Introduced in 1948, immediately after World War II, the Austin Atlantic was primarily designed for the American market. Britain was still very much in the throes of post-war austerity, while the US were booming, so it makes sense that that’s where they directed their efforts. By all accounts, the Austin Atlantic was a surprisingly luxurious automobile, with such luxuries as power windows (and a power hood, of all things) as well as a radio, heater and adjustable steering column, none of which were common on cars of the era. In terms of styling, the Austin Atlantic is definitely an acquired taste, but it is in no way an ugly or bizarre automobile, despite the extra headlight in the middle of the car.
The Austin Atlantic, 1948 model, was powered by an inline four-cylinder engine, with a 2.6-liter displacement that produced 88 horsepower. It managed to push the Atlantic to top speed of 91 miles an hour, which was a very respectable figure in the immediate post-war years. In terms of acceleration, it took 16 seconds to reach 60 mph, which is a much less admirable figure, but not catastrophic, either.
Despite its interesting styling, luxurious and modern convenience and its level of performance, the Austin Atlantic was a complete flop in the United States. In fact, over the four-year span in which it was produced, from 1948 to 1952, not even 8,000 Austin Atlantics were produced. Despite the company’s best efforts to allay them, there were concerns about reliability that just would not go away, and that seriously contributed to hampering the model’s success.