Road-Test Impressions of
TWO AUSTIN S
The A70 Saloon and A90 Atlantic Sports Saloon
IWAS away when the Austin A70 Hereford came along for test. Consequently, it was handed over to a colleague who, having had experience of modern American and ‘continental ears, was the obvious person to comment on a current production from his own country. I merely drove it baCk to the office and pretty swiftly from there to have a look-see at Connaught Engineering and back to the big Austin depot at Holland Park. That day concluded with a ride home on the pillion of a Norton motorcycle, which, if not exactly the vehicle of my choice, was preferable to British Railways. Colleague reports on A70 as follows :—
” In some ways it was rather unfortunate that the Editor should have picked on me to try the Austin Hereford while he was away on holiday. I have a biased mind where modern English cars are concerned, believing most of our progress to be sideways. Consequently, I was aware that inwardly I was not going to like this Hereford from the moment of seeing it. Discarding all thoughts of motoring being a sport, and Mentally adding 30 years to my age, I approached the Hereford from the correct angle. Using the car over a long week-end in that frame of mind I was reasonably content with what I found. “It was fortunate that I added the 80 years to my brain and not my physique or I should have spent the whole week-end in bottom gear, for the force required to move the steeringcolumn gear-lever from bottom to second was such that I did it only once and after
that always started in second gear ; similarly, getting into bottom gear from neutral was virtually impossible without going into second beforehand. I believe this type of modern gear control is sometimes called ` finger-tip’ but, as far as first and second are concerned, I should prefer to call it ‘clenched fist’ I However, the very smooth clutch and rubber. mounted engine allow a nice gentlemanly getaway and the upper changes are very good, especially the synchromesh changes from top to third. Drifting gently along the roads, as the English are Wont to do, the Hereford runs smoothly and silently and it was very pleasant to listen to the Radiomobile, which, with its sensibly placed loudspeaker in the roof above the windscreen, is uninterrupted by either engine or wind noise. It was unfortunate that I had forgotten to raise the aerial before starting out, with the result that I had to stop and became rather wet while getting out to do so. If only the extendable aerial had been mounted a few inches farther back along the scuttle-side it could have been reached by winding down the window; ; of course, the de, signer may have had extra-long arms When lowering the window I was well pleased with the positioning of the handles, which are easy to get at and do not get in the way of the elbow whilst driving, as so many modern fitments do. The Girling hydraulic brakes are extremely powerful and more than able to cope with the general speed of the car and, what is more, have a very nice feel to them that makes them pleasant to use when slowing the car momentarily. The ‘ umbrella ‘
handbrake on the left of the steering. column, for use when parking, is also pleasant to use. ” Cruising along the open roads at speeds around 40-50 m.p.h., the control’ is quite effortless, and the ride is extremely smooth; bumpy roads can be taken without lowering the speed and the way the bodywork remains quite level, with no fore-and-aft pitching, is very impressive. Whilst taking some of my friends about on the Social rounds we discovered innumerable little items about the interior of the car which deserve full marks, for, after all, it is the interior which is of prime importance to the occupants. With a rather long-legged friend in front with me it was nice tobe able to 1110Ye his, part of the bench-type front seat backwards. without disturbing mine, while the two friends in the rear praised highly the sensible width of the centre arm-rest that allowed them both to use it at the same time. Similarly the ‘ pulls ‘ for the rear seat passengers are held in a horizontal position above the rear doors by light internal springs so that when you let go they raise themselves out of the way. Everywhere there are ‘convenient places for putting the odds and ends that one seems to take motoring, with space in the dashboard locker, behind the rear seat and with pockets in all the doors. The orange interior light is nicely Subdued and not hard on the eyes, though it is not possible to read by it. With the rather poor slimmer weather the heating arrangemeats were were v:ry much appreciated and so were the windscreen demisters. For sunny weather the two vizors are quite good but not quite deep enough, bearing in mind the fact that the front seat cannot be adjusted for height. Fortunately, the choice of radio programme is left to the driver, for with the control knobs mounted in the dash panel above the steering column, the front seat passenger would have to obstruct the driver: a little while changing programme. Travelling as we were the steering was delightful and the sensible horn ring in the centre of the steering Wheel makes giving warnings a very simple matter, as does the direction-indicator control mounted in the wheel Centre. The large curved windscreen gives a wonderful view forwards and an impression of spaciousness to the interior of the car, but the thick windscreen pillars occasionally make it difficult to see people stepping off kerbs. Not being mechanically-minded the business of attending to things under the bonnet held little interest, although the way the Austin badge on the bonnet is used as a bonnet catch struck me as rather Clever. However, I did notice that the garage mechanic
seemed to have a little difficulty in re.