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1952 Austin A40

  • Right Hand Drive
  • Manual, 4 speed
  • Petrol
  • 1200cc
  • 1952
  • GKG509
  • Green
  • Private seller
  • Cadmore End, United Kingdom


This is a very unusual one-off 'Special' motor car. It started out life being first registered on the 12th May 1952, as a standard Austin A40 Sports. That car is the aluminium Jenson bodied four-seater convertible, with the Austin A40 Somerset chassis and running gear. Just over 3000 Austin A40 Sports were made in the early 1950's.

This A40 Sports has been modified and has been referred to as the 'Birch Special'. Its original chassis has been lengthened by approx 12" and it has a modified saloon body fitted with a sliding sunroof. I measured the wheelbase of an original A40 Sports at around 236cm. This 'Special' has a wheelbase of around 260cm. The front wings and scuttle are modified and lengthened aluminium versions of the standard original Sports wings, the bonnet is fibreglass with a A30 front grille and the doors are original aluminum. The rear wings look similar to the standard Sports rear wings, but the rear boot and roof structure is a one off in fibreglass. The petrol tank inside the boot is bespoke.

The car does not run but the 1200cc pre-B Series engine, with its twin SU carbs, does turn over by hand. I changed the tubes in the tyres and they all hold air, so the car rolls and steers and is easily moved by hand. There are various parts with the car including perspex and glass for the windows, bumpers, seals and several other parts. Importantly it also comes with the original A40 Sports buff log book with the registration number GKG509 and first owner in Weston Super Mare.

The 'Special' is garaged ten minutes from the M40 junction 5 at Stokenchurch in Buckinghamshire. Obviously the car will need to be trailered away when sold. I have owned the car since April 2010 and over the years I have managed to research and speak to the three previous owners whose combined ownership goes back to around 1993. I have also been in contact over the years with a small number of people who have given me some insight into the provenance of the car.

Mr Richard Birch has been described to me as a 'clever chap from Winchester' and is believed to have built the car in the early 1960s. He kept it at an estate at Dunley in Hampshire and lived nearby. It was eventually sold by him to the owner of Owslebury Grage near Winchester, and then to Mike Wilsdon of Kew Gardens Museum fame, who stored it in a barn in Colder Common for many years. Mr Wilsdon is believed to have sold it to the last owner that I was able to speak to in person, based in Somerset.

The period photo included is the only one know to exist of the car on the road. It has been in the condition it is in now since some point in the late 1980s, but it has been consistently garaged in dry storage over all of the past thirty years.

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Private seller

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1 Listings since 2024

Vehicle location

Cadmore End, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
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