Proto A90 down under

| 13 Oct 2010

Mark Yeomans and County Counsel, the Austin Counties Car Club magazine, alerted C&SC to Peter Hackney of Sydney and his fascination with the Atlantic.Hackney owned several A90s, covering more than 770,000 miles in them with wife Jan. In 1984, on their way home from Melbourne they called in to see an A90 owner in Seymour.According to Peter: "The car was sitting under a lean-to that fortunately had a concrete floor. The 'box was out and the car was covered with debris, including rats' nests. I looked in vain for the body number but, after wiping away years of accumulated grime, I spotted the chassis number 35505, which I knew referred to one of the prototype cars."It's thought that Austin made eight pre-production prototypes, of which this was number five. It was flown to Australia for the '49 Melbourne Motor Show.Hackney became firm friends with the owner and was granted first refusal should he ever decide to sell it. That day came, and the Hackneys set to work restoring the car.The A90 prototypes were found to have violent scuttle shake and the Hackney car has a crossmember under the dash to cure this, which it did not!"The car was originally fitted with the curly bumpers that appeared in the first photos of the model," explained Peter. "But these were damaged and replaced after an accident early in its life."