Video Outtake: 1956 Austin A35 Economy Run

Youtube has many surprises, and this is one I spotted last week.  An Austin A35, Austin and BMC’s entry level car at the time, was picked at random from the production line at Longbridge and handed over to the RAC for a country wide economy test and demonstration, all accompanied by a Pathé news film crew in what appears to an Austin Westminster.

The plot is as simple as they come, and has been endlessly repeated by practically every manufacturer at some point. In this case, a trip around southern England just before Christmas 1956, before motorways and bypasses.

The A35 was an evolution of the earlier and visually very similar A30, first introduced in 1951 with a 948cc version of the BMC A series engine. In 1956, this went to 1098cc, marking the major change to the A35. The A30 was the first monocoque Austin, and could be seen as a response to the Morris Minor, albeit measurably more compact. Still, the cars shared engines from 1953 ands sold against each other for several years. The Minor was ultimately more successful and longer lived, and more fondly remembered in the UK, but the Austin was no failure.