Rare 1950 Austin Atlantic A 90

Barry Norton

St Annes on Sea, United Kingdom

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Rare A90 Austin Atlantic Convertible. according to present owner 1 of only 25 in the world still working (only have his word for this) it is up for sale, with a price tag in excess of £20,000.

Austin Atlantic

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Austin Atlantic




7981 made1

Body style

2-door saloon
2-door convertible


FR layout


2660 cc /4 Cylinder


96 in (2,438 mm)2


177 in (4,496 mm)2


70 in (1,778 mm)2


60 in (1,524 mm)3

1950 Austin A90 Atlantic
The Austin A90 Atlantic was a British car produced by the Austin Motor Company, launched initially as a sporting four seat convertible. It made its début at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show in London, with production models built between spring 1949 and late 1950. The two-door sports coupé followed a year later; it had been previewed at the 1949 Motor Show and was in production at Longbridge between 1950 and 1952.

The Atlantic should not be confused with Austin’s next “A90” model, the Austin Westminster of 1954.

[hide] 1 Development
2 Export pressure and influence on design
3 Disappointing sales in North America
4 Other markets
5 Performance
6 Dynamics
7 Longevity
8 References
9 External links

[edit] Development

The Atlantic was one of the first post-war cars engineered from scratch by Austin, and was said to be styled from a thumbnail sketch by Leonard Lord, then Chairman of Austin and later the British Motor Corporation (BMC) — though in truth the styling was more likely the work of resident Italian Austin stylist Dick Burzi.[citation needed] The car was almost certainly influenced by a 1946 Pininfarina-bodied Alfa Romeo cabriolet, which just happened to end up at the Longbridge factory in mid 1947, a few months before the light blue 16 hp sports prototype made its first appearance in the experimental department and on nearby roads around the factory. A rare edition was a coachbuilt estate car, regularly seen in the 1950s used by a convent in Leith, Scotland. The car had a lifting rear door, and sported then unusual curved perspex roof panels.

[edit] Export pressure and influence on design

With the then Government edict of “Export or die” and steel allocated only to those who generated much needed dollar revenue, the Atlantic was designed specifically to appeal to North American tastes (certain aspects look like a 1949 Mercury and the hood brightwork looks similar to the Pontiac Chieftains of this era). The car featured up-to-the-minute detailing, with front wings that swept down to a rounded tail with enclosed rear wheels, a centrally mounted fog light built into the letter-box style air intake, and then unheard of luxury in the form of hydraulically powered windows and hood (roof), “flashing indicators” (rather than trafficators, for the United States market at least) and the option of EKCO or HMV Autocrat radios. The range-topping Austin was offered in a variety of “jewelescent” colours. Few people in the car’s native Britain would have ever seen anything like the futuristically-styled Atlantic before, and certainly not from a conservative mainstream manufacturer like Austin.

The radical Atlantic suffered, however, from the dramatically new Jaguar XK120, launched later that year.

[edit] Disappointing sales in North America

Despite huge focus by Austin in the US (including a successful attempt at breaking a series of stock car records at the Indianapolis “Brickyard” in April 1949 by Alan Hess, Charles Goodacre and Dennis Buckley), only about 350 of the 7981 produced were sold in the United States and even a US$1000 price reduction didn’t see many owners trading in their Cadillacs or Packards as they felt the big four cylinder engine couldn’t compare in power output to their native V8 engines — though for its time, performance was strong, with a top speed of 92 mph (148 km/h) and a 0-50 mph (80 km/h) time of 11.2 seconds. The 88 bhp (66 kW) 3 engine later saw service in the Austin-Healey 100, which was a great success in the US. A few were also used in civilian versions of the Austin Champ.4

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Artwork Comments

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