Many Summers In The Sun: 1954 Austin A40 Somerset

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This 1954 Austin A40 Somerset has seen some better days, but maybe it can still be saved. At least it’s been in hot, dry Arizona where sheet metal survives. Thanks to Bentleyguy for sending this one in! It’s located in Apache Junction, Arizona and is up for sale here on craigslist for only $895.

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The A40 Somerset was intended to be a family sedan, and featured a 1.2 liter version of the venerable “B” series four cylinder that later powered the MGA, MGB and Marina in addition to many other cars.  This one still has the engine, although the owner says it needs to be rebuilt. I wonder if the 1798 cc version from an MGB would fit; I’ll bet that would be cheaper than a rebuild. Actually, having done both a swap and a rebuild recently of a B series engine, I know it would be cheaper. Although this car is largely complete, the grille is not included. I did find one for sale here but it sure wasn’t inexpensive. I’ll bet with some feelers out to British car clubs something would eventually turn up, though.

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What amazes me is the lack of rust and general completeness of the car. Apart from the grille, there’s nothing missing that would be difficult to locate. That has me hoping that some British car nut like myself will pick this up and figure out a way to get it back on the road. I’ll bet you didn’t know these were available as convertibles and pickups as well, did you!

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While the interior is very, very rough, it does have components that are usable as patterns. And since it’s a very simple interior, it wouldn’t take much for an upholsterer to repair and cover these seats (or even use a seat cover if you’re on a budget). Sheet vinyl and carpet would do for the rest of the interior if you’re not a stickler for originality. I would probably want to take a shot at this one if I were closer. Any interest from local Barn Finds readers?

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Comments

  1. randy

    Send it back from whence it came!

  2. Jim

    There were some ugly cars in the 50’s

  3. Fred

    I think, restored, it looks kinda cute in a cartoon sort of way.

  4. Mark S Member

    Look like it should belong to the Pillsbury dow boy.

  5. Brakeservo

    About 20 or 25 years ago I owned one of these. I bought a running but ugly Austin Marine with a good 5 bearing 1800 engine (same as an MGB) and automatic transmission. It was an easy conversion. Disc brakes and rack and pinion steering would have made it perfect. It made a nice and humorous counter-point to my Bentley.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks! You’re not helping the fact that I like this, because I literally have a perfectly functional Marina drivetrain looking for a home. It’s a manual, though (darn :-))

  6. Peter

    Can anyone advise an e-mail address for the seller. I am in Australia, but I have a US colleague who has one. I would like to pass on the details.

  7. Janelle Hines

    I love this car! I love this ’54 A40 Austin car so much that I bought it and have found a second somerset engine in Prescott and am going to rebuild between both engines. The interior is shot but I know a great upholsterer. I have seen this car in the movie Unfortunate Events and think it is just the cutest car. I would love to find the front grill and gas cap if anyone has one or knows someone who might sell please contact me. Thanks so much! Dec. 2017

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