Reader Find: 1951 A40 Austin Sports

unexpected-find

From Fred H – I attended the monthly Saturday coffee of the Boise Idaho British Car Club in August and announced I had sold my MG and was looking for a new project. I was directed to a visitor who had a car for sale that belonged to his dad that was sitting in a barn near Sacramento, California. He told me the last time the car ran was 1972…

getting-closer

My wife and I inspected and purchased  the car while visiting family in the Bay area over Thanksgiving.  The son graciously agreed to transport the car to Boise and it now sits in my garage. We have affectionately named the car “Possum” after finding a long dead possum in the car.

possum

Included is a photo of the possum.

1951-Austin-A40-Sports

The mechanics of the car are based on the Austin A40 Devon – 1200 cc pushrod 4 cylinder with twin SU carbs.  It is a left hand drive car with the speedo in mph  apparently originally intended for the US market. The forum I belong to for Austin owners suggests that less than 300 of the total production of 4,000 built between 1951 and 1953 were shipped to the US. What make the “Sports” (convertible model rare is the body panels are aluminum and Austin had the Jensen factory build the shells. The Devon uses steel for the body panels.

Certainly meets the definition of a barn find…

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Comments

  1. Mathieu Belanger

    Possum Kingdom, nice car!

  2. JD Sport

    Now that is an interesting car that should be restored.
    Nice Find !

  3. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    What a cool find!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. MikeH

    What a great find and a fun project, but tell us more. I assume the drivetrain, seats, gauges, grille, etc are all there. I can see the bumpers but the possum is all I see of the interior.

    • Fred H

      The car is for the mostly complete, to date just the grill and inner pin that locks the hood down in missing. The 40 plus year storage in California was kind to the car with no apparent rust to the steel frame and no electrolysis issues where the aluminum body panels are fastened to the steel frame. The Yahoo forum for Austin owners is a great resource of information. As I visit the forum (daily) I am in contact with fellow Austin owners around the world (US, Canada, UK,Germany, Chile, India the list goes on) .

      Like 1
      • Robert J.

        More details and pictures from Wikipedia if others are interested in seeing what this rarity will look like when you make it to the other end of “project road”.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_A40_Sports

      • Lynne

        Hi Fred just seen your comments from 2015 I don’t suppose you have a photo of the catch that locks the hood down please. Thanks Lynne

  5. Dave Wright

    This is a wonderful worthwhile project……..one of the nicest cars I have seen here in a long time. Compare this to the same period MG. Looks almost Itiaian.

  6. Mark E

    Perfect example of a car that deserves to be restored! (And it also illustrates the value of good connections through friends & car clubs) Keep us updated & lets see pics when it’s restored! ^_^

    • ross w. lovell

      Greetings All,

      Did the convertible body choice designate aluminum?
      A sportscar based on the A40 is really interesting, a open car even moreso, but wait there’s more………and it’s aluminum.
      This is a pretty impressive barn find plus I hopethe possum was in the deal.
      Jensen making the bodies……..too bad the U.S. manufacturing moded didn’t entertain ideas like this, cars might have a little more individuality to them.

  7. GJCujo

    Great find. I happen to own one of the few A40 Sports imported to North America and she is affection ally called the Jellybean due to her unique green hue. I found her sitting in a garage here on Vancouver Island. She is a big hit at British car shows because few people know what she is and again the factoey green colour . The one unique feature I always have to remember is that the gear shift pattern is backwards as the linkage was never reworked for the few North American built cars – so first and 2nd to the front of the car ( shift column ) and then pull back for 3rd. Enjoy Possum !!

    • Fred H

      I am guessing your car is a GD3 ( shift on the column). Mine is a GD2 with the shift of the floor. Shift pattern appears to be correct .

  8. RickyM

    Great find and I am looking forward to seeing progress of the restoration. Well Done !

  9. Rancho Bella

    I find this car to be a delight I had to look it up on some websites to throw a little ed-u-macation my way. The pea color is my favorite. So neat……….
    Keep us in the loop
    And there is a 1950 four door in the Imperial Valley Ca. on Craigslist

  10. DT

    I dont think you are going to find the grill at a local garage sale. but very rare and hard to belive still exsistant.not too bad looking and in good shape. you scored

  11. Rev Rory

    One of those has been on my list for years. Best of luck with the project, GREAT find. And let me know if you lose interest… ;-)

  12. John M

    Now there’s a possum that takes playing possum a little too far.
    Cool car.

  13. Rex Kahrs Member

    Just imagine the possum-bilities!

  14. Jeff Lavery Staff

    Looks like a nice, dry barn. The best way to find them. Good luck with the new project!

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