Produced by the Austin Motor Company, Austin a90 Atlantic saw glory between 1949 and 1952. It was launched as a simple 4 seater convertible car at the Earls Court Motor Show – London in 1948. There were several models built in the meantime that hit the markets. The most popular model in the convertible cars that this company built was the 2-door coupé – A90 Atlantic Sports Saloon.
What made the Austin a90 Atlantic so special?
Right from the Scratch:
It was the Atlantic that was designed and built right from the scratch. The majority of the post-war cars were styled based on their old models. But this one was a thumbnail sketch by the Chairman of Austin – Leonard Lord. Though there were slight similarities in the styling of Austin A90 Atlantic with that model of the Italian Austin stylist Dick Burzi.
Furthermore, the car came with a design that was inspired by Pininfarina Alfa Romeo cabriolet . It just happened to reach the Longbridge factory, around mid-1947. Around this time, the government back then came up with an edict – ‘Export or die’, under this the steel was reserved only for those who generated the money. This is why the Atlantic was designed to appeal and woo the North American tastes.
Upon popular demand, the Austin a90 Atlantic was designed with a bonnet that looked somewhat like the Pontiac Chieftains who reigned in those times. What made this convertible one of its kind was all those little details. There was a wrap around the windscreen that was made of a flat glass section. It had curved end panels. The fenders in this convertible had twin ‘Flying A’ that swept down to its rounded tail. What the sports car and convertible car lovers like about this car were the spats that enclosed its rear wheels.
The Atlantic Austin came with a centre mounting, main beam and a headlight which was built in a letter box style. This way the grille could breathe in some air. Hydraulically powered windows were a novel concept back then. But this convertible had not just the windows but also the hood hydraulically automated.
To reiterate, this car was a pure delight as it had everything new and unique to it. When the convertibles came with trafficators, this one had flashing indicators or the blinkers. To add to its charm, it made use of interesting colors and named the cars as ‘desert gold’, ‘seafoam green’ etc. Even though the bold metallics found itself a limited market in the UK, it did well overall.
It was the A90 Atlantic which made a radical and bold attempt to venture into the lucrative yet and critical US market. This car was available to the car connoisseurs as a convertible as well as a saloon. The unique make and unusual features like the headlamp, ‘cyclops’, wind-down rear window, rear-view mirror, handle near the driver etc made it the most loved convertible of all times!