Austin A110 Westminster
(1961 to 1964)
In the autumn of 1961, as in the autumn of 1956, BMC introduced no new models, but facelifted most of them. In this process, every single one of the Farina-styled cars received attention, which included improvements to roadholding (a longer wheelbase and other attention to the chassis) and to the engines. It was in this way, only two years after introduction, that the A99 was replaced by the slightly different A110.
The new A110 retained the same basic unit-construction chassis/monocoque as the original A99, but there was a 2-inch longer wheelbase (arranged by moving the back axle rearwards on its springs) which allowed modified wheelarches to be designed and more space to be provided in the back seats. Also at the rear was a newly-installed transverse shock absorber, between the axle casing and the bodyshell, to contain incipient axle sway due to all the rubber in the rear suspension linkage. After the first few months, power-assisted steering became optional.
The engine was significantly more powerful, with 120bhp, this being achieved by 'raiding' the experience gained with Austin-Healey 3000s and involving cylinder head changes, a different camshaft profile and a twin-bore exhaust system. For this model, too, the gear-change lever was back on the floor - the steering-column change fashion now being well-and-truly gone.
The only way to identify the A110 from the A99 was by the new horizontally-slatted grille and the wood-grain finish to the facia. At the same time as the A99 was transformed into the A110, the Wolseley 6/99 became the 6/110.
The A110 and Wolseley 6/110 became the A110 Mk2 and 6/110 Mk2 in the spring of 1964.
Austin A110 Westminster specification
As for A99 except for:
Produced: Longbridge, 1961-64. 26,105 Mk I and Mk II-type A110s built.
Engine and transmission: 120bhp at 4,750rpm; 163lb ft at 2,750rpm. Optional Borg-Warner automatic transmission.
Chassis: Rear suspension with transverse anti-sway hydraulic damper. Optional power-assisted steering from summer 1962.
Dimensions: Wheelbase 9ft 2in; height 5ft 0.5in. Weight 3,470lb.
Distinguishing features from previous model: Restyled facia, manual gear-change on centre-floor and twin exhaust system.
Typical performance: Maximum speed 102mph; 0-60mph 13.3sec; standing 1/4-mile 19.4sec: overall fuel consumption 19mpg.
Launch Price: £1,270
Derivatives: Series II model took over in spring 1964. Wolseley 6/110 was mechanically identical, but with different nose style and interior trim.
Fate: Discontinued in the spring of 1964 in favour of Mk II models.
Trivia fact: Austin Westminster A110: The mainstay of the BMC Competitions Department Chase and Mechanics Fleet they even had a limited number of estate versions built although some were based on the VDP version. Derek Astle and Mike Sutcliffe entered the 1962 Monte Carlo rally in one with Robert Glenton from the Sunday Express. Glenton drove it through a wall when the brakes overheated and the car failed to finish.
Source: "The Cars of BMC" - Graham Robson (Motor Racing Publications, 1987)