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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Austin overboard! When 22 cars were dumped into Vancouver's English Bay | Hagerty Media

The British-built Austin A40 made quite a splash in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1952. Twenty-two splashes, in fact. Right into English Bay. On purpose. Beginning in 1932, Vancouver auto dealer Fred Deeley served as the official distributor of Austin Motor Cars, and the partnership was so valuable that, at Deeley's urging, Austin began building a left-hand-drive model for export in 1948.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/austin-overboard/
23 REPLIES 23
win59
Detailer

Name of the ship misspelled....
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

That ship had a long history...most all of it bad! Can be seen under all its names at the Holland-America history site.
fastcharlie
Pit Crew

k
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

"Great idea, but it appears they stopped about 172,260 Austins too soon..."
OCULUSNY
Intermediate Driver

A childhood friend of mine had aln old one back in the late 50s. The only thing that interested me was the turn-signal flags that illuminated and popped up out of the B-pillar. Cute.
sclin10
Detailer

Weren't they called semaphors? I remember early VWs had them.
02-orignal-ownr
Detailer

These preceded blinking turn signals, but never caught on in the US. On the European continent they were referred to as semaphores; in the UK they were "trafficators." Some were mechanically activated by Bowden cable, others were extended with an electromagnet.
Tim
Instructor

They probably didn't know it at the time, but I'll bet those cars have made a nice artificial reef.
sclin10
Detailer

It would be interesting if divers went down to record the condition of these cars...if anything is still left!
Rodman55
New Driver


In 1969 28/32 Model 140 Volvos were dumped into the Bedford Basin near Halifax, Nova Scotia. They are still there today.
www.thescubanews.com/2021/03/01/volvos-laid-to-rest-in-bedford-basin/
drhino
Instructor

Teslas; do it with Teslas!
SFGene
Pit Crew

I've owned over 60 cars, BMWs, 2 DeLoreans, Audi TTs, MGs, Cadillacs, even Capris and now a Tesla Model 3 for 2 years and absolutely the best, trouble free, FASTEST, most perfect of all of them and you want to dump them ICE man? hahahaha!
SFGene
Pit Crew

For DRHINO - I've owned over 60 cars, BMWs, 2 DeLoreans, Audi TTs, MGs, Cadillacs, even Capris and now a Tesla Model 3 for 2 years and absolutely the best, trouble free, FASTEST, most perfect of all of them and you want to dump them ICE man? hahahaha!
drhino
Instructor

Yes, as a matter of fact; I do.

fastcharlie
Pit Crew

Great article and one I've never heard of. Our families first car was an Austin Cambridge back in the early 50's. The everyman's automobile. Yes, those vacuum pillar turn signals and wipers meant you had to take your foot off the gas when going up hill and turning in the rain...lol. Good memories.
Thank goodness the Japanese came and made the auto industry take note and compete.
Stuarts
New Driver

As both a classic car enthusiast and a avid scuba diver in western Canada, It would be interesting to dive these cars. I imagine that there isn't much left of them now. But it is still a good excuse to go for a dive. Unfortunately, my dive gear won't fit into my MGB.
DougL
Intermediate Driver

If these cars were sold, they wouldn't have been salt damaged until the first winter.
RetractableMan
New Driver

Those A40s were very reliable cars for the most part.Thousands and thousands were sold around the world particularly since after WW2 Britain needed lots of money to recover from the destruction caused by the war, so exports were pushed as much as possible to generate money. The direction arms were called "trafficators" and they were electric , as were the wiper motors...... not vacuum.
brb
Advanced Driver

Good article and interesting historic tidbit. Thank you.
punes
New Driver

The little turn signal arms that popped out from the body sides on Brit cars of the 50s were called - Trafficators. They were powered by a solenoid and needed TLC to keep them working . Initially they were a steady light , but for a short time before modern flashers came into being ,some guys made them flash. Before the trafficators it was all arm out the window signaling.
uweschmidt
Detailer

Take a real good look at the Austin A 40 beautiful Eyecatching flowing lines and it would be interesting to know their airresistance Factor ( or whatever its called) and to compare them with all those weird Modern designs that are claimed have a lack of styling because of regulations
Pdxcarguy
Intermediate Driver

Not sure why you'd dump them in the ocean. Other then;

A) Publicity stunt. "Making lemonade out of lemons" so to speak...

B) The price of scrap metal must have been really low in 1952...
Nordance
New Driver

Not the last time this sort of thing happened in Vancouver. In 1971, about 30 Datsun Pl510s arrived from Japan with some salt water damage. Nissan (Datsun) at the time decided to have the cars disassembled, keeping the drivetrains, wheels, tires and batteries and then destroying the bodyshells to avoid paying the import fees. I was part of a group of Datsun racers that participated in the destruction - mainly beating the crap out of them with sledgehammers. Two cars were given to the race team to build into road racing and off-roading vehicles - never to be registered for street use. One car became the Canadian National B Sedan Champion in October 1971.