Harley Davidson guys are fanatical about their rides so the odds that a Harley guy would trade a motorcycle for a late 40s British sedan are astronomical.


Harley guys would typically give up their first-born son and the family dog before they’d make a trade like that, but every rule has an exception.


This ’49 Austin A-40 is the exception to the rule.



Mike Hills explained it this way: “I had a Harley in pieces so I traded it for this Austin – I call that a good deal. I liked it because it was cool and different. I like all cars but this one was unique”.


This Austin was far from stock as Mike said: “There’s not many of these left but this one has a 1982 Ford V-6 so it jumped from about 42 horsepower to 190. Naturally the brakes had to be upgraded”.




Mike explained why this Austin had such an unusual combination under the hood, “The guy wanted to get the biggest carburated engine under the hood without butchering it so he picked a Ford V-6”.


This Austin has a good combination of drivability and style, “It’s wonderful to drive, it runs down the road great at 60 miles per hour and even though the steering is a little sloppy at lower speeds it tightens up the faster you go so it’s pretty good”.




Generally this little Austin is in great shape for its age and clearly the weather stripping is still in good shape as Mike explained, “After all the rain it saw sitting outside it didn’t leak one bit”.


Mike has a few issues to address, “The front brakes need shoes so I’m looking for them. The rear brakes for the 9″ Ford rear end are $26.00 but the front ones are $341.00 so that’s quite a difference”.




The car has a few other modifications like the Dodge Caravan seat but generally this little Austin A-40 looks fairly stock to the untrained eye – until you open the hood.


Mike even has the original crank for the car, “The owner had it but I got it back even though it won’t do any good now”.


Mike had one other custom feature for the Austin, “I had machinist custom make a plate that’s still registered to my dad’s car in Scotland”.




This A-40 is typical of most old rides in a way that’s very familiar to car guys, “I’m going to have to make some room in my shop so I can work on it all winter”. That’s the theme of virtually every piece of old iron on the planet.


Austin Devon A-40 sedans are pretty rare in England, but in North America they are like seeing Bigfoot water-skiing behind a boat – there’s no other way to describe how odd it was to see this car at a small town show.




Harley guys will strongly disagree with this but if you really want to make an impression you drive a 1949 Austin A-40, not a Harley Davidson so this trade was tipped heavily in favor of the car.


Jerry Sutherland

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