Dragged From The Treeline: $350 1954 Austin A40 Somerset

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As most of you know, I’m the one on staff that loves what most folks would think of as lost causes–especially British ones. This $350 Austin A40 Somerset certainly fits in that category! A lot of you would consider this a parts car at best. It’s located in Niagara Falls, New York and is up for sale here on eBay with a buy it now of, yes, $350. Thanks to Dave W. for sending us this find!

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As you can see, it’s been hauled from the treeline where it had been for 25 years. The seller describes it as “crispy.” Yes, there’s rust. I’m pretty sure there’s lots of it. Yes, I know it’s bad. But–there’s enough car there, I think, to put something back on the road. Eventually. And if you squint really hard (it helps that my eyesight isn’t that good…which come to think of it might explain a lot) it looks a little like a Mark VII Jaguar–after you put it in the drier for too long!

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It’s cute, isn’t it? Nicely rounded contours. The seller doesn’t want to scrap it; they would like to see it go to someone that would either restore it or restomod it. I might lean towards the latter in this case.

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Surprisingly, there actually is an interior. Unfortunately, the engine is frozen. I’m not sure that I’d spend too much time trying to free it, but I’d at least give it a go. Who knows why it was taken off the road in the first place. There’s a signed off paper dating from 1964, so it may have actually been sitting there all that time! So what do you think? Is it worth $350? And if you owned it, what would you do with it? Tell us your plan in the comments below.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Puhnto

    I love these old Austins! (Kind of with you on the quirky, old, English cars!) Not seeing the Jaguar connection though. Too many late nights?

    • JagManBill

      check out the 55-60 Jaguar 2.4 and 3.4 saloons (aka Mk1)

    • Tre Deuce

      The fender sweeps and the naselle mounted headlights with the upright central grille, are like the XK’s and Mark sedans of the era. My 59′ Mark IX is very similar in styling to the Austin. Google the Jags of that era and you will see what Jamie, JagManBill, and I see.

      • Brian T Kearns

        I can see what you mean I just Google Jaguar and yes the body builds do look similar

  2. Brian T Kearns

    I’d love this car I’d restore it put it back on the road and give it lots of love and care make it my Daly driver it’s worth
    worth the 350

  3. Tom Cotrel

    Restomod it. Transplant Datsun-sourced mechanicals (and 12v negative-grounded electrics) where possible.

    • JagManBill

      no no no!

      Use early Spitfire mechanicals – 1147 or get brave and drop a 1296 in. Worst case jump up to Spriget full drivetrain and front end. Make this lil puppy scoot. Or yes…a Hayabusa!

  4. Terry Vibert Member

    What a challenge. If the floors and frame aren’t too bad then the way to go would be a nice modern drivetrain {japan, ford] what a cool resto project.

  5. Jesper

    Sweet thing. 350€ is no money :-)

    • Brian T Kearns

      That’s 350 USD I believe the vehicle resides in the states

  6. Julian

    Somersets come up for sale surprisingly often. I’ve tracked 64 of them for sale in the last 3 1/2 years on my Facebook group North American Orphan Austin Cars Society (https://www.facebook.com/groups/orphanaustincars/). Of course, only about 10 of those were in decent driving condition. Even seen a couple others turned into rods and gassers. As you can see, they’re not appreciating in value!

  7. Phil

    A friend of mine has one that he built himself. Made a new frame, installed a hot 350 w/5 speed manual. Tubbed in the back, so it’s a 2 seater. He says that it goes too fast. I should have him put it on here for sale. I haven’t ridden in it yet.

  8. John Bower

    I think the engine, transmission and other running gear parts are the same as original Healey 100-4 used. This is very much worth getting the engine “unstuck”.

    There are 100-4s out there with V-8 conversions. This could put them “right”.

    • Brakeservo

      No, the little 1200c.c. motor has no relationship to the nearly twice as big engine used in the Healey. The Healey’s four banger is more like the engine (gasoline version) found in an FX3 London taxi.

  9. brakeservo

    I sold One this same color abou 26 – 27 years ago.I wonder if it’s the same car? Not much fun to drive, I was going to transplant the 1800, automatic and disc brakes from my Austin Marina but never got around to it. Japanese running gear might have made more sense but would have been more work and I wanted to keep it all BMC.

  10. GRAY WOLF

    Gasser material! Say one at Bakerfield drags. It was done very nicely !

  11. packrat

    I’m surprised the steering wheel is on the correct-for-us side. Points for that right there. I was going to make a “Wallace and Gromit” reference, but the one the animators imitated is substantially different. Were this closer to me, it seems to be a reasonably inexpensive point of entry into an otherwise naive and questionable marriage stressor.

  12. angliagt

    I have a few manuals for this,if anyone’s interested.
    I got them with a bunch of other British sport car manuals.
    I’ll donate 10% of the selling price to BF.
    I also have a factory (reprint) one for a Maserati Biturbo!

    • Brian T Kearns

      I’d actually be interested

    • Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Why don’t you send us a list of all the manuals and a photo? We will list them on the site for you. Thanks!

      • angliagt

        Will do – thanks!

  13. ClassicCarFan

    @JagmanBill, “Breakservo” is right, the engine in these is an early version of the BMC “B- series” which went on to be enlarged to 1622 and 1800 and was used in the MGA, MGB and many other models. I believe that the motor in this particular Austin would be the upgraded 1500 by ’54 not the original size 1200cc ? It is not an “A-series” like the Spridgets and nothing to do with Standard-Triumph so the Spitfire engine would not be a straight swap.

    I fear this example is just too rough to bother with. You could spend a lot of money sorting this one out and you would not have a very valuable car when you finished.

    A good one of these might make an interesting classic to own if you don’t mind driving slowly ! They did have a certain homely charm…. but this one is probably too far gone.

  14. Rod

    I’m looking for the trunk deck that covers the spare tire of the 1954 A40, any hope you have an extra?

    Rod
    Victoria BC

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