Save This Car: $400 1960 Austin Westminster

Warning: assumptions incoming! When reading this listing in Canada for a 1960 Austin Westminster sedan, I got the feeling that this vehicle was once loved by the original owners that took her home. Then I got the feeling the current owner planned to gut the internals to make a rat rod, and now I hope an Austin fanatic saves this stately sedan. Then, there’s the price: you’ll find it here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of just $381!

Here’s some of the damning evidence that the seller (amazingly) retains about this car’s past: photos of it when it was likely driven home for the first time to the family’s driveway and all of the associated paperwork from that very first day of ownership. In my experience, the owners who hold onto all of the original paperwork are good people to buy from. Now, there are exceptions to every rule, but it generally indicates a bare-minimum level of care for the vehicle in question.

The interior photo is almost heartbreaking. The seller says rodents have done damage to the interior, which usually happens when you bring a new project home and then allow it to sit for years with no action taken on either its continued preservation or a full-out restoration. Since the seller references having a supercharged Thunderbird drivetrain to go with the Austin, I think that gives you an idea of the original plan.

Sure, it’s possible that the Austin was already beginning to rust – it is in Canada, after all. But I have no doubt the rust has only gotten worse being exposed to the elements (and mice) for years. The Westminster may not be particularly valuable, but for the asking price, it is absolutely worth saving. The seller also references that the wheels are compatible with Chevy five lugs, but I hope it never comes to that. Someone save this car!

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Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Ok, this is one where if it were at all close enough that transport made sense, it would be coming home now. Darn. Double darn.

    • Jon

      Same here. but its’s a 36 hour drive each way. :(

      • John

        That’s right, only 36 hours!

  2. RayT Member

    These were nice cars, and this one could be again, though it doesn’t make economic sense to do a full resto. You’d have to want it for yourself….

    The engine is in most respects identical to that installed in Austin-Healey 3000s, so it makes sufficient power to haul the car around and should be easy to rebuild. Don’t know anything about the BW autobox, though.

    It’s much too far from me, or I might be thinking about bidding against you, Jamie!

  3. Howard A Member

    Austin fanatic? This kind of Austin? Well, there was one in Canada, that’s for sure. Can’t imagine a big interest in this, although, at one time ( like 1960) it must have been a pretty fancy car. Top of the line for Austin maybe? Apparently, it’s an “A99” and was only made for 3 years. “The Motor” magazine tested one like this and got an honest 100 mph out of it. I also heard the BW automatic was adequate. I think a 3000 owner somewhere, just found a motor for their roadster.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Noooooo! Don’t cannibalize it! Doggone it, Howard, I can’t bid on this one, I can’t transport it, but you’re going to drive me in that direction. It would make a great counterpart to our 1956 Standard Vanguard Sportsman…

      • Dave Wright

        Jamie…….I have to pick up a small Forklift in Tacoma in a couple of weeks…..I have room, could bring it back for you.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Dave, that’s a terrific offer, and I appreciate it. Unfortunately a look at the project list and available storage (getting smaller shortly) it just doesn’t make sense. This will be one of those that I regret passing on later, I suppose. But thank you very much!

  4. Kem Jones

    They were quite common in c Canada. They also call the a Princess with a Rolls Royce engine in ten We owned one in the mid 60’s It fooled a lot of Rodders when a Little Austin could show them taillights

    • Bill

      The Austin Vanden Plas Princess was BASED on the westy, but a lot of upgrades, also heavier. I mechanically resto’ed on for a guy once. It was a wonderful car to drive. The Rolls Royce engine was smooth and lovely once we got her broken in (complete re-build).

      • JagManBill

        I had a 62 VdP Mk2…very “stately” car. I am sooo glad this is too far away…

  5. david

    Would like it, but am in AZ for the winter. Will be gone by Spring when I’m back in Idaho. I have a “good” 4-speed w/od Wolseley 6/99 and a 6/110 parts car w/auto. Heavy car so slow off the line, but fast and solid at speed. Surprizingly high quality david

  6. ClassicCarFan

    Shame this one has gone so far. I’d agree with others here that this would not be an economically sensible restoration. There’s a lot of work to do and the finished vehicle would not be highly valuable. Having said that, not all restorations are weighed up on a purely economic basis. This car could possibly be saved by someone who has time, the facilities and the necessary skills to do the bulk of the work themselves? The mechanical parts are very straight-forward and parts are relatively easy to find still.

