50 Years In A Barn: 1958 Austin A40 Farina

050216 Barn Finds - 1958 Austin A40 - 2

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A true barn find: this 1958 Austin A40 Farina Mark I is in Alexandria, Alabama, about halfway between the Barber Motorsports Museum, east of Birmingham, and Atlanta. This very cool, little car is listed on eBay with a price of $2,500 or make an offer, or they may trade for something. How this car ended up in a barn in Alabama I’ll never know.

050216 Barn Finds - 1958 Austin A40 - 1

This car looks pretty decent for being 58 years old and having been in storage for the vast majority of that time. This is what it used to look like, and what it will look like again once it’s restored. The seller says that everything “is on the car just like it came from factory.” It has 61,000 miles on it, not much more than I drive every year and this thing has been around since Ike was president.

050216 Barn Finds - 1958 Austin A40 - 3

The photos aren’t the best and there are no interior photos what so ever, and I can’t even tell what color it would have been inside this car. Other than being left-hand-drive, it should look like this. The seller says that the floor pans are “very solid” and all the glass is good, except for the windshield which is cracked. The seller also mentions that the body “is very solid some rust in left quarter and under both bumpers.” This is a great looking car, in my humble opinion.

050216 Barn Finds - 1958 Austin A40 - 4

This is the A-Series 948cc inline-four cylinder with 34 hp and 50 lb-ft of torque. This car should have a top speed of around 70 mph. We all know that cars like this weren’t made for US freeways and driving at 75 mph all day long, they were city cars and they were meant for two-lane country roads, driving at moderate speeds and enjoying life going by at a leisurely pace. It’s like a person buying a cat and then being mad and disappointed when it doesn’t bark. It isn’t supposed to bark, it’s a cat! Plus, I don’t like cats.. but I digress.. If a person knows British cars this could be a very nice project. It’s complete and it isn’t in bad shape despite being stored for five decades, so it’s very doable. Are you a fan of these small British cars?

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  1. dj

    It will never amaze you at the things you’ll find in Alabama. I used to drive a back road near the town this car is in. I passed by a Ferrari 308 sitting under a tree every day I traveled that road for years.. It was an ugly brown color and the house was abandoned. I finally decided to try and buy it and of course it was gone.

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  2. z1rider

    1958? Are you sure? 1968 more likely.

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    • Scotty GAuthor

      z1rider, 1958 was the first year and 1961 was the last year for a Mark 1 car. According to the seller, it’s a 1958.

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  3. RayT

    I’m a fan, though sadly this A40 looks like a no-win situation: too miserable to do mechanical work only and drive as-is, and too much of a money pit to restore as an “investment.” If it were nicer….

    And I admit to being conflicted as to what should be done with it. Hop up the engine — maybe replace it with a later, larger unit — and drive the daylights out of it, or just set it up as a cruiser. And there is that side of me that wonders if a 289 Ford or SBC could be jammed in!

    I appreciate most small Brit cars. This, or a Minor, or an Anglia — especially the one with the reverse-slanting rear window — would suit me just fine. Would make a perfect grocery-getter when one wants to leave the Big Healey at home!

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  4. John

    My father had an employee with one of these back in the day. When it finally broke down for the umpteenth on his morning commute, he pulled over to the side of the highway, removed the plates and left it for dead – never to be seen again!

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  5. ClassicCarFan

    I agree with RayT. This would be a fun car to own if you can take it for what it is…if you live in an urban or country-road setting where you aren’t going to have to run long distances on the freeway…..but, this one is probably too rough to be worth it.

    Although the parts supply for these cars is pretty good – because of some shared basis with the sprite/midget and others – the work to restore this one to even decent driver standard would probably not be economically viable. It’s not going to be worth a fortune when finished. If you really wanted one of these you’d probably be better off finding one that was in better condition to start with, especially body, paint and trim. The mechanical parts are easy enough to refurbish.

    Yes, you could upgrade the engine to a 1100 or 1275 version easy enough. They were used in the Sprite/Midget and various other Brits cars in that RWD-longitudinal format. You might want to be careful about adding TOO much extra power though unless you plan to upgrade brakes, suspension etc.

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  6. Bill

    a 1275 (RWD config) should fit right in there…. YAHOO!!!

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  7. Wayne

    So it only spent 8 years on the road? Must have been hard years.

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