If you have been an Austin lover since you were seven, you have a fixed line in your life. And it all started with getting an FX3 Austin Taxi from Dinky Toys and an Austin Devon from Berndt's favorite aunt. Eventually the hobby led to a full size Austin A40 Summer set.
Austin fan from the start
From such a start nothing can happen better than to be able to adopt a nail-original Austin A40 Somerset. The chance of such a hit is of course minimal. This Austin was bought new in 1953 by a lady in England.
The Austin A40 Sommerset was delivered to her on January 15, 1954 and she has owned this Austin for 43 years. Then the car went to the secretary of the Austin County Club in England, because he knew the Austin and knew how original that car was. He had it for over 13 years and managed it as a steward before Berndt became the next owner by bringing the Austin from his native country to the Netherlands.
This now well-established Austin A 40 Somerset is still completely original, that means: it is in the first paint, the interior still has the first leather. Of course, the Austin has never been restored and has never been damaged. What makes the car completely unique is that even the original heaven is still in it.
So the Austin A40 Somerset
The Austin A40 Somerset was produced by the Austin Motor Company from 1952 to 1954. The line was inspired by that of the larger A70 Hereford. The master plan behind that was that this approach would be good for export. First the Austin was available as a four-door sedan, then he was also 'topless' for sale as a convertible.
The Austin A40 Sommerset replaced the A40 Devon and was comparable in size to its predecessor. The A40 also borrowed a number of components from the Devon, including the 1,2-liter push rods four-in-line engine. The engine of the Somerset was once further examined to then produce a brutal 42 hp, compared to the lean 40 hp of the Devon, making the Somerset a top speed of 110 km / h.
In 1953, the Austin Motor Company made a special version of about 500 Somerset saloons using the more powerful 'sport' model engine with two SU carburettors instead of the single downdraft Zenith carburettor. This version had a more luxurious interior and two-tone paint to distinguish it from the standard offering. The Austin A40 Sommerset Special had a top speed of 119 km / h. And that was an impressive speed in the fifties.
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The somewhat poor performance and the slow but valid reputation of the 'normal' A40 was partly force majeure. The gasoline quality in those days was just as bad as that of the E10 gasoline from today. And that did no good to the performance, all the more so because the inflammation had to be adjusted so far that the ditch water sparked that the horses disappeared on a trot. When the fuel from 'the big brands' got a little better, Austin released a set with a better distributor and a different head gasket, so that the compression ratio increased somewhat compared to the very mild 7,2: 1 of the standard version.
All in all, around 173.000 copies of the Austin A 40 Somerset have been made. And Berndt Roelvink's? That is the most beautiful survivor of all those 173.000 units
Who the small first
In the headline of the story, we already mentioned that Berdt's Austin passion was aroused by a pair of Dinkey Toys. From that moment on he played 'Austin Garage' with his brothers. He is now the proud owner of the National Auto Miniature Museum in Asperen with a collection of more than 7000 miniatures. And you can also buy models there. The Austingarage has therefore become somewhat larger. The whole world is in the museum. And every visitor gets a free cup of coffee or tea there. Take a look at the site https://www.minidome.nl/ for opening times.
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