online since 01.08.2019
last updated 01.03.2022
Relatives Near and Far - Devon, Dorset & Co.
The A40 Devon and A40 Dorset were the core of the small saloon line introduced by Austin in 1947. The cars were designed by Austin house designer Dick Burzi and show off with an all new more streamlined six light saloon body, with no running boards or separate front wings, and headlamps built into the front bodywork.
Technical highlights were a newly developed independent front suspension and a 1200ccm OHV engine. This engine was the predecessors to the ‘A’ and ‘B’ series units, which formed the basis of many of Austin, BMC, and British Leyland engines for decades to come.
The new line proved to be extremely successful at home and for export also thanks to a great effort invested in building up a worldwide service network. For some time the Devon was Europe’s best selling family car and Austin by accident seem to have discovered the nice of the small family saloon which was later taken by the VW Beetle and Japanese hatchbacks.
Austin soon added more variants to the line like commercial vans and a small pickup, and finally the Austin A40 Sports in 1950.
Source pic black Devon: Ken McGuire
Jensen Motors had introduced the Interceptor model in 1949 as a quick luxury touring car to be produced in lower numbers. When a design study for a small Austin convertible was needed, chief designer Eric Neale heavily relied on his Interceptor design, added further developmets and adapted it to a smaller car size.
As a consequence the cars look kind off like "big and small" when viewed together.
The basis of the new continetal car design Eric Neale was reflecting on came from a revolutionay new car by Battista „Pinin“ Farina: the Cisitalia 202. It laid the foundation for generations of sports car designs to come and revolutionized automotive design. Many variants of this new design quickly followed like Bertone's Siata Amica and Attilia Farina's Ferrari Inter 166 and his Simca 8 Sport built at Facel in France.