Ilinga AF-2

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Ilinga AF-2

220 bhp at 4100 rpm
4 spd. man 3 spd auto
Top Speed:
Number Built:
5 star
Ilinga AF-2
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 5

Tony Farrell and Daryl Davies

It is a shame that Tony Farrell’s dream did not enter serious production. We have little doubt that the car would have been very good, given Farrell was a racing car designer and constructor in his own right. The idea was to design and build an Australian luxury car that could challenge the traditional marques from overseas - again an indicator that the car would have been very good.

But one of the problems in researching and writing a review on the car is that it came and went so quickly, and only a select few ever had the opportunity to do more than sit in the prototype during the early seventies. Although the llinga was planned from the start to be a unique motor car, in the interests of ease of production a number of its component parts were derived from mass produced vehicles.

The floorpan started life on Ford's Cortina production line, but was, after delivery to llinga, considerably modified. Strong steel sub frames were built up front and rear to support the suspension and mechanicals. Unequal length wishbones featured at the front with coil springs and a sway bar. There was a live axle at the rear, necessitated by the lack of sufficient space to adopt a fully independent set-up.

Coil springs were used too, and the axle was located by four radius rods. Brakes front and rear were discs, both 273 mm in diameter and of ventilated design. Front callipers featured three cylinder hydraulics while two spot callipers were deemed sufficient for the rear. The Ilinga didn’t stop there, also raiding parts from other cars, such as the front bumpers being sourced from Volvo, and the tail lights from the Mercedes S Class.

Noryl Plastic

The original intention was that the AF-2 would use body panels made of Noryl, a special plastic then used for astronauts helmets. Supply and energy considerations eventually forced a change of plan and aluminium was adopted instead, in turn creating the need for changes owing to the difference in thickness between the plastic and aluminium. That meant that the prototype used a steel roof rather than an alloy version that was intended for when the car entered production, supported by roll over bars at A, B and C pillars. All up weight of the car was 1284 kgs, and the company believed that fuel consumption would have been around 13 litres/100 kms in manual form.

Rack and pinion steering was planned to have power assistance as an optional extra. Both four speed manual and three speed automatic gearboxes would have been available, it being the latter feature which was one of the reasons the project founded. There were rumours at the time that there was a mix up in the specification for the automatic transmission. As supplied by Borg Warner, the unit used in the prototype was considered inadequate for the job, by which time, a redesign to accommodate a more suitable unit would have been too costly for the projects' remaining funds. The prototype's transmission was carefully blueprinted so that road testing could go ahead in an attempt to overcome the problem. For production cars, however, this would have added far too much to the sticker price.

The P76 Engine

Another apparently poor choice turned out to be the modified Leyland P76 engine. Despite it winning Wheels “Car of the Year”, the public did not warm to the P76, apparently the idea of being able to carry a 44 gallon drum in the boot of a car designed around a door stop wedge was not as appealing as British Leyland planned. The P76 wasn’t actually all that bad, but that’s another story, and is covered in detail on other pages here on the Unique Cars and Parts site. Leyland was in difficulty, and the P76 turned out to be the proverbial nail in the coffin. And with the demise of Leyland, llinga lost their engine supplier. We have heard that there were between 200 and 300 already at the factory, but any long term strategy would have necessitated sourcing a new engine and re-designing the car for the new power plant – and that meant more money on a car that had yet to see daylight.

In standard form, as fitted to the P76 sedan, the engine gave 192 bhp at 4250. Thanks to revised manifolding and a pair of side draught 40 DCN Webers, llinga units enjoyed a boost of 220 bhp at 4100 rpm with 400 Nm torque at 2600 rpm. We only have an old photo of the interior to go on, but it is enough to see that the AF-2 was not the “kit-car” you would have expected. Trimmed in leather, the facia stretched the full width of the car with an instruments binnacle standing proud ahead of the driver. In the centre was a vertical strip of function warning lights, flanked on the left by the speedometer and on the right by the tachometer.

On the Inside

There was a centre console, which featured a bank of coloured press button switches two by two vertically, that operated the lights, rear screen demisting, driving lights, hazard warning and intermittent mode for the windscreen wipers. Rocker switches looked after the electric window winders – again these being sourced from Volvo. The seats used were Recaro, and the front had adjustable backrests. The two AF-2 models constructed featured a digital clock, a delay switch which extinguished the lights and locked the doors if the driver didn't do so, a self-seeking cassette player with radio, electric windows, and a fully integrated air-conditioning unit.

Given the wind cheating design of the car, the powerful but light engine and quality components used, there is little doubt that the Ilinga would have been a fast car – and likely one that handled very well too. But like so many other lost marques, the Ilinga would be relegated to the history books. If anything the possibility for a small private venture to get anything off the ground has only become more difficult. And that means we do not always get to pick from the best of design and human endeavour. Thankfully one of the Ilinga's is preserved at Museum Victoria.
Ilinga AF-2

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