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Garage Find! Austin A40 Somerset


Some challenging pictures here of a garage find in Bluemont, Virginia, although it was originally delivered in Ontario, Canada and still wears a decal from AM900 CHML, a radio station out of Hamilton. The A40 Somerset Convertible is a quintessentially British car, stolid and classy. It’s listed for sale here on eBay, where the opening bid is $3,000 with no reserve and the buy it now is $5,000.


If you put this picture together with the first one, you can get a pretty good idea of what the car looks like. All curves! The A40 Somerset was the successor to the A40 Devon, and continued to offer the Austin promise of durability and reliability in what at the time was considered a stylish package. Most, if not all of the trim is present on this car, which considering they only made 7,243 of the convertibles (versus over 173,000 saloons) is important. There’s enough of a top left to make a pattern from as well–another good thing.


The pattern of the break in the windshield reminds me that tempered glass was used in the UK for a while after the US started using laminated glass. I found a new one here for 330 Euro. Shipping might be difficult, though.


As the seller explains in the ad, there’s a ding in the rear end. It would have been nice to be able to see the extent of the ding–oh well. What I can see of the bumper could be straightened if necessary, and I suspect it will be necessary.


The remainder of the body shell seems to be covered in small scratches and dings as well. The good thing about this old British steel is that it’s quite soft compared to modern high-strength steels and can be worked easily with body tools. The seller tells us that the frame is good, but there are no pictures to show that. That vertical slot behind the door is for the semaphore turn signal indicators, which are really cool to watch in operation. By the way, there’s an active world wide club for the Austin “Counties” series of vehicles; their website is here.


Some of the interior might be able to be saved; I’m guessing it’s the original one. I guess you had to like your companion a lot when riding two-up in a Somerset!


Here’s the wheel, and you can see the original “Austin” radio behind it. The interior really looks original and has some beautiful features. However, the seller tells us it needs floor pans.


The Somerset used the same 1200 cc four cylinder engine as the Devon before it. I’m sure this one will need a great deal of work before it’s running; there’s no telling how long it has sat–the seller says it will turn over at high speed but not fire, so at least it’s not seized.


Had to show you this beautiful warranty certificate that comes with the car along with some other paperwork. You can see the name and address of the original owner; I’d be making contact attempts as soon as possible. I realize a car like this isn’t for everyone, but it only has to be for one person. Are you the one?


  1. Fred W.

    Regarding the break in the windshield and tempered glass in the UK vs laminated in the US- the Austin looks like it has either laminated glass or regular flat glass. Tempered glass breaks into a million tiny, not very sharp pieces. Generally , US car windshields are laminated and side windows tempered, except in some of the oldest cars which have ordinary ( and very unsafe) glass. I’m not familiar with which type Euro cars had and when.

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  2. redwagon

    link please

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  3. Madbrit

    Not sure when the Brits went to toughened windshields, they also used zone toughened which enabled one to stop with a little more vision. The supplier noted is out of stock at this time, so a windshield may be almost impossible to locate, especially in the USA. Other than these problems, a rare little car worthy of restoration. Swapping in a later MGB motor would help it keep up with modern traffic too. Our family car was a 1952 A40 Somerset 4 door sedan and it coped with a large family and lots of hills in Devon and the surrounding areas, during our vacations.

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  4. John Forsman

    I wish you hadn’t mentioned this car, since I’m considering it. I saw it on eBay Tuesday.

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  5. John Forsman

    you betcha!

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  6. Moose Feather

    Seems like a reasonable price. One just sold on Bring A Trailer auction for just over $10 k that looks to be in a bit better condition, but resoration costs would likely be similar.

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  7. Dave

    On a completely different note, I grew up in Hamilton Ontario, and the radio station you mentioned,900 CHML is still active today. It was at one time the biggest station in the area when AM was king ! I don’t live in Hamilton anymore but still work at the only steel mill left there.

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