Austin A55 MkI
It was early in 1957 that a replacement for the A40/50 Cambridge to be called the A55 MkI was announced. I think that this was probable the best looking of the mid-range cars produced at Longbridge that had the name Cambridge. In mechanical term it was unchanged from the A50. The body design at the front was only slightly changed by giving the headlamps a new chrome bezel that gave it a more pleasing look, also it received a larger radiator grill.
At the rear the changes were more marked with a totally new boot that sloped down, this feature increased the boot capacity. The rear wings were modified to follow the curve of the boot, and with new rear light clusters, gave a very clean line. To improve visibility the rear screen was increased and wraped round the side. Along the body side ran a chrome trim that gave a natural break to the duo-tone paint option.
The Manumatic option was carried over from the A50 Cambridge along with the overdrive.
Interior View (LHD)
Under Bonnet Layout
'B' series Engine and Gearbox
A55 Cambridge MkI
Date when launched Feb 1957 Discontinued in 1959
Total produced 185,000 approx. (Longbridge Built)
1489cc 51 bhp at 4,250 rpm Max torque 81lbs/ft at 2,000 rpm
Length 13ft10.9ins Width 5ft 1.5ins Height 5ft 0ins
Wheelbase 8ft 3.3ins Track front 4ft 0.5ins rear 4ft 1ins
Price ex Works February 1957
Standard £772 De-luxe £820
Austin A55 MkII Farina (ADO 9)
All the other body designs for the mid-range cars had been the work of the Austin's chief stylist Dick Burzi, With the MKII version under the ADO9 lable, started out as a Dick Burzi shape, but Leonard Lord decided after a remark by the Duke of Edinburgh when shown round the styling studio, that he thought they could be improved. So Pininfaria was invited to Longbridge and given a £84,000 contract to come up with a design,
Pininfaria Farina's design gave a very clean line at the rear and was only changed slightly for production. The front end just did not have the Austin look and gave a rather bulbous appearance. This was where Dick Burzi working with Farina's design came up with the next picture, the only changes for production was the Austin badge moved down onto the grill and the bonnet motif was a much slimmer version of the flying 'A'.
On the engine and transmission side, the engine now had the SU carburation which increased the power and torque slightly. The standard gear-change was now floor mounted although the column change could be specified. The Manumatic and overdrive option of the MKI was dropped.
In early 1960 a estate version (Countryman) was announced which had a good loading capacity. The rear tailgate was split which allowed long items to be supported, and the rear window could still be closed.
Austin A55 MKII Countryman
Date when launched Jan 1959 Discontinued in Sept 1961
Total produced 174,000 approx. (Longbridge Built)
1489cc 52 bhp at 4,350 rpm Max torque 82lbs/ft at 2,100 rpm
Length 14ft 10ins Width 5ft 3.5ins Height 4ft 11.9ins
Wheelbase 8ft 3.3ins Track front 4ft 0.9ins rear 4ft 1.9ins
Price ex Works (Oct 1959) Saloon Basic £801 De-luxe £ £829
A60 Cambridge (ADO 38)
The facelift to the A55 MKII Cambridge was released in October 1961 and called the A60. The front body styling gave a much more pleasing look with its much larger one piece grille. At the rear the fins now followed the boot line, then blending into a new light cluster. A new twin moulding on the side allowed a duo-tone paint option, which became standard in 1962.
The interior had a new facia with a simulated wood grain finish, and better seats and trim.
With the new 1622cc version of the 'B' series engine now fitted, which produced increased power and torque. Because of this they were able to higher the overall gearing which reduced the general noise level when cruising. Also an automatic transmission was now available for the first time in the form of the Borg-Warner Type 35 box.
They also introduced a new diesel engine, which was based on the 1489cc petrol engine. This was an export option only, but in November 1962 became available on the home market. To cut down on the increased engine noise, additional sound insulation was fitted round the bulkhead. In the UK it did not find favour with the general public, but was popular with Taxi operators.
1498cc Diesel Engine
Although changes to the suspension were slight the longer wheelbase and wider track improved the ride and handling. The model continued in production until 1969, with only minor changes.
To increase the life of the model a prototype was built which had the new 1,798cc version of the 'B' series engine. The interior trim was completely different, having a more Vanden Plas look. In the end this specification was never put into production.
Because of the introduction of the 1800 (ADO 17) production at Longbridge in 1964, it was decided to move the A60 production to Cowley in 1965, so that Longbridge could increase production of the ADO 17. It continued at Cowley along side the Morris, Riley, Wolseley and MG versions. In 1968 the MG was dropped, and in 1969 the A60 along with the Riley version was discontinued, but the Morris and Wolseley models continued till 1971.
Date when launched Oct 1961 Discontinued in 1969
Total produced 276,674 approx.
Longbridge Built 175,674 (1961-65)
Cowley Built 101,000 approx (1965-69)
Price at launch £854 (Saloon Petrol)
Price ex Works Oct 1965
Basic £737 Deluxe £772 Auto £819 Diesel £840
1622cc 61 bhp at 4,500 rpm Max torque 90lbs/ft at 2,100 rpm
4,489cc 40bhp at 4,000 rpm Max torque 64lbs/ft at 1,900 rpm
Length 14ft 6.5ins Width 5ft 3.5ins Height 4ft 11.9ins
Wheelbase 8ft 4.4ins Track front 4ft 2.6ins rear 4ft 3.4ins
Austin A60 Countryman
Austin A60 Countryman Interior
Although the saloon had a new front and rear face lift, it was not the case with the estate version. Because of the high cost of tooling and the small numbers of estates sold, it was decided not to change the rear body lines. So although it had an A60 front end along with the mechanical's and interior trim, the back was the same as the A55 MKII. The side body moulding trim were also the same as the A55, because of this the duo-tone paint option was to have a different roof colour.