Austin Westminster A95 (1956 - 1959)

In the autumn of 1956, BMC introduced no brand new models, but went in for a positive orgy of facelifting and significant re-engineering of existing cars. It was at this time that the A95 Westminster evolved from the A90.

The original A90 Westminster had only been in productions for two years (and about 25,000 cars) by 1956, so there was no question of a major redesign being carried out. The basic chassis engineering was not changed, but there was a 2in longer wheelbase (achieved by redesigning the rear springs and the position of the axle fixing), and the 2.6-litre engine was made 7bhp more powerful. The Borg-Warner overdrive option was continued, and in addition Borg-Warner automatic transmission was optionally available.

The rear of the car was restyled, along the same lines as the A50-to-A55 transformation (but months in advance of it), with a longer a smoother tail, wraparound rear window and a much reduced sill height for the boot. Tere was also a new grille, new wheel trims and different decorative treatment along the sides. This car, of course, was closely related to the facelifted A105 model.

At the same time, BMC introduced the A95 Countryman, which was a four-door estate car version of the saloon, incorporating a horizontally split rear door arrangement.

This model carried on, virtually unchanged except for the addition of an optional centre-floor gear-change for manual-transmission cars from spring 1958, until the spring of 1959, when it was finally phased out ahead of the launch of the new Farina-styled A99 cars.

Austin A95 Westminster specification

As for Austin A90 Westminster except for:

Produced: Longbridge, 1956-59. 28,065 A95 Westminsters of all types built.

Engine and transmission: 92bhp at 4,500rpm; 130lb ft at 2,000rpm; optional Borg-Warner automatic transmission. Optional centre-floor gear-change from spring 1958.

Dimension: Wheelbase 8ft 9.75in; length 15ft 0.7in; unladen weight (approx) 2,975lb.

Distinguishing features from previous model: Lengthened tail and new rear style, wraparound window, automatic transmission option.

Typical performance: Maximum speed 90mph; 0-60mph 19.8sec; standing 1/4-mile 21.8sec: overall fuel consumption 20mpg.

Derivatives: A95 estate car also available and A105 very closely related to this design.

Fate: Discontinued in 1959 in favour of all-new Farina A99 Westminster model.

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