Tag Archives: A40

Badge Transformation – Morris 1/2 Ton Pickup

The design for today’s 1972 (Nineteen seventy two) Morris 1/2 ton pick up, seen at a recent Avenue Driver Club meeting, dates back to the original incarnation of the Austin Cambridge which in A40 guise first saw the light of day in 1954.

Morris 1/2 ton Pickup, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

The Cambridge was updated in 1954 when it became the Austin A50 Cambridge and again in 1957 to become the Austin A55 Cambridge which stayed in production until the arrival of the Austin A55 Cambridge Mark II fitted with an all new Farina (as in Pinin) body.

Morris 1/2 ton Pickup, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

The Austin Cambridge 1/2 ton pickup was first marketed in 1957 with the latest A55 panels incorporated into the cab with a 4 cylinder 51 hp B Series motor.

Morris 1/2 ton Pickup, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

From 1962 the Pickup was fitted with a unique to type grill and the 61 hp B Series motor from the Farina A60 Cambridge launched in 1961, and Australian spec A55 Cambridge Mk II which was launched in 1959. 1962 also saw the first of these vehicles marketed with the Morris name.

Morris 1/2 ton Pickup, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

The Austin variant of the 1/2 ton pickup was dropped after Austin and Morris part of the British Motor Corporation was further merged with Leyland to become British Leyland in 1968. While the Morris variant continued in production until 1973. Despite having no further significant upgrades since 1962 the Morris 1/2 ton was still marketed with a “New, Tough and Versatile” strap line as late as 1968 !

Thanks for joining me on this “Badge Transformation” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me tomorrow for a look at a Lamborghini Jarama. Don’t forget to come back now !


Diamond Jubilee – Austin A40 Somerset Coupé

Welcome to the Diamond Jubilee edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”.

Austin A40 Somerset, Malta Classic Car Museum

Today’s featured car is an Austin A40 Somerset was launched in 1952 built on a chassis with separate body.

Austin A40 Somerset, Malta Classic Car Museum

The 42 hp motor was described as providing “a virile performance to excite the young enthusiast and a smooth flexibility that enables it to be handled with confidence” in the sales brochure.

Austin A40 Somerset, Malta Classic Car Museum

Running on the low octane fuel of post war austerity Britain the claimed top speed for the A40 Somerset was 69 mph though a convertible was independently tested in 1953 with a top speed of 74 mph and rest to 60 mph time of 28.6 secs.

Austin A40 Somerset, Malta Classic Car Museum

This particular vehicle, seen at the Malta Classic Car Collection, was delivered to a customer in Malta and legend has it that in 1952 Queen Elizabeth II drove it, though it is unclear if this was during a state tour or a private visit to Prince Phillip and or his friends who had been stationed on the British Protectorate.

Austin A40 Somerset, Malta Classic Car Museum

Since finding out that this model was marketed as a ‘Coupé’ I have been unable to find out why. Somethings are obviously set to remain a mystery.

Thanks for joining me on this “Diamond Jubilee” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be looking at one of my favourate models a Citroen 2CV. Don’t forget to come back now !


Straight and True – Austin A40 Countryman

For the first official post at the new home of GALPOT I thought it might be appropriate to go back to the birth place of my passion for the automobile and for driving by having a look at an Pinin Farina styled Austin A40 Countryman.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

I was 5 years old when my Folks purchased their first car I remember going to the offices of the British Motor Corporation in Nicosia, Cyprus and looking through seemingly countless brochures full of illustrations of two tone motor cars when we went to order it. The car Dad ordered was grey with a white roof his thinking being that the colours would reflect the fierce Mediterranean sunlight and help keep the interior of the car just a little cooler. The car came with red vinyl seats and red carpets.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

I’ll never forget my excitement when Dad pulled into our grapevine dappled drive for the first time with our shiny new car registered CE 270, we spent what seemed like hours pouring over the details I mistook the shiny chrome heater control panel for a radio and learned where to find the spark plugs, distributor, the spare wheel and jacking tools. Seems incredible to think now that our Austin hatchback was not supplied with any seat belts, though it was not long after we got it that Dad had some fitted to the front seats.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

Over the ensuing two years we explored the ancient history of Cyprus from north to south and east to west, but best of all most Sundays of the summer we loaded up a picnic, home made awning, swimming goggles, flippers, buckets and spades and then headed to Mckenzie Beach, just outside Larnaca, where all our neighbours and my school friends would be. That beach is particularly important to me because one Sunday Dad invited me to sit on his lap in the drivers seat and steer the car. My first lesson being that you could drive it straight and true without any input to the steering wheel at all.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

Without any navigation skills most of the time I spent in the car was naturally on the back seat, in fact I probably spent as much time sitting astride the transmission tunnel where, although exterior view was limited, I used to pretend I was riding a motor bike ! In 1966 when Dad got posted back to the UK our little grey A40 Countryman was loaded onto a ship and we headed for Istanbul and then Athens where the car was unloaded. From Athens we started our first road trip driving over 2,500 miles through Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungry, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and a bit of France on our way to London.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

