-war A40 Devon saloon. As with all light commercials, these 1/2 ton vans usually got a real hammering in the hands of the many different tradesmen that bought the 10cwt Austin van. As a result, survivors are distinctly rare on the ground, and the low number of A40 vans still on the road follows this trend.

Evolution of the 10cwt Austin van

Early 10cwt Austin
At first glance, the A40 van seemed to change little throughout it's production, a run that continued long after the contemporary Devon and Somerset saloons ceased. However in detail barely a year went by, without some change being introduced by BMC, to improve the van and maintain it's competitiveness. The very early GV2 vans, introduced in 1948 I believe (the A40 saloon made it's debut the year before), were obviously based on the saloon, but in fact shared only some parts with it. The doors were the same pressings, although had different interior and exterior trim. The front end panelwork was derived from the saloon, although the front wings had larger apertures to accomodate the 17" van wheels. The wheels were also much sturdier in design when compared to the 16" rims fitted to the saloon. The rear bodywork was formed in aluminium, and there was a fabric centre panel in the roof. Removeable rear spats covered the rear wheels, a feature shared with the pickup and van-based Countryman estate car. The grille was the mazak/chrome item found on the saloon, and the chassis and running gear, with its hydra-mechanical braking arrangement, were also shared (albeit with revised gear ratios). Early vans and cars had 5" headlamps, but this would soon switch to Lucas 7" units, and separate sidelights.
Revisions for 1951.
A40 Vans
Early in 1951 the first batch of obvious changes to the A40 van were introduced. Most obvious was a switch to a new grille assembly, painted instead of chrome. Early vans had smooth bonnets, although due to issues with cooling, extra vents were soon let in to the leading edge of the bonnet. By now the rear bodywork was in steel, including the roof panel, but still featuring separate aluminium rear wheel spats. The switch from the Devon-style dashboard to a simpler painted dash also occurred at around this time. These vans were known as the GV3 series. Late in 1951 the Devon saloon underwent a number of revisions, including a switch to a column gearchange, and hydraulic braking to all four wheels. The 17" wheels were modified slightly, to accomodate wider brake drums, meaning that wheels for earlier vans are not interchangeable with later examples. The revised GV4 commercials followed many of the changes introduced to the saloon, in preparation for the introduction of the Somerset-type running gear due in 1952. This would be the year that the A40 Devon saloon was replaced, yet the light commercials remained in production, alongside the Somerset saloon, for many years to come.
By 1953 the A40's rear bodywork would see another update, this time integrating the rear arches into the main body of the vehicle, at the same time improving access for wheelchanging. The final GV5 series van, introduced in September 1954, continued in production, alongside the new A40/A50 Cambridges, right up to 1957. In all, the A40 vans had been in production for ten years. Over 78,000 vans were produced during this production run, compared to 61,800+ pickups and 26,500+ Countryman estates.
Surviving vans are not too common, with most seemingly to be found in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The photograph below shows a typical mid-production A40 van, liveried in the colours of Hotpoint. An interesting photo of another van, featuring signwriting for Fibrosine, can be seen here, with more information about all the A40 Devons here.
Austin 10cwt van
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