Austin Westminster

Infobox Automobile
name = Austin Westminster

manufacturer = BMC
production = 1954-1968
101,634| predecessor = Austin A70 Hereford
successor = Austin 3-Litre
class =

The Westminster series were large saloon and estate cars sold by the British Austin Motor Company from 1954, replacing the A70 Hereford. The Westminster line was produced as the A90, A95, A99, A105, and A110 until 1968 when the new Austin 3-Litre took its place. Essentially badge-engineered versions of the Farina Westminsters were also produced using the premium Wolseley and Vanden Plas marques.

The Westminster name was previously used by the Austin Motor Company in the 1930s for a four light version of the 16/6 and the Heavy 12/4.


Infobox Automobile generation
name = A90

production = 1954-1956
25532cite book |last=Sharratt|first=Barney |title=Men and Motors of the Austin|year=2000|publisher=Haynes Publishing|location=Sparkford, |England|id=ISBN 1 85960 671 7]
body_style = 4-door saloon
layout =FR layout
engine = 2.6 L "C-Series" I6
transmission = 4 speed manual overdrive optional from 1955
length = 170 inches (4324 mm) cite book |last=Culshaw |first= |authorlink= |coauthors=Horrobin |title=Complete Catalogue of British Cars |year=1974 |publisher=Macmillan |location=London |id=ISBN 0-333-16689-2]
width = 64 inches (1626 mm)
wheelbase = 104 inches (2635 mm)
height = auto in|63.25|abbr=on
The A90 Six Westminster was introduced at the 1954 London Motor Show at the same time as the small A40/A50 Cambridge saloon range. It used the new BMC C-Series straight-6 engine with single Zenith carburettor which, at 2.6 L (2639 cc), produced 85 hp (63 kW). The suspension is independent at the front using coil springs and wishbones and leaf spring and anti-roll bar on the live axle at the rear. The four speed transmission has Synchromesh on the top three ratios and from 1955 an overdrive unit could be specified.

The interior, with leather trim on the de luxe version and PVC on the standard model, has a split bench front seat arrangement, although individually adjustable, which if necessary could seat three people abreast. When only two are carried there are, on the de luxe model, fold down centre armrests at the side of each seat. The de luxe model also has a central fold down armrest in the rear. The handbrake control is under the dash on the right hand side of the steering column which also carries the gear change lever. A heater is fitted as standard on the de luxe model but optional on the standard version. The Austin Motor Company also produced a brochure for an A90 Six Westminster Police Car which featured a floor gearchange.

The British "Motor" magazine tested a Westminster de luxe saloon in 1955 recording a top speed of convert|85.7|mph|km/h|abbr=on and acceleration from 0-convert|60|mph|km/h|abbr=on in 18.9 seconds and a fuel consumption of convert|20.2|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus. The test car cost £834 including taxes. cite journal | authorlink = Unsigned |title = The Austin A90 Westminster de luxe| journal =The Motor| volume = | pages = | date = April 6 1955]

The A90 designation had previously been carried by the 1948-1952 Austin Atlantic.


Infobox Automobile generation
name = A95/A105

production = 1956-1959
A95 - 28,065
A105 - 6,770
body_style = 4-door saloon
4-door estate (A95)
layout =FR layout
engine = 2.6 L "C-Series" I6
length = Auto in|170|0
Auto in|181|0 from May 1956
width = Auto in|64|0
wheelbase = Auto in|104|0
Auto in|106|0 from May 1956
height = Auto in|61|0
related = Morris Marshal
In May 1956 and for a brief period only, a derivative of the A90 Six Westminster was announced which was a short boot version of the A105 and had the twin SU carburettor/102hp version of the 2.6 litre C series engine with overdrive as standard. In October 1956 the A105 received the longer wheelbase with overdrive as standard and automatic transmission as an option. Twin fog lights heater and wheeltrims were standard although a radio was still an option. Two tone paint and white wall tyres were introduced for visual effect. Very few short boot versions of the A105 were produced and they are now quite rare.

The A90 was updated for Autumn 1956 as the A95. Along with more power, the A95 was longer and now offered an estate model. Overdrive and an automatic transmission were new as well, something of a novelty in British cars of the time.

Both the A95 and A105 were produced together until 1959.

