A number of different Austin’s manufactured during the 1950’and 1960’s were given Austin’s naming scheme derived from the approximate engine output in horsepower. Austin’s therefore sold under the A40 model designation included the 1947–1950 Austin A40 Dorset 2 door saloon, the 1947 – 1952
Austin A40 Devon 4-door saloon, the 1950–1953 Austin A40 Sports 2-door roadster, the 1952
Austin A40 Somerset 4-door saloon, the 1954
Austin A40 Cambridge 4-door saloon and, most noteably, the 1958
Austin A40 Farina 2-door saloon/hatchback.
It is this last iteration that was best, and most fondly remembered in Australia. First introduced in 1958
, it would remain in production until 1967
, after which time over 340,000 had been manufactured. The wonderful and innovative body style came courtesy of Pinin Farina (thus the name), and the best feature was undoubtedly the revolutionary “hatchback” style, a world first.
The A40 was also produced under licence by Innocenti in Italy in both Berlina (saloon) & Combinata (countryman) versions. A40 Farina CKD kits were assembled here in Australia, and also in New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, Holland, Belgium and Ireland. British built A40 exports even traveled as to both Norway and Sweden, where they were known as the A40 Futura.
Selling the car was a marketers dream - particularly given the low cost and innovative design. The following extract is from an A40 Farina brochure: "Exciting to drive! Brilliant in appearance and performance, and styled by Farina of Italy this new Austin A40 is a most attractive investment and starts a new trend in motoring fashion. Initially low in cost, it is easy and cheap to maintain, but nevertheless built to the same stringent standards that one expects from Austin.
You will be thrilled with its handling
qualities. Visibility all round is excellent - there is no difficulty in manoeuvring this car, however restricted the space may be. Step inside and see just how big the interior really is - how comfortable and relaxing the ingenious design has made it. And on the road, note also the quietness of the ride, the absence of dust and draught - for the body of this car has been extensively sealed and insulated against road noise. You cannot lock yourself out of the A40!
Both doors and windows can be locked from inside and outside, but the design is such that the doors cannot be slam-locked from outside. Whatever your choice of colour and interior trim there is certain to be a pleasing combination to suit your taste, for the range is wide, being carefully matched and selected by colour experts.”
The Mk I and early Mk II cars were powered by the 948cc A-Series engine, with the later Mk II cars being powered by the 1098cc version. Many of the mechanical parts used on the cars were derived from the A30/35 series and the A40 had much in common with them, along with its successor the Ausin 1100/1300.
The most noticeable difference between the MkI and the Mk II is the wider grille. Other changes were a new instrument panel and other refinements to the interior, such as a winding mechanism for the door windows (on the Mk I you had to lower and lift the window by hand). Engine size was increased from 948cc to 1098cc.