The Austin A40 Sports was launched at the 1950 Motor Show.
Jensen designer Eric Neale had been working on a sleek body for the original Jensen Interceptor, when the Jensen Brothers returned from a visit to Longbridge with a request for him to produce a four-seat tourer for the Austin Devon Chassis. This was to enable them to get their hands on the Austin 4-Litre engine for their new Interceptor project.
So the Austin A40 Sports was born.
In order to achieve the construction of the Interceptor and A40 Sports to the tight deadline set by Jensen and Austin, Eric Neale utilised a lot of common parts between the two models. The A40 Sports doors, for example, were lengthened for the Interceptor. Many trim parts were utilised from the Austin Devon Saloon with the door handles coming from the Austin A90 Atlantic parts bin. The power output of the excellent A40 1200cc OHV engine was boosted by the addition of twin SU carburettors.
Eric Neale was extremely proud of the A40 Sports and drove one of the prototypes as his family car. At the time, the A40 Sports was a massive contract for Jensen. The production run of 3500 – 4000 cars was beyond their experience.
A new factory was set up at Pensnett in Brierley Hill, Staffs. to produce the finished bodies. Three completed motorised chassis were driven from Longbridge each day, with the drivers sitting on temporary seats. Jensen then fitted the largely aluminium bodies and they were duly driven back to Longbridge for finishing by Austin. Many were exported, and following the introduction of the A40 Somerset Drophead Coupé in mid-1952, the A40 Sports was discontinued in 1953.
Producing the attractive Italianesque A40 Sports gave Jensen the revenue and financial stability they needed to produce their later models. The A40 Sports played a significant part in the history of Jensen Motors and in the story of post-war Austin record-breaking.
The A40 Sports was made in 2 types: Firstly, the GD2 (floor change Austin Devon gearbox) produced from model launch in Oct 1950 to end of July 1951. The Second type was the GD3 (using A40 Somerset column change) introduced in August 1951 and produced until June 1953.
Total production of both A40 Sports types was 4,011.
One of the club’s members has produced his own website dedicated to these rare and interesting ‘Counties’ vehicles :
See Dirk Backenköhler’s Austin A40 Sports website