Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,469 pages of information and 245,911 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Austin: A30

From Graces Guide
October 1951.
1951.
1956.
1956.
1954 Van.
1954
1954 model
1953.
1954.
1956. A30. Reg No. VRL 705. Exhibit seen at Boconnoc Steam Fair July 2011.

Note: This is a sub-section of Austin

Produced from 1951 to 1956. Around 224,000 were produced.

The A30 was a compact car produced by Austin in the 1950s. Introduced in 1951 as the "New Austin Seven", it was Austin's answer to the Morris Minor. At launch the car cost £507, undercutting the Minor by £62.

The bodywork, designed by an aeronautical engineer, was fully stressed monocoque construction, the first Austin to be made in this way, which made it both lighter and stiffer than most contemporary vehicles.

Its newly-designed A-Series straight-4 engine was state of the art for the time and returned an average fuel consumption of 42 mpg. With spirited driving the A30 was able to attain a top speed of 70 mph.

In their road test The Motor magazine achieved a top speed of 67.2 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 42.3 seconds.

Braking was effected by a hybrid system, with Lockheed fully hydraulic drum brakes at the front and a body mounted single cylinder operating rods to the wheels at the rear, which despite being heavily criticised as being archaic and old-fashioned, were reported as being quite acceptable. The rod system provided good handbrake efficiency and was applied by a lever in an unorthodox position to the right of the drivers seat (Right hand drive vehicles). Bumps were handled by independent coil springs at the front end and beam axle/semi-elliptic leaf springs at the back.

A car tested by The Motor magazine in 1952 had a top speed of 62 mph and could accelerate from 0-50 mph in 29 seconds. A fuel consumption of 38.8 miles per imperial gallon was recorded. The test car cost £553 including taxes. The optional radio was an extra £43 and the heater £9.

Inside there were individual seats at the front and a bench at the rear covered in PVC but evidence of economy was seen in only having a single windscreen wiper and sunvisor in front of the driver. A passenger side wiper and sunvisor, and a heater were available as extras.

Despite originally only being offered as a 4-door saloon, 2-door variants were introduced in 1953, and in 1954 a van and van-based "countryman" estate were made available. Despite having a smaller loading capacity than the equivalent BMC O-type Minor based vans (60 cu ft as opposed to 76 cu ft the Austin van offered the same payload. Being slightly lighter and stiffer, it was favoured by businessmen, and saw long service for many.

The saloon car was replaced by the A35 in 1956 after having sold nearly 223,000 units but the Countryman estate lasted until 1962 and vans until 1968.

The A30 had a smaller rear window than the A35 and trafficators instead of modern indicators which popped out from the B pillar when operated by a knob mounted on the centre of the dashboard.

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