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Austin A40 Sports
Austin A40 Sports, ca 1951
Manufacturer Austin/BMC
Production 1950-1953
Class sports car
Body style(s) 2-door convertible
Engine(s) 1.2 L I4
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual
Wheelbase 92 in (2,337 mm) [2]
Length 159 in (4,039 mm) [2]
Width 61 in (1,549 mm) [2]
Height 57.5 in (1,461 mm) [2]
Curb weight 19 long cwt (2,128.0 lb/965.2 kg)[2]
Fuel capacity 8.75 imp gal (40 L/11 US gal)[3]
Related Austin A40
Designer Eric Neale

Austin A40 Sports

See Austin A40 for other A40 models.

The Austin A40 Sports debuted at the 1949 London Motor Show[4] as a four-passenger, aluminium-bodied convertible version of the Austin A40 — carrying an Austin of England nameplate, bearing the marque's Flying A hood ornament, and designed and manufactured in conjunction with Jensen Motors.

Production of the A40 Sports, which was intended as a sporty touring car rather than a true sports car,[4] began in November 1950[5] for model year 1951. By the time production had ended in 1953, approximately 4,011 [6] examples had been produced.


As one in a series of collaborations between Austin and Jensen Motors of West Bromwich, the A40 Sports originated when Austin's Chairman Leonard Lord saw the Jensen Interceptor and requested that Jensen develop a body that could use the A40 mechanicals. The resulting body-on-frame A40 Sports was designed by Eric Neale, an ex-Wolseley stylist who had joined Jensen in 1946.[7] During production, A40 Sports bodies were built by Jensen and transported to Austin's Longbridge plant for final assembly.[6]

As per Lord's intention, the A40 Sports was based on the mechanicals of the Austin A40 Devon, though the centre section of the chassis was boxed to provide rigidity for the open body. The A40 Sports also employed a twin-SU carburetored version of the 1.2 L engine producing 46 bhp (34 kW) rather than 42 bhp (31 kW).[1] Gear selection was originally via a floor mounted shifter.[6] Steering was worm and roller type, front suspension was independent coil springs with rigid beam axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear.

Production of the A40 Sports occurred in two series.[5] The initial GD2 Series began in November 1950 and featured a floor gear change and dashboard identical to that of the Devon.[5] The later GD3 Series began production in August 1951 and ended in April 1953, featuring a steering-column gear change, full hydraulic brakes, and a revised dash with a centred instrument panel.[5]


The A40 Sports strained to maintain 96 to 105 km/h (60 to 65 mph) cruising speeds[4] — despite a top speed of 77.8 mph (125.2 km/h) as recorded by the British magazine The Motor in 1951 — and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 25.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 29.3 miles per imperial gallon (9.64 L/100 km/24.4 mpg-US) was recorded.[2]

Market pricing

In the United States[4] — initially targeted as its primary market[4] — the A40 was priced at approximately $2,200 (equivalent to $17,453, 2009). It was listed at approximately £818 in the UK.,[2] at a time when a mainstream middle market six cylinder saloon, the Vauxhall Velox, was offered for £550 and Austin's own A40 saloon was offered for slightly above £500.

Round the World in 1951

As a publicity stunt to promote the A40 Sports, Leonard Lord bet Alan Hess of Austin's publicity department that he could not drive round the world in 30 days in the car. In 1951, an A40 Sports driven by Hess[6] achieved the round-the-world feat in 21 days rather than the planned 30 — with assistance of a KLM cargo plane — covering approximately 10,000 land miles, averaging 475 miles per day and averaging 29 mpg.[6]


At Toddington Steam Rally 2010

List known examples below.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Robson, G. (2006). A-Z of British Cars 1945-80. Devon, UK: Herridge. ISBN 978-0-9541063-9-3. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "The Austin A40 Sports", The Motor. May 16, 1951. 
  3. "Second Hand car guide supplement", Practical Motorist 6 Nbr 68: between pages 768 & 769. date April 1960. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Motoring Memories: Austin A40 Sports, 1951-1953". Canadian Driver, June 15, 2007, Bill Vance.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Austin A40 Sports".
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "Austin A40 Sports". Austin Memories.
  7. "Jensen Cars". Wolverhampton Museum of Industry.

External links

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