Despite offering an extensive range of choices for the car owners in the early Fifties, Austin were always on the lookout to expand their range- unfortunately not always with outstanding commercial success.
Austin's range in the early post-war years was reasonably varied, but its attempts at producing cars with a headline-catching glamour generally went awry.
The Atlantic was one glaring example, as was the convertible variation on their somewhat staid A70 Hereford. Despite their efforts and investment none of the soft tops that came out of the Austin factories of the Fifties succeeded in capturing the public’s imagination, with the general feeling that they were not only too cumbersome but also too obviously based around existing saloons.
The management team at Austin decided it was time to think out of the box and made tentative approaches to the Jensen car company, with whom they had a close working association through using Austin engines in their sports cars.
In response, the design team at Jensen quickly whipped up an eye-pleasing aluminium sports body, which bore a strong resemblance to the first Jensen Interceptor, albeit quite a bit smaller.
With its large scale folding hood, the Jensen design was basically a four-seater, far away from being a real sports car but an attractive machine nevertheless.
After several styling revamps, the Austin A40 Sports was unveiled to the public at the 1950 Motor Show.
Despite the hype, the Austin A40 sports soon appeared to be less than glamorous to the discerning public as it was based on an unmodified A40 Devon chassis, with the only concession to any form of sports car performance being the twin carburettors fitted to the humble four-cylinder engine.
Even though it was too tall to be correctly displayed as a sports car, the A40 Sports did have a pleasing uncluttered line, with a hood that folded down neatly, unlike the hoods of many contemporaries.
After the launch and for the three years that it was in production, Austin held back on commissioning much-needed changes into improving the car’s handling and power, which eventually led to the A40 Sports sales to slump to next to nothing, making for another embarrassing flop for Austin.