    These old “Farina” bodied cars (Styled by Pininfarina, see the similarity to the contemporary Peugeot..?) are nice old cruisers. Not real fast or great handling cars but in the up-scale 6-cylinder versions like this they were well-trimmed and comfortable. The C-series BMC engines are torquey and pretty sturdy units. As Kem Jones says above, there were multiple badge-engineered versions produced including the Princess-badged versions trimmed out and finished by BMC’s in-house coach-builders “Vanden Plas” which were even more luxurious and the “4 Litre R” version you mention had the Rolls-Royce 6-cylinder engine.

    I would guess that engine and various other ancillary parts would be of interest to an Austin-Healy restorer as it is a version of the same 3 litre C-series motor. There are probably quite a few interchangeable parts.

  7. Martin

    Hey Hey…. easy with the “car is rusty because it’s in Canada” assumptions. This car is in Kelowna, BC which is in the interior of the province. That area has long warm dry summers. I would think this car has a lot less rust than people might think – probably more attributable to metal quality and production methods, then to environment. I hope a passionate Austin enthusiast picks this car up and gives it the TLC it sure deserves – how many of these could be left?

  8. Jon

    What kind of car is next to it?

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I think that’s a Fiberfab Valkyrie kit car.

  9. Gary

    Don’t forget people this shares the same engine as the AUSTIN HEALEY

  10. Martin Horrocks

    Don´t weep for this. These cars were popular fodder on the UK banger/destruction derby scene, and it was probably their best moment.

    Ok, shares engine with A-H 3000, but importantly different in being obese and not handling. Westminsters only had street credibility with UK Freemasons, even then not most. Personally, I don´t have a problem with the seller´s original intention of rodding the car.

    The RR engine which went into the Princess R was designed for the Austin Champ. A failed Land Rover/Jeep competitor.

    • Pete

      Give it an AH3000 disc conversion, suitablr damper help and tuning job on the engine and you will surprise a lot of people. Wire wheel conversion looks smart too

  11. RNR

    I have a lightly played with two tone green “Matchbox” toy of this car that I’ve had since, well, around 1960.

    • MSG Bob

      And by now, the toy is probably worth more than this car.

  12. Jubjub

    From what I’ve gathered, these once ubiquitous Farinas are all but extinct in the motherland in large part to banger racing.

    Knew of the Princess with the Rolls engine. I didn’t know they used the 3000 engine. Still looks pretty decent, needs a thorough scrubbing. Cutting the paint may go a long way too. Could be an interesting driver if you’re not into total perfection.

  13. ClassicCarFan

    @Martin Horrocks.
    The 6-cylinder engine used in the Princess 4 Litre R is not the same one used in the Austin Champ. They are related for sure, both Rolls Royce inlet-over-exhaust style engines. The engine in the Princess was the Rolls Royce FB60, 6-cylinder, 3,909cc and the engine in the Champ was the B40, 4-cylinder, 2838 cc.

  14. ClassicCarFan

    @Howard A.
    Yeah, “banger racing” a bit of Brit-speak for demolition derby….
    “banger” = “beater” over here.

  15. Jubjub

    Banger racing seems way rowdier and faster than our demo derbies.

  16. Jake

    I hope this one sees the road again. Reminds me a lot of my Dart. 4 door ’64, undesirable and needed frame work. But I saved her, welded in the new frame sections, new plugs, new coil, brakes, and a gas tank rinse. Then I dailyed it. Hope someone dies the same with this beautiful car, I know I would if it was stateside.

  17. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I have officially looked at this auction at least 50 times by now. Dog gone it, why won’t one of you folks buy it?

  18. Robert

    These were a popular car once here in New Zealand along with the more common upmarket Wolseley 6/99 and 6/110 version. Sadly here too most died on the demolition derby tracks often as the winner though as these are solid cars. Often raced in reverse I have personally twice seen these destroy everything else on the track! Many here had manual gearboxes whereas most examples I’ve come across in Australia were auto’s. I know of two under restoration at present. Would like to see someone save it.

  19. Saabist(UK)

    What never fails to surprise me is how fairly ordinary cars from over here (UK) were exported and sold over there ( US and Canada) , Martin was right sadly many of these were destroyed in the 70’s during Banger racing or destruction derbys , Hednesford Hills Raceway has a lot to answer for !

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