Solid & Rare! 1958 Austin A40 Farina

The A40 Farina Owner’s Club thinks there are only about 400 of these cute little Pininfarina-designed cars left on the road; this car isn’t at the moment but looks like it could be with a little elbow grease. It’s listed for sale here on craigslist in Phoenix, Arizona and the asking price is only $1,950! Thanks to Barn Finds reader Paul G. for sending us this unusual find!

The Countryman model of this unusual car was equipped with an early (some say the first) hatchback, but this early car just has a fold-down trunk lid like the later Mini. We’re told the car is a true barn find that has been stationary for a while. Unfortunately, that also means there’s no title at the moment.

The body shell is described as having minimal rust, but as you can see the paint is pretty hopeless unless you like patina. There, I got that out of the way.

This neat A40 ad from Austin of Canada illustrates what BMC was trying to do; create a car with the utility and economy of its dowdy A35 predecessor (which donated much of the mechanical components to the cause) and Italian style. The result, introduced in 1958, was the A40. Many components of the A35 also found their way into the Austin-Healey Sprite sports cars, and the A40 ended up with quite the competition record in races and rallies. As you can see from this cool minute and a half video (click on it, you know you want to!) of two A40s battling it out in front of a Thunderbird (!) at Goodwood in 2017, you’ll see they will flat out scoot when prepared properly!

This is the only interior shot we have, but honestly, even in a mint condition example, the interior of the design is not particularly notable.

The seller describes the A-Series engine as a 1098 cc model, but it should be a 948 cc if it’s the original engine (either will fit, as will a later 1275 cc out of an MG Midget or Sprite). One of the neat things about this little Austin is that you can use inexpensive Spridget parts to hot-rod it a little; for example, I understand the disc brakes from the Midget fit easily, as would a later transmission if needed. Perhaps a vintage rally-style build? Be sure and let us know if one of you lands this beauty!

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Waiting for the Buckwheat version.

    Like 2
  2. Terrry

    I have to give the car credit. It’s got a lot less rust than nearly all the Chevelle/Malibus that get posted on BF.

    Like 12
  3. Doyler

    This was my dads first car.

    Like 4
    • DelBoy

      And my Father too. A red one with a black roof was the only car he ever bought brand new, probably in 1961. It was purchased in Glasgow, Scotland; driven the Italy and then put on a ship back to Hong Kong, where we lived.

      A breakfast cereal company was running a competition at the time of its’ purchase; first prize being one of these cars.

      Some wisecracking kids ask my dad at the time, “hey mister, did you get this oot a packet of cornflakes?”. He was not happy!

      Like 5
      • Doyler

        Fantastic story!

        I’m from Ireland. My father never really had any relationship with his dad as he was anti treaty IRA and was constantly on the run. According to family legend he took part in the Magazine Raid in 1939. He was arrested, broke out of prison, and in an irony that is lost on no one, ran to Belfast and joined the British Army as he felt he had no other option. He never lived in Ireland again. He stayed in England after the war, got a job in a warehouse, and won the pools!

        He bought my dad this car. It was second hand, rusty as all hell, and I think it might have even had a hand crank? My dad drove his then 5 children and wife all around the Wicklow mountains in it. I came along later and by then he’d graduated to a Vauxhall Viva that he subsequently found out was a salvage write off illegally returned to the road – it was a cut and shut. He seldom had luck with cars!!!

        Like 5
  4. PaulG

    Living about 100 miles north of this car, I was greatly tempted to get a closer look (buy it) when I saw it on Craigslist.
    However small it is, I still need a place to stash it and with too many already I had to pass.
    It’s so cool and priced right I’m fighting the urge…

    Like 11
  5. Martin Horrocks

    Very good value. Countryman was not a hatchback, split rear door, drop down bottom panel, fold up top window.

    Citroen Traction Avant Commerciale had genuine hatchback in about 1936.

  6. luke arnott Member

    I learnt to drive in one in 1966 – great car with all the rear visibility.

    Like 1
  7. Peter Pentz

    I owned one for a year in 1970 when I was at University in Cape Town, South Africa. Mine was red with a white roof
    They had two basic floors – it used the same gearbox as the period Morris Minor which had very delicate Cyncros that wore out quickly. It was equipped with slide lift up windows in the doors, and once the slides wore they would constantly work their way down as you drove.
    It was though a giggle to drive, and in period responded well to being modified, as you can see in the Goodwood footage.

    Like 3
  8. MGSteve

    To the Future Buyer: I have a complete set of the tail lights you need, in darn nice condition.

    Like 1
  9. Will Owen Member

    There was one of these parked in the lot across from my office bldg. on Elmendorf AFB, AK back when I’d just gotten my first Mini, and I was frankly envious. I do not really remember if it had the full hatch or not, but I think it did; this was probably in 1963, my last full year there. Never got to meet the owner, so all I could do was admire the nice design.

    It really is too bad that these, as with most of BMC’s cars back then, were so poorly armed against the Rust Bug. Even in Alaska, where salt is NEVER used on winter roads, you’d see some happening, although not to the extent you’d see in the Northern parts of the South 48. Equally too bad is that these never attained any cult-level following. They did pretty well in track events, too.

  10. losgatos_dale

    an italian spridget?

    • Will Owen Member

      I do not have the exact model data (at the computer, SUPPOSED to be working!), but there were gorgeous Italian-bodied versions of both the Minis and Spridgets. I THINK they were from Bertone … the Mini knockoffs were especially lust-worthy.

  11. jwaltb

    There’s a reason it’s rare…

    Like 1
  12. Will Owen Member

    Several reasons, I’d say. For one thing, the popularity of the Mini was more than matched by the MG 1100 and the Austin America, the former of which sold at least twice what the Minis had, at least according to what I observed in Alaska. The subsequent US safety regulations could never have been met by any of these cars without massive modifications, although on my first trip to France in 1991 I was charmed to see Paris traffic swarming with virtually unchanged-from-original Minis, mostly shiny and new.

    Like 1
  13. jonathan weisman

    I bought this car. Not nearly as solid as i was hoping for. It looks like it had some damage to the front right side. The repairs are not exactly done well. This car is going to be a lot of work!. I’m either going to put a little turbo on this motor or do a swap.

    Like 3
    • Doyler

      Keep us in the loop!

      Will you be recording the work anywhere?

      Like 1
  14. Bill McCoskey

    What I’d like to know is why, on such a small and light car, does it have a vacuum power brake unit?

    Like 2
  15. chrlsful@aol.com

    Two opposites I like today (U guys all awys got sompin). Here:

    “Y…dies it have…power brake…”
    10 inch tire, 3 or 4 200 lb ppl inside?

    Anyway, I echo all the “It aint I-talian?” comments. Looks like the Auto Bianchi series from late ’57 – the Y10 (Bianchina – 6 models) my all time fav: Furgoncino ’65/70, ‘low roof’ – a lill waggy. Like ta put the earlier Trasformabile’s suicide (pre ’62) dors on one of those…

  16. Will Owen Member

    “Power” brakes were a must-have for many folks by this time. My sympathies are mostly with the greater range of stopping power without the servo; my last Mini was fitted with “semi-competition” liners from BAP that gave a range from gently slowing to hard-locked very nicely. When the vacuum hose in my Alfa 2-liter Berlina went out, and the dealer had no clue as when he could get one, I just ran a large machine screw into the nose end and put on a clamp, and very much enjoyed the powerful non-powered brakes. As a bonus, nobody else wanted to drