Austin A40 Somerset

Key facts

  • Year: 1953
  • Country: Great Britain
  • Capacity: 1,200cc
  • Cylinders: 4 cylinder
  • Valves: overhead valve
  • Output: 42hp @ 4,500rpm
  • Performance: 68mph, 0-60mph 31.6 seconds
  • Price new: £728
  • Owner: National Motor Museum Trust
  • Manufacturer: Austin Motor Co. Ltd, Longbridge, Birmingham
A 1953 Austin A40 Somerset On Display

The Austin A40 appeared in 1948, replacing pre-war models such as the Austin Eight, Ten and Twelve. Available as either the four-door Devon or the short-lived two-door Dorset, the A40 retained a separate chassis and incorporated independent front suspension. Styling showed a distinct American influence. The A40 became the Somerset in February 1952 and was restyled to match the A70 Hereford and A30. Hydraulic brakes and a column gear change were now standard, previously only available on the Devon in 1951.

A total of 166,063 A40 Somerset saloons were built between 1952 and 1954, along with 7,243 drophead coupes. By 1954 the Somerset looked dated and a completely new A40, the Cambridge, with unitary chassis was introduced. This shared the B-series engine with the rival Morris Oxford, following the merger of Austin and Morris to form the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1952.

An altogether unexpectedly high performance … The Austin Motor Company have managed to follow up one best seller with another

The Motor 9 April 1952

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