“By 1950 this had been reduced to £824 and £786 respectively, probably brought about by efficiencies in manufacturing as the coupé was put into production alongside the convertible,” he continues.
“There was a price reduction of the Atlantic in the USA from $4006 with power hood to $2998, but this was due to a devaluation in sterling, not as a desperate attempt by Austin to sell Atlantics.”
Cynics might well have considered the company’s record-breaking attempts with the car in the April of the previous year at the heart of American racing, Indianapolis Speedway, to be equally desperate, but in reality it was a brave and commendable exercise for a brand such as Austin.
Trafficators remind you that, despite the Austin Atlantic’s futuristic looks, it’s a product of late-1940s design
As Motor Sport magazine wrote: ‘The Stock-Car Records established by an Austin A90 at Indianapolis rather take one’s breath away!
‘In sober fact the car, driven for three-hour spells by Charles Goodacre, Dennis Buckley and Alan Hess, established or broke 68 AAA-recognised standard-car records, 53 in the 3-litre class and ten in the unlimited class.
‘But the overall show – 11,875 miles at an average of 70.68mph – is sufficient in itself to prove the worth of the achievement and to put it in its true perspective.’
Austin’s head designer, Argentinian Dick Burzi, is credited with the Austin’s swooping shape
Not exactly the performance associated with the XK120 at Montlhéry, but Jaguar’s record-breaking exploits were still three years away and far more appropriate to a company with designs on winning Le Mans.
Yet, despite all the favourable attention it received, the Atlantic failed to ignite US sales, which ended up being politely modest despite the recognition of the car’s quality, both in its own right and against smaller domestic competition.
However, it did prove popular throughout the Commonwealth and particularly so in Australia, where the car still has a strong following today.
It’s hoped that one day FPN 717 can be reunited with The Stargazers
By nature of its design, finding any 70-year-old convertible that has been subjected to the climate of this green and pleasant land is hard enough, and particularly so one that still has a floorpan.
But with so much of its production having been shipped abroad, finding a healthy Atlantic in the UK is nigh-on impossible.
FPN was built in December 1950 with body number 3688, so is one of the last convertibles made, and found its first owner the following May in Battle, East Sussex.
The Austin A90 Atlantic convertible was available with or without a powered hood
“Two years later it was bought by Mr James Scott of Ringwood, Hampshire, and he owned the car until at least 1967,” David continues.
“It then appeared on sale for £155 with London Motors (Highbridge) in Somerset and was sold by that firm after having had a respray in a Jaguar white and being fitted with a replacement vinyl hood. At that time the recorded mileage was only 37,000.
“By 1972 the car was with a Stanley Burman in Tottenham, London, and it was from him that Cropper purchased the A90.”
Seafoam Green spills into the Austin’s interior with charming effect