Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Lord K's Garage #143: The Unlucky Atlantic

You know that postwar cars are not this garage's specialty. But this two-door Austin is here as a close cousin of prewar streamliners.

C0390-Astle Park.

Nothing revolutionary in its layout, although: no front drive or rear engine. Everything's conventional - save the appearance, quite revolutionary for a 1940s British automobile.

Would you believe that the 1950 Austin A90 Atlantic Convertible was conceived as part of an economic program?

Economic conditions were so bleak in England following World War II that the country adopted an “export or die” program to attract foreign currency - mainly U.S. dollars.

One of the results of this policy was the new Austin A90 Atlantic, a convertible designed with the American market in mind. Riding a 96-inch wheelbase, it arrived in 1949 and rode into 1950 unchanged, save for a lower $2,634 price tag.

1950 Austin A90 Atlantic Convertible - Bonent badge(Photo by Austin7nut @ Flickr)

The A90 Atlantic was the first Austin to forsake the traditional upright grille, replacing it with a more rounded front end with a low-mounted grille sporting a central spotlight.

1949 Austin A90 Atlantic Convertible_1.4(Photos by Austin7nut @ Flickr)

1949 Austin A90 Atlantic Convertible_1.1

1949 Austin A90 Atlantic Convertible_1.2

The 1950 Atlantic Convertible was powered by a 2660-cc (162.2-cid) ohv four. With 88 bhp and 140 lbs/ft torque, it whisked the A90's 2,800 pounds from 0-50 in 11.2 seconds and up to 92 mph.

Austin A90 Atlantic saloon(Photos by Albert S. Bite @ Flickr)

Austin A90 Atlantic saloon

To Americans, the Atlantic was too small and too expensive: 32.4 inches shorter and $158 costlier than a 1950 Buick Super ragtop. Thus, it sold poorly, and production was halted in September 1952.

1949 Austin Atlantic Convertible at Amelia Island 2012(Photo by gswetsky @ Flickr)

No matter, the Atlantic has earned its place in Austin history. Peter Jewson, of Oxfordshire, England, was so impressed that he now owns two!

AUSTIN ATLANTIC(Photo by classic vehicles @ Flickr)


1950 Austin A90 Atlantic Convertible - The flying A

(Photo by Austin7nut @ Flickr)

Source: HowStuffWorks

Headline photo: day 192 @ Flickr

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Comment by Docneg on June 18, 2012 at 2:51pm

Uh...that's Preston Tucker, not Forrest Tucker (the man with the largest measured male organ!).

Comment by John L. Sands on June 18, 2012 at 11:13am

This car is so Dieselpunk you have to love it. The center headlight is reminiscent of the 1948 Tucker Safety Car.

The center headlight was articulated with the steering so anywhere you steered. the headlight would follow. Forest Tucker did not take into effect that drivers were constantly moving the wheel to make minor corrections to their path. The effect at night, as viewed by pedestrians, was a drunken motorcycle being closely pursued by an automobile.

Comment by lord_k on June 15, 2012 at 4:49pm
Comment by Oliver M. on June 15, 2012 at 4:45pm

Love it!  It looks like a 1938 Adler: http://www.ritzsite.nl/Archive/0312.htm

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