Austin Westminster A105 (1956 - 1959)

The A90 Westminster had been in production for less than two years when BMC introduced a higher-powered derivative of it, which they called the A105 (the Westminster name was no longer used). The original A105 was the short-tail variety, built only in the 1956 model year, but most A105s were the long-wheelbase, long-tail facelift variety.

Announced in May 1956, the A105 had a twin-SU carburettor/102bhp version of the 2.6-litre C-Series engine, which was in the same tune as that fitted to the original Austin-Healey 100-Six which followed a few months later. To match this extra power, Borg-Warner overdrive (operating on top and third gears - but, unlike the A90, not on second gear) was made standard.

The whole car sat an inch lower on its suspension, and there was a great deal of extra 'comfort' equipment and special colour schemes, plus Transatlantic-style whitewall tyres.

At facelift time, in October 1956, the A105 received the longer wheelbase, optional automatic transmission and lengthened tail/wraparound rear window treatment of the A95, plus duo-tone colour schemes, but no Countryman version was ever sold. As with the A95, there was optional floor-change control from spring 1958. Like the A95, the A105 was dropped in mid-1959 to make way for the A99/Wolseley 6/99 style.

Austin A105 specification

As for Austin A90 and A95 models except for:

Produced: Longbridge, 1956-59. 6,770 A105s of all types built.

Engine and transmission: 102bhp at 4,600rpm; 141lb ft at 2,600rpm; overdrive (on top and 3rd gears) standard.

Dimensions: Height 5ft 3.75in.

Typical performance: Maximum speed 96mph; 0-60mph 15.4sec; standing 1/4-mile 20.2sec: overall fuel consumption 22mpg.

Launch Price: £1,110

Derivatives: From autumn 1956, A105 inherited longer tail, wraparound rear window, 8ft 9.75in wheelbase, 15ft 0.7in overall length and optional Borg-Warner automatic transmission. Optional centre-floor gear-change from spring 1958.

Fate: Discontinued in 1959 and replaced by the new Farina-styled A99 Westminster.

Source: "The Cars of BMC" - Graham Robson (Motor Racing Publications, 1987)