Austin A90 Atlantic Convertible
After World War II, Britain’s motor industry was devoted mostly to export, in order to acquire the sought-after U.S. dollar. Austin’s A40 Devon and Dorset models were doing quite well in parts of the U.S. and were in fact the best-selling imports in most years until 1952. Austin’s chairman Leonard Lord sought to increase this market share and told his designers to come up with a larger convertible that would appeal to wealthy Americans. The result was the A90 Atlantic.
Derived from the A70 Austin Hampshire, the Atlantic had a 2,660 cc version of the overhead valve four-cylinder engine, fed with twin SU carburetors. Transmission was a column-shifted four-speed. In order to create some publicity in the colonies, Austin public relations director Alan Hess staged a week-long campaign at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in April 1949, setting numerous endurance and speed records. At $2,995, the Atlantic was expensive, and even a reduction of $500 in 1950 merely brought it in range with the Buick Super, which was much more to American tastes. Of 7,981 Atlantics built through 1952, only about 350 found homes in the United States.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
88 bhp, 2,660 cc overhead valve inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydro-mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 96"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel