Extreme Bargain: 1958 Austin A40

The Austin A40 “Farina” was one of the more stylish options for a small economy car in Britain in the late 1950s. We didn’t get many of them on this side of the pond, but this extreme bargain is currently listed here on eBay for $250 without a reserve! While it certainly has some shortcomings, those of you looking for a suitable 24 Hours of LeMons candidate should look no further! You’ll be traveling to Onamia, Minnesota to pick the car up, which is why I’m writing this up instead of bidding!

Sure, there’s some rust, but actually the body shell looks surprisingly solid considering the price (at least so far). There are a lot of Austin-Healey Sprite compatable parts along with other British cars, so at least mechanical parts aren’t that hard to come by. Not to say this car would make economical sense to restore, but to drive? Not too bad. Besides, where have you ever seen another one?

The interior looks fairly intact; there are even floors in there!

The A-Series engine (if original) would be a 34 horsepower, 948 cc version. Of course, anything will fit up to a 1275cc, and that single downdraft carburetor could easily become twin SU’s, which could probably double the horsepower or more. Anyone up for a two-car Austin LeMons team along with my Marina?

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Comments

  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    As always, rust will be an issue…

    There are a couple of these still running around my small town in NZ, both have modded engines (1275s with twin carbs, etc) and suspensions.

    1
  2. Chinga-Trailer

    That 34 hp mill – Inspiration for Mike Myers “Austin Powers”?

    2
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      There is a reason we are called Austin Powerless Racing…just sayin’…

      2
      • Chinga-Trailer

        Really, I had no idea – I was just trying to be the first to comment, but Beatnik Bedouin beat me to it – is that a “Hunter” aka “Hathaway” kit car for a TR chassis that appears with your name??

        1
      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Sure is, good eye! Some of us did “what’s in our barn?” features a while back, details in there :-)

      • Chinga-Trailer

        I always thought they were one of the better kit cars, nothing amateurish about the design at all, sort of a good amalgam of Morgan, Jaguar and even BMW 328.

  3. Kiwi Glen

    This is an early model – later models had a clam shell rear door – I had one and while it was not fast it was nippy around my home town of Tauranga nz. Came home one night and it had disappeared. Never found out what happened to it.

    Loads of fun – had a switch that said blower – and it did not matter how many times I switched it on there was no magical super charger just the heater fan

    6
    • Beatnik Bedouin

      Small world, Glen. I live in Waihi…

      These days, an A-40 Farina would seem a bit slow for Tauranga traffic, unless one’s trying to drive into town during rush hour, or down Hewletts Rd just about any time of the day! ;-)

      2
      • TVC15

        I used to go to Waihi ( town not beach ) all the time , my friend worked at the radio factory back in the day ,

      • Beatnik Bedouin

        TVC15, I used to supply the front ‘masks’ for TVs assembled in Waihi back in the 1980s. ‘Tis a very small world.

  4. stillrunners

    Thanks guys for the comments from across the pond – always enjoy the real life comments on the cars and modification youse guys do.

    I also like all these Morris derived powered machines..

    2
    • Beatnik Bedouin

      Actually, stillrunners, it’s the other way around. Morris cars, such as the Minor Series II and 1000, used the same engines as the Austin A-30, 35, 40 Farina.

      Nuffield Group (Morris) merged with Leonard Lord’s Austin to create BMC; the rest is history, albeit sometimes unpleasant, especially once the business evolved into British Leyland.

      2
  5. Kurt Mueller

    It’s only 35 miles away from me
    I have a 1275 engine hanging on the engine hoist in the barn
    I’m shaking

    3
    • George

      Nothing like temptation….

  6. Brock

    It’s got mechanical (not hydraulic) rear brakes on this one.

  7. luke arnott

    I learnt to drive in one in1966 here in England – good little car back in the day.

  8. Howard A

    The speedometer broke when they tried to go faster than 40 mph downhill,,

  9. Bob C.

    I believe they used these little A40 engines in the Nash Metropolitan.

    • Carey Hill

      not quite- the Farina had the A series engine which looked similar but was physically much smaller- the Metropolitan had the b series engine a bigger engine.

      The Japanese adopted the A series for their early small datsuns- and the b series for their larger datsuns somehow they seemed to get better power than the brits.

  10. Angus

    Pure nostalgia, I passed my driving test on an A40 Farina in 1964, my own car at the time, a Morris Minor, was undergoing suspension repairs and had to book three lessons with BSM, British School of Motoring, to use one of their cars for the pre-arranged test.
    The A40 Farina was the fore-runner of the Austin/Morris 1100 which had a transverse engine and front wheel drive as opposed to the A40 conventional north/south engine and rear wheel drive.

    1
  11. Nevis Beeman

    I found, purchased, and drove a 1962 Mk2 Austin A40, around Nevis, St Kitts & Nevis, West Indies, for 18 years, before finding a shipping container I could share to bring her home to UK.Since then I’ve been preparing her for use on British roads. I couldn’t have achieved this without the support & help of the A40 Farina Club. Google them. They will locate every required spare part imaginable. 3 days ago in Inverness, Scotland I chanced upon a Mk1 A40, about to embark upon a 147 mile journey south to Stirling…rear seat folded flat for the luggage, a splendid sight! Be inspired, restore this unusual little Austin, and you will enjoy smiles for life.

    1
  12. Will Owen Member

    Always wanted one of these when they were new, then got sucked over into Minis. And now all I see of A40s are rust buckets like this, just when I’m thinking a nice simple car with my favorite BMC 4-banger wd be just the thing. Boy, do I have timing down or what? Morris Minors are good and fairly plentiful, but the Farina bodies fit my needs better, especially the hatchbacks. They were pretty successful track cars too.

  13. Del

    Why only 250 ?

    A wrecking yard will give him 275.

  14. pat gill

    that car looks really quite solid, surface rust and a rotten trunk lid, plus what cannot be seen, looks worth saving, mechanical parts are shared with the Morris minor / 1000, MG midget / sprite and even Mini (mini gearbox internals are the same as Morris 1000! )very rare in the UK…..

  15. Tom

    My Mk1 Farina is nearly complete..hot rod 948 (yes, really!) modded suspension and brakes…Cosmic alloys, Microcell seats…
    As noted above, the owner’s club is fantastic.
    Tom

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