of the wiring and the air-filter on top of the engine did not make it easy to pour in oil ; also I was horrified to see that, due to the high bonnet-sides, the man’s overall belt-clip made scratches on the :cellulose as he leant across the mudguard to pour the oil in.
” The amount of petrol used did not seem unduly great, a gallon being put in for every 22 miles, and this was -carrying four people. For a short time We were six, which was still comfortable within the roomy body. We were lucky in nal having. a puncture as it would have Meant_ removing all the luggage front the rear locker in order to raise the floor-lid to have the spare wheel lifted out.
” At night the headlamps gave plenty of light for the type of motoring we were doing arid the foot-operated dipswitch is easy to find. Some of my friends had said that the curved windscreen would make it difficult to see at night, but I did not find this so, even in pouring rain, and the windscreen wipers did their job well. The little sidelamps, that look as though they are fitted to the wings after the car has been finished, are very good as the red ends can be seen from the driving seat, indicating that all is well. It is also very convenient to be able to switch off the instrument lighting by a’ separate switch and drive with complete darkness in the interior.
” Taken all round I was well pleased with the Hereford, especially with its detail fittings, while the exterior looks and finish brought forth admiration from the majority of my friends. Even with the enormous amount of purchase tax that one has to pay these days, the price of £941 Is. Id. seems very reasonable for this roomy, comfortable and wellfitted car, while the basic price of :£604 is first-class value for money. Many of our readers like to stick to one make of car, and those English gentlemen who have a likinat’ for ‘ Annstins of England ‘ will be well pleased with the Hereford.
” Remembering the young enthusiasts for a brief spell, I threw away my extra years, removed my bowler, and looked at this Austin front the fast car angle, aided and abetted for a while by certain knowledgable types who know more than the average about car design. The apparently smooth fourcylinder engine was Only deemed so because of rubber mounting, nor does it give very much power, as shown by the fact that the speedo will not indicate above 75 m.p.h. on normal roads. and it needs a long by-pass to see over 80 m.p.h. At 55 m.p.h. in third gear the protestations front the engine vibrate tIvough the steel body so much that speech is impossible. The pitch-free ride along a straight bumpy road is very good and beyond complaint, but this has been achieved by spring rates and suspension design that were never meant to be shown a corner. With the high centre-of-gravity the weight transfer under cornering is out of all proportion and produces a vicious roll-oversteer with which the steering ratio cannot cope. “The-gear-lever and throttle linkage are both very poor and the complete opposite of progressive,’ and another fundamental point, largely the cause of the bad handling, is the fact that the 6.00 by 16 tyres are quite incapable of dealing with the weight of the car and its transfer on cornering. The dry weight being 25 cwt., plus 8 met, of passengers, means that the tyres are grossly overloaded, with
resultant tyre scream long before corners are rounded. One could go. on for ever about the fact that, the present-day English car is designed by the styling department and then modified to Suit the requirements of the (gusts department, but I do feel that the Herefoni, while adequate for its purpose as a family saloon, could benefit from the applieation of a little basic engineering resent:Mt—D. 8..1.”
Another Austin comae along next, in the form of an Angt the fixed bead Atlantic sports saloon which Alan Hess, Austin’s P.R.O., refers to as a ” hardtop.” This A90 was gratefidly used for a journey to the south coast in search of sea and sunshine, the baggageladen return, and subsequently for a run up to Silverstone and back on the occasion of the 750 Club’s novel and enjoyable Relay Race.
The A90 is an automobile very much in the American style and as such provides swift, comfortable travel, with plenty of accommodation for five or six persons and their effects. I would put as its chief attribute its effortless high-speed running. Above 2,000 r.p.m. the 2.6-litre o.h.v. fourcylinder engine produces very effective acceleration, and in no distance at all you are cruising at some 4,000 r.p.m., or 75 m.p.h. This speed becomes normal along any bit of brief straight road, and feels like 50-60 m.p.h. in many other Cars.
