Anti-Landie – 1960 Austin Gipsy

Cars like Beetles, Cinquecentos and Minis are appealing for their simplicity – everything is small, nothing would seem to be terribly heavy, and the base specification means there aren’t as many features to repair or replace. Cold war-era 4x4s (Jeeps and all the vehicles they inspired) take this to an even further extreme, with limited amenities, limited brightwork and basic paint, so getting one back into shape should be relatively easy. Or you can postpone cosmetic work and just focus on mechanical reliability for a real working truck look. And that’s where this 1960 Austin Gipsy comes in, for sale for $2750 in North Spokane, WA.

1960 Austin Gipsy right front

Looks very much like a Land Rover, no? However, there were some significant differences in that it had an all-steel body, which is an interesting material choice for the post-war years. Perhaps by 1958, sourcing steel was no longer an issue. The suspension consisted of innovative Flexitor rubber springs, which allowed for high-speed driving over rough ground, and seemingly taking inspiration from Austin/Morris passenger car suspensions.

1960 Austin Gipsy right rear

Somehow, they seem a bit plainer than Land Rovers. The BMC/Leyland merger dictated their end, since the same company was now building competing products. Perhaps it’s that you don’t see them in such a wide variety of body styles as you do the Landies. Interestingly, these also started off with a 90″ wheelbase.

1960 Austin Gipsy engine

The engine, sourced from the Austin A70 (assuming it’s the gasoline version) should be pretty straightforward to keep up, and the seller says parts are surprisingly easy to find. There’s even an online group for owners and enthusiasts. This car is said to have low miles and to be a runner, but since the gas tank is rusted out, it’s using a gas can for fuel. It’s said to have good tires, and all switches and electrics are coming back to life. No doubt you can get this running reliably first to debug it, and then see where you want to go with it. Doing individual jobs should not be too complex due to the vehicle’s simplicity.

1960 Austin Gipsy nose

Here’s some indication of the electrical system’s health, and the fact the Gipsy was listed around Christmas. It would be fun to get this mechanically solid and then attend Jeep, Land Rover, and Land Cruiser meets with your oddball.


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One Response to “Anti-Landie – 1960 Austin Gipsy”

  1. mud4fun Says:

    My understanding is that the Gypsy was originally designed and built specifically for the British Army. However the project took so long to get to a working vehicle that the Army had started using Land Rovers in the meantime.

    By the time the Gypsy was ready for Army trials it worked out at twice the cost of the Land Rover but for not much gain. Its 4WD system was inferior to the Land Rover, its steel bodyshell was a disaster for the UK where it rains 99% of the time and the advanced suspension proved too frail in the hands of squaddies. It was also not as flexible as a Land Rover for modifications to suit varying roles which proved important to the Army.

    Once all that was taken into account the Army decided to buy Land Rovers instead and as the Gypsy was way too expensive for the general public to choose it died off.

    The Gypsy was the more advanced vehicle though and a very good performer for its time, it had more power and was probably 20 years ahead of the Land Rover in terms of ride comfort only being equalled when the 90/110’s came out with the coil springs.

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