Out of the doldrums

RACY IN ITS DAY... Neil and Mavis Grummitt from Kyabram with their 1951 Austin A90 Atlantic. Photo: Steve Hutcheson

IN THE aftermath of WWII, for the British government, it was ‘Export or die!’ to get out of the doldrums in the post war period. Part of that export program included the Austin A90 Atlantic.

The A90 was largely built to appeal to the American market with its Italian styling and sporty look symbolised by the flying ‘A’ hood ornament, however it failed to appeal to the Americans being deemed too short and too underpowered.
Originally built as a four-seat convertible, the 2-door coupé came into production the following year.

The Austin has a four cylinder, 2660cc motor which was quite large in those days and is fitted with twin SU carburettors delivering 90HP. The motor was the same as those in the Austin Healy sports car.

Neil and Mavis Grummitt from Kyabram picked up their 1951 model around 5 years ago although very few are still in existence due in part to design faults that caused the vehicles to rust out, Neil is also the national president of the Atlantic Club.

In that era, few people in 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, also launched at the 1948 Motor Show.

A convertible tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1948 had a top speed of 91 mph (146 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 16.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 21.7 miles per imperial gallon (13.0 L/100 km) was recorded.

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