The Westminster name was dropped from the sales literature for the A95 and the A105although, oddly, the drivers' handbooks still used the name Westminster to title the illustration of the saloon. The estate version was titled Countryman. Nevertheless, most enthusiasts still refer to them as Westminsters. A badge-engineered version of the A95 with different grille, trim, and badges and a bench front seat was assembled and sold in Australia as the Morris Marshal from 1958-60. [Jim Jarron's Motoring Pages]

The A105 was the first mass-produced Austin family car to be specially upgraded by coachbuilder Vanden Plas, following the success of the large A135 Austin Princess limousine. This was done after a personal request from Leonard Lord in 1957. Changes included significant new interior fittings, and a grey stripe bearing the "Princess" crown on the side of the body; most bodies were in sombre colours such as black or maroon.

An A105 saloon with overdrive tested by the British magazine "The Motor" in 1956 had a top speed of convert|96.3|mph|km/h|abbr=on and could accelerate from 0-convert|60|mph|km/h|abbr=on in 15.4 seconds. A fuel consumption of convert|22.0|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus was recorded. The test car cost £1109 including taxes. cite journal | authorlink = Unsigned |title = The Austin A105| journal =The Motor| volume = | pages = | date = August 22 1956]


Infobox Automobile generation
name = A99

production = 1959-1961
body_style = 4-door saloon
layout =FR layout
engine = 2.9 L "C-Series" I6
length = 188 inches (4775 mm)
width = 68 inches (1727 mm)
Wheelbase = 108 inches (2743 mm)
height = Auto in|60|0
related = Wolseley 6/99
Vanden Plas Princess
The A99 Westminster appeared in 1959 with new Pininfarina-designed bodywork. Pininfarina had also re-styled Austin's compact A40 and mid-sized A60 Cambridge ranges the year before. Under the bonnet was the 2.9 L (2912 cc) C-Series straight-6 engine with twin SU carburettors from the Austin-Healey 3000. This engine produced 103 hp (77 kW) in Westminster tune. A three speed all synchromesh manual gearbox with a Borg-Warner overdrive unit was fitted as standard, or a Borg-Warner automatic transmission as an option. Power assisted Lockheed brakes with Auto in|10.75|0 discs on the front wheels were also new.

An A99 saloon with automatic transmission was tested by the British magazine "The Motor" in 1960 and they recorded a top speed of convert|98.1|mph|km/h|abbr=on, acceleration from 0-convert|60|mph|km/h|abbr=on in 17.9 seconds and a fuel consumption of convert|23.0|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus. The test car cost £1219 including taxes. The manual car cost £1148.cite journal | authorlink = Unsigned |title = The Austin A99| journal =The Motor| volume = | pages = | date = March 2, 1960]

A specially trimmed A99 was sold as the Princess 3-Litre, (note, not an "Austin" Princess — Austin was removed from Princess badging during the time of the previous Princess IV, in August 1957) and later under the Vanden Plas marque as the Vanden Plas Princess. A Wolseley version, the 6/99, was also produced. Production ended in 1961 with the introduction of the larger A110.


Infobox Automobile generation
name = A110

production = 1961-1968
body_style = 4-door saloon
layout = FR layout
clearance =
engine = 2.9 L "C-Series" I6
3.9 L Rolls Royce I6 overhead inlet, side exhaust
length = 188 inches (4775 mm)
width = 68 inches (1740 mm)
wheelbase = 110 inches (2794 mm) cite book |last=Cardew|first=Basil |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Daily Express Review of the 1966 Motor Show|year=1966 |publisher=Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd |location=London |id=]
related = Wolseley 6/110
Vanden Plas Princess

The final major update arrived in 1961 with the A110 Westminster. This version had an extended (by 2 in/51 mm) wheelbase, which allowed more space in the rear compartment as well improving the roadholding, a floor-mounted gear lever and twin exhausts. 13 in wheels were substituted in 1964's Mark II models. Wolseley produced a 6/110 version, and there was a Vanden Plas Princess Mark II with the C-Series engine, now uprated to 120 hp. The same basic body was also used for a Rolls Royce-engined Vanden Plas Princess 4 Litre R, and the body even formed part of a prototype Bentley.

The Westminster range was finally replaced by the Austin 3-Litre in 1968.

ee also

*Austin Princess


External links

* [ Austin Memories] - History of Austin and Longbridge
* [ Cambridge-Oxford Owners Club] – including advice for preservation of this vehicle

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