Austin Cambridge A50 (1954 - 1957)

'A50' was a new model number at Austin in 1954, and really indicated no more than a larger-engined, more-powerful version of the A40 model. The A50 shared all the same basic design, body-styling, running gear and suspension with the A40, except that a two-door body option was never offered, and the engine was enlarged.

The A50's engine was the definitive 1,489cc 50bhp version of the new B-Series design, and like the 1.2-litre version it was equipped with a downdraught Zenith carburettor. Because it was more powerful and more torquey than the smaller engine, it was allied to the higher final-drive ratio (4,875:1 instead of 5.125:1), though the gearbox itself was just the same.

All the doors were fitted with drop-glass windows at first, but this was replaced by a proper wind-down mechanism in a matter of weeks.

Among the mechanical improvements made available during the run of the A50 were the option of a Borg-Warner overdrive (from early 1956), which was allied to the 5.125:1 final drive of the A40. This was identical to that already offered for the A90 Westminster, and could be arranged to cut-in automatically when the road speed exceeded 32mph, in second, third or top gears. Right at the end of the car's run, a package of changes made for the 1957 season included the option of Manumatic transmission (two-pedal control) and the use of smaller, 13in road wheels - all of which was actually paving the way for the introduction of the revised A55 model in the following year.

The A50 was dropped in 1957 to make way for the A55 model, which was a re-engineered version of the A50 itself.

Austin A50 Cambridge specification

As for Austin A40 Cambridge except for:

Produced: Longbridge, 1954-57. 114,867 A50s of all types built.

Engine and transmission: 1,489cc, 73.025 x 88.9mm, 50bhp at 4,400rpm; 74lb ft at 2,100rpm. Optional overdrive (top, 3rd and 2nd gears) from early 1956, 2-pedal Manumatic transmission optional from late 1956.

Chassis: From autumn 1956, 5.90-13in tyres.

Typical performance: Maximum speed 74mph; 0-60mph 28.8sec; standing 1/4-mile 23.2sec; overall fuel consumption 28mpg.

Fate: Discontinued in 1957 and replaced by the facelifted version, called A55 Cambridge.

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