Car of 1958: Austin A40 Fa­rina

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

Al­though any­one is go­ing to shout ‘Mini’ when asked to name an im­por­tant BMC small car of the late 1950s, one should never over­look the Austin A40 of 1958.

Al­though me­chan­i­cally al­most iden­ti­cal to its A35 pre­de­ces­sor, this stylish of­fer­ing rep­re­sented the first flow­er­ing of BMC’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pin­in­fa­rina. This would con­tinue through to many more BMC prod­ucts, not least the best-sell­ing 1100/1300 along with medium and large car ranges that, along with Mini, dis­pelled one-time crit­i­cisms that some of the com­pany’s cars were rather dumpy.

Al­though the first A40s merely had a fixed rear win­dow and an open­ing tail­gate at the rear, the A40 Coun­try­man of 1959 boasted up­per and lower tail­gates. In other words, it was ef­fec­tively a very prac­ti­cal hatch­back. An Austin A40 MkII fol­lowed in 1961 with a longer wheel­base, anti-roll bar, restyled dash­board and more bright­work. En­gine ca­pac­ity was in­creased from 948cc to 1098cc the fol­low­ing year. Pro­duc­tion ceased in 1967.

But it’s the pi­o­neer­ing small hatch­back con­cept for which the A40 Fa­rina should be re­mem­bered, in­tro­duced years be­fore the idea took root on other com­pact cars. It quite caught on, you know!

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