The last time I saw our A40 Countryman, called Daisy, now with the UK registration DHM 44D was 3 years after we sold it, the hours of fun we had on the beach were telling in the large areas of bubbled paintwork under which rust seeded by the Mediterranean sea had obviously terminally taken hold of the bodywork on our now eight year old A40 Countryman.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Straight And True’ edition of ‘Getting’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Thunder In The Hills – Mendips Raceway

Last Sunday after I had dropped friends off at the airport I found myself with some unscheduled time on my hands. Normally I might have sauntered home to watch what remained of the Belgian GP but when I got to the roundabout of decision I headed in the opposite direction from home and went on a little drive through Somerset.


After a couple of deviations from the main road I came to a tiny sign saying ‘STOCK CAR RACING’, I needed no encouragement to follow it and ended up at Mendips Raceway.

Mendips Raceway

Mendips Raceway turns out to be my local paved oval located between Shipham and Charterhouse it caters for the four formulae which collectively are often referred to as Banger racers.

Mendips Raceway

The Mendips Raceway oval, opened in 1969, dips to the east with an optional figure of 8 configuration. This year fourteen dates comprised the fixture list.

Mendips Raceway

Races are started behind a pace car with drivers starting positions usually in reverse championship or reverse previous race order.

Ford Mondeo, Mendips Raceway

This series I Ford Mondeo served as both Pace Car and Victory Parade car on Saturday.

Andy Russel, Aaron Charles, Mendips Raceway

The entry level into banger racing is known as Junior Rods featuring vehicles with engines up to 1000cc / 61 cui such as the Mini’s of #14 Andy Russell and #7 Aaron Charles. Junior Rods are a strictly non contact form of banger racing aimed at attracting competitors aged 11 -16.

Liam Rowe, Mendips Raceway

BriSCA Formula 2 can trace it’s origins back to 1960 when a formula for heavily armoured, usually self built cars weighing 650 kgs / 1430 lbs was introduced. Today these cars maybe powered either by Ford Pinto or Ford Duratec motors. Contact between vehicles is permitted in F2 though Liam Rowe was probably wondering if it was worth it as his front wheels get airborne. Note unlike the closed wheel cars which turn right F2 cars turn left.

#14 Sam Holdings, Mendips Raceway

Finally there were several heats and a final for Rookie Bangers in which almost anything appears to go as #41 Sam Holdings finds out on the way to winning the Rookie Bangers trophy.

Thunderbird 1 & 4,  Mendips Raceway

After the races four tractors, named Thunderbirds 1 to 4 were used to clear up the mess. Thunderbird 1 is seen pushing Adrian hearts Mondeo and pulling Lee Dalton’s Ford Cortina to the paddock, where repairs were made, and both cars started further races !

Mushwacker, Mendips Raceway

Having a lifting crane on your transporter can make access to vehicles for routine maintenance and repairs easier tasks. Note the driver of the #721 Mushwacker is powered down ‘a la’ Jimmy Johnson at Texas in Fall 2010.

Austin A40 Countryman, Mendips Raceway

Car of the day for me was this Pininfarina designed Austin A40 Countryman, a car of the type I first steered on a beach while sitting on my old mans lap aged all of 5, this one being a tad over enthusiastically pedalled by Dan Steeds who got himself black flagged from one of the Junior Rods races for avoidable contact.

Thanks for joining me on this Banger edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Eins Zwei Polizei – Porsche 911

The first time I saw a Porsche 911 was in 1966 when I was seven on an Autobahn, just inside Germany, on a trip from Athens to London. I was sitting in the back of my folks Austin A40 Countryman, it was white with green bonnet, door and boot panels.

It had huge blue lights on the roof and the legend POLIZEI in smart white letters on the green panels, what I remember about it above all else is the audible harsh rasping noise coming from the boot/trunk. That noise was the first engine sound I fell in love with.

The 1966 911 S featured iconic Fuchs five spoke alloy wheels which saved 5 lbs pounds per wheel, though in 1966 they still carried the same size tyres as a regular 911 so there was no great improvement in handling with break away oversteer / loose a problem at the limits of adhesion.

Despite the 1966 ‘D’ licence plate suffix, the Fuchs alloy wheels and the lovely extra set of lights on the front, the 911 badge on the engine cover indicates this might actually be a regular 1965 911 with a 130 hp 1991 cc / 121 cui 6 cylinder boxer engine probably identical to the one I fell in love with in the back of that police car when I was seven.

Hope you have enjoyed this aircooled edition, thanks for dropping by, hope you’ll join me for another exciting Ferrari Friday tomorrow, don’t forget to come back now !