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Lot No. 115 - 1952 Austin A90 Atlantic Sports Saloon

Sold for: £13,640

A handsome example of Austin's radical post-war Coupe in need of a refresh.
Details Specification

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  • Finished in black with the optional fabric-covered roof
  • US-influenced styling cues including five chrome strips running down the bonnet, a built-in centre spot lamp, a "Flying A" mascot on each front wing and rear-wheel spats
  • Generally looking a little tired but seems to stand squarely
  • Very tired dark red interior. Pitted chrome
  • UK-supplied in 1952. XMX 752. 5,268 miles indicated. Original Service Manual
  • 2660cc straight-four that later powered the Healey 100/4. 4-speed column change
  • More of a refresh than a restoration. Currently a non-runner

NB. On offer from a private collection, this vehicle has not been used for some time. It is a non-runner and is strictly sold as seen.

Launched in 1949, the wonderful A90 Atlantic was by far the most flamboyant model in the otherwise staid Austin range. Looking like no car before or since it ultimately proved a brave gamble that did not pay off. 

The retro-futuristic styling (art deco with a rocket age twist) was penned by Ricardo ‘Dick’ Burzi, Austin’s chief stylist who had been poached from Lancia after being forced to flee Italy when he insulted Mussolini (not a good idea in the 1930s!). A riot of chrome, curves and quirkiness, the Atlantic was aimed squarely at the American market and was instantly identifiable by its Cyclops-style third headlamp.

Available as a Sports Coupe or a Convertible, it featured almost unheard of luxuries such as powered windows and, in convertible form, a hydraulically operated hood. A range of innovative ‘Jewelescent’ metallic colours was also offered in shades such as ‘Seafoam Green’ and ‘Desert Gold’.

Powered by the same torquey 2.6-litre four-cylinder engine that later found fame in the Austin-Healey 100/4, it had a four-speed column-change gearbox and could cruise all day at 80mph with another 12mph on tap when needed. To prove its sporting credentials, a convertible A90 broke 63 'stock car' records at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in April 1949, pounding round the track non-stop for seven days and averaging over 70mph including halts for fuel.

Sadly for the A90 though, its launch was totally overshadowed by the even more sensational Jaguar XK120 and fast though it was, its Steady-Freddy four-cylinder engine did not have the appeal of a US V8 or the Jaguar 6-cylinder. Despite Austin’s best marketing efforts, only 350 were sold in America and just 7,981 were made in total before production ground to a halt in 1952. With only a handful still surviving, these glamorous machines rarely come to market and are increasingly sought after today.

This example was UK-supplied in 1952 as XMX 752 and has 5,268 miles indicated. It's finished in Gloss Black with the optional fabric-covered roof which looks in good condition. Although it stands squarely and looks sound the car is generally rather tired with some pitted chrome. The interior appears original but is a little 'lived in' and would need a refresh although the dashboard seems intact. It's supplied with its original Service Manual and is currently a non-runner.

Year of manufacture:
Chassis number:
# of cylinders:
Engine capacity:
Body colour:
Right-hand Drive
Registration number:
XMX 752
Engine number:

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