How to Modify An Austin A40

Written by don kress
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How to Modify An Austin A40
The Austin A40 was one of Britain's most popular cars in the 1950s and 1960s (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The Austin A40 actually comprises eleven different British automobiles built between 1947 and 1967. The A40 moniker refers to the vehicle's engine output in horsepower. The cars in the line-up were small and lightweight, perfect for traversing city roads. The A40s had body styles that ranged from two- and four- door cars to trucks and vans. Modifying these cars is an exercise in patience, as not only custom bolt-on parts, but also restoration parts are somewhat difficult to find.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wood grained steering wheel
  • Automotive spray paint
  • Leather bucket seats
  • Custom-fit carpeting
  • Screwdrivers
  • Masking tape
  • Masking paper
  • Wax and grease remover

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  1. 1

    Remove the stock steering wheel and replace it with an aftermarket wood-rimmed steering wheel. Austins used similar steering wheels and steering shafts to the Austin Minis of the same year, so custom steering wheels that fit Minis will usually fit A40s, with only minor modification. To change the steering wheel, pry up the horn button with a screwdriver and loosen the bolt underneath it. The steering wheel will then lift off. Install the new steering wheel in its place.

  2. 2

    Install custom paint on your A40. Use your imagination to create an interesting accent on the side of the car, such as a pinstripe or even flames. Mask off your design with masking tape, clean the surface with wax and grease remover, and then scuff the area where you are going to paint with a grey automotive scuff pad. These cars are small enough in most cases, that you can easily paint small graphic patterns with the spray paint you find in automotive parts stores. Use single-stage paint for ease of spraying and cleanup.

  3. 3

    Replace the stock bench or bucket seat in your A40 with an aftermarket seat. Again, you may find it best to look to the Austin Mini for inspiration. Seats built specifically for the Mini will work for the A40, usually with minimal modification. Remove the old seats by unbolting them from the floor and installing the new seats onto the existing floor bolts.

  4. 4

    Install carpeting into Austin A40s that were not originally equipped with it. In particular, you'll find that the Austin trucks and vans may not have come equipped with carpeting. Some companies still produce replacement carpets that will work for the Austin sedans and coupes, but you may have to contact a professional upholsterer to have carpet installed, particularly on the more rare vehicles for which there is little aftermarket.

Tips and warnings

  • Before attempting to modify the A40, make certain that it runs properly first. Once the vehicle is mechanically sound, the modification process will hit fewer snags along the way.

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