Austin A90 Atlantic - Classic Cars

The Austin A90 Atlantic

The Austin A90 Atlantic might have been better named the Austin A90 Titanic. Austin built it in the early post-war years before revealing it at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show in London. Their intention was to export it to America and as such it was designed specifically for the American market. Or so they thought. Out of 7,981 cars built in around four years from 1948 to 1952 only 3,597 were exported and only 350 went to America.

The simple fact was Americans were used to, and wanted, V8 engined cars. A 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine wasn't a great deal of interest to them. A pity really because apart from the gaudy bonnet decorations it was quite a nice car. Good looking, with a power hood and windows, a revelation in Britain in 1948, and a radio, adjustable steering wheel and a heater it was very well specified. Even the engine was good for the British side of the Atlantic. It was a revamp of the Austin A70 engine, taken out to 2660cc and pushing out 88bhp (which Austin rounded up to 90 for the name), and a hefty slab of torque at only 2,500rpm and a four-speed column shift it was every British marketing man's idea of the American dream.

An Austin A90 Atlantic
An Austin A90 Atlantic | Source

The engine provided quite decent pace for the day with over 90mph available, one of the few post-war cars to be able to manage the feat, and by far the cheapest. Acceleration was 0-60mph in 16.6 seconds and it could still do 25mpg, important while fuel was still rationed. In 1949 an Atlantic broke 63 American stock-car records at Indianapolis over seven days.

Even a $1,000 price cut in 1949 couldn't persuade Americans to buy it, or its 1951 stablemate the fixed-head coupe version of the A90. The convertible was dropped in early 1951 and the saloon got dropped when Austin merged with the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1952.

Technical Specifications: Austin A90 Atlantic

Engine: Four-cylinder, 2660cc

Power: 88bhp @4,000rpm

Brakes: Drum all around

Transmission: 4-speed manual

Suspension: Independent front, live rear

Top speed: 91mph

Acceleration: 0-60 in 16.6 seconds

An Austin A90 Atlantic on You Tube

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