As a result, the A90 covers a lot of ground in very little time, even if its suspension is such that corners demand respect. As a matter of fact, I think the present model, with a top gear of 4.125 to 1 instead of the earlier 3.667 to 1 axle ratio, is undergeared, for valve-s-rash comes in at 4,500 r.p.m. (absolute maximum r.p.m. equals 4,800), and this is attainable in top gear with a surprisingly short run, so that the engine, rather than the rolling English road, limits the A90’s maximum to about 84 m.p.h. In the same way the maxima in second and third gear are approximately 40 and 60 m.p.h., respectively. Peak power is developed at 4.000 r.p.m. anyway. Perhaps Earls Court will reveal another change Of axlera t io ? The springing is no doubt intentionally supple to give a shock-free ride, but this does destroy accuracy of cootrol when cornering; due to a pronounced roll oversteer, nor did the damping iron out up-and-down movements over bad surfaces, so that, on the whole, many passengers most have reason to bless the quick-action levers which control the side windows A.s a matter of fact, the comparatively high ratio of’ the cam-gear steering (21 turns, lock-to-lock, ratio 15.3 to 1) to a considerable extent makes up for the rolling and oversteer and it is, moreover, light, shock-free steering, transmitting vibration but no return-motion and with adequate castor actiots, while both front wings are visible from the rather low bucket front seat. But this is not a car for the dashing to hurl round corners, and even restrained drivers must be prepared for some noise from the 5.50-16
e.l.p. Dunlops when changing direction. The hydraulic Girling brakes, however, work very well if a thought squeakily, bar a slight fade-tendency under frequent heavy application, so there is really no excuse for Itustling rotund corners, especially as the pick-up, right into the ” eighties,” is very impressive indeed The left-hand steering-column gear-change suffers a dislike of having the lowest ratio engaged, and the careless may not always locate Second, but otherwise it is as good as any of its kind. The handbrake, like that on other Austin Models, is operated with the left hand, and the alligator henna, open, offers excellent accessibility.
The long-stroke o.h.v. engine struck me as a very willing unit. Smooth, tireless, and not prone to ” pinking ” in spite of its 7.5 to 1 compression-ratio, it starts easily from cold and runs at a healthy temperature (170 deg. F.), slightly heating your feet by so doing. It needs a fair amount of choke in getting going and, I must admit, runs on seas sparks ” something awful.”
The A90’s saloon body is very roomy, very comfortable, and visibility through its big windows, of which the back one as well as the rear quarter lights open for ventilation, is admirable. It is wellappointed, too, with deep well-type double door pockets, the aforementioned quick-lift window levers (thepassenger’s window stiff to lift), small front ventilator windows, twin visors, a parcels shelf at the back, dual interior lights, etc. It is ideal for the carriage of children, by which I mean that the inset door lock slides are out of reach of those in the back of the car. On the car tested the nearside door or seat emitted an irritating squeak. There is a rev.-connter reading to 5,000 r.p.m., although at first I did not recognise it as such on account of its goldhued dial and thick pointer. This rev.counter reads steadily and has a small clock inset. The speedometer reads to 100 m.p.h., the other instruments are nicely grouped on the leather-capped facia and well lit save for the clock, and all the minor controls are labelled. The 18-in. sprung steering-wheel carries a rather stiff horn-ring. Oil pressure is 45 lb./sq. in.
Dislikes concerned a ‘,tinny” cubby lid opening front the top instead of the bottom and with is startlingly strong spring, a starter button difficult to reach if one’s left hand were doing the choking, tfu. distortion of the sideways-glance caused by the curved edges of the vast windscreen, a somewhat obscured rear-vie% mirror, and rather inefficient wiper blades. The Eke° radio had a tendency to fade. Not very serious ” dislikes,” your see, and more than off-set by the spaciousness and comfort of this well-upholstered err. The luggage locker was impeded by the spare wheel and I certainly prefer separate locations for this ; especially as the lid is hinged at the bottom, which limits the opening and precludes carrying cases on the open lid. Entry and egress from the leather seats is aided by steps beneath the doors. To sum up, the A90 Atlantic served me very well during live hurried days, and for those wino do not object to riding and handling qualities of the American
sort this car, with its 88 bh.p., offers very brisk transport indeed, especially commendable because, in spite of an 8-ft. wheelbase, the weight, without petrol, is as high as 263.ewt. The appearance, whether you approve or not, is unquestionably striking. Most of those who saw it parked were warm with praise, but one person likened the A90 to the war-horse of old which, like the knight who Mounted it, wore armour, as a sort of skirt . . . This Austin gained considerable fame as a result of taking 108 long-duration records at Indianapolis in 1949 and is a distinctive production from a very welPestablished faelory. The basic price, heater and radio-equiptied, is 016 10s. (C1,426 38. 4d. with purehaSetax). Driven slowly in traffic, hard elsewhere, the petrol consumption averages nearly 19 m.p.g., giving a range of about. 225 Miles.
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