Austin A40 Pickup, 1948-1957
Information about Austin A40 pickups generally, with photos and specific information about
the GQU4L model being restored at the Yukon Transportation Museum.
The basic information about Austin A40 Pickups that follows is from Austin Works. Photos and specific information about the GQU4 model pickup at the Yukon Transportation Museum (YTM), seen in the photo above, has been inserted as appropriate.
Austin Works can supply many of the parts that will be needed, including such things as reproduction rubber for the windshield, doors, etc., and body trim pieces.
The Friends of the Austin Counties Cars forum will, I expect, be a regular go-to as the restoration continues.
The Austin A40 Pickup was built from 1948 until 1957 by Austin of England, and that script is seen on both sides of the hood, as seen above on the YTM truck.
The meaning of "A40":
The "A" is for Austin.
The "40" is for 40 horsepower.
There is a chassis tag riveted on the chassis near the passenger side shock mount. This will be a six-digit number generally starting with a "3" (for example: 312465).
The chassis (#779567) on the YTM truck is from an Austin A40 Panel Van that they have in storage.
The engine will have a number plate near the top of the block. It will read 1G and six digits, generally starting with a "3" (for example 1G 356789). These numbers will also be found in an identification tag. On 1947-48 cars the tag is metal and mounted with four screws to the back of the glove box door. On 1949 and later cars the tag is plastic and is riveted to the back of the passenger visor.
The engine (#IG 941814) on the YTM truck is also from the Austin A40 Panel Van. The original engine (which is in storage) was #IG 781847.
A certificate of manufacture (seen to the right) can be purchased from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust in England. It includes full details on the vehicle, from the date of build and shipping date to the body and trim colours, options list, and destination dealer.
The body number can be found on a metal tag on the side of the driver's side hood hinge support plate. It is held on by two screws. It will be on top of a thin metal tag with patent and copyright information. The body number is six-digits. It should read something like "007516". If this were on a Dorset it would be #7,516 of 15,939 total production.
The A40 pickup truck was first offered as a production vehicle in March of 1948, as Model GQU2 (sometimes seen as GQU.2).
Pickup model introductions:
- GQU2 was introduced in March of 1948.
- GQU3 was introduced in May of 1951.
- GQU4 was introduced in August of 1951. The YTM truuck is a GQU4L model - the "L" designating a right-hand drive model for export.
- GQU5 was introduced in September of 1954 and discontinued in March of 1957.
The pickup's height is 5' 6-3/4", the width is 5' 4-1/2", and the overall length is 13' 4". The wheelbase is 92-1/2". The curb weight is 2,028 lbs (922 kgs).
The pickup has an all-steel cab with open truck bed having tongue and groove wood floor. The doors are the same as the Devon. The hood and inner fender are the same as the Devon or Dorset. The outer fender has a larger wheel opening (1" less sheet metal) to accommodate the 17" road wheel used on the pickup.
The rear window is the same as the Devon/Dorset.
The tailgate, sides and front end of the bed are of aluminum alloy with steel and wood framing. Most pickups have aluminum rear fenders; some were steel. The newer the model the larger the wheel opening in the rear fender. The rear fenders are attached to the bed with four large (1/4" thick, 3/4" round) slotted Dzus-type fasteners. The rear bumper (missing on the YTM truck) looks like a simple piece of angle iron with some rounding at the ends.
The rear fenders on the YTM truck are aluminum.
The pickup uses one D-lamp tail light mounted on the spare wheel cover (brake, tail-light and license plate light all-in-one).
The pickup has 5.00 x 17 tires. The hubcaps are the same as the Devon and Dorset.
The pickup has an external rear view mirror.
Vent windows were introduced in September of 1949.
On the pickup, the windshield frame is painted black rather than chrome.
The first change to the pressed-steel grille was in May 1951 (3 long vertical stainless trim bars in the center section and 5 short horizontal trim bars on each side). This model featured no opening in the hood and was found to be inadequate in warm climates. The front metal was changed in August of 1951 to have openings in the front of the hood with a short trim bar on each side of the hood emblem.
The hood on the YTM truck. The hood ornament on top is not stock - it should be the "Flying A".
The pickup has a full width bench seat covered in leather cloth.
The seats in the YTM truck are not original.
In August 1951 the A40 model pickups were changed to use a column gear change, a centrally-located instrument panel, a different steering wheel and full hydraulic brakes.
The YTM truck was built after August 1951.
The hydraulic brakes on the YTM truck.
Devon production ceased in February of 1952. Production of the Devon-based pickup continued until late in 1956. A total of 23,833 pick-ups were made from 1952 to 1956 (total production was 61,818). Very few left-hand-drive pickups were built, as they were not popular in North America.
1948/49 - 4,787
1949/50 - 8,267
1950/51 - 11,580
1951/52 - 13,351
1952/53 - 5,959
1953/54 - 5,675
1954/55 - 6,959
1955/56 - 4,698
1956/57 - 542
Total - 61,818
The Dimebank Garage has a lengthy article about Lucas lighting and wiring that includes: "If you upgrade headlights, add relays, and fuses. The stock harness in most of our cars runs all the headlight current through that teeny-tiny headlamp switch, which often comes from the factory with 18 gauge leads! If the contacts don't burn, and the wires don't melt, you'll be getting a lot of voltage drop. Not to mention that the headlamp circuit is typically unfused - a ground fault/short here will cause serious harness damage. (If your switch isn't the weak point, someplace else will be - our Morris Minor has a great harness all the way out to the fenders, but the subharness that goes through the fenders to the lamp is made up of 18 gauge wire...)"
The headlights on the YTM truck are one of the things that need to be changed to a modern system.
The owner of this A40 pickup (which has a custom box) in Australia has a Web page that is useful for seeing some details of what the truck should look like.
This is the Austin A40 Panel Van that the chassis and engine for the pickup came from
A new A40 Sedan is unloaded from a ship at Skagway in the early 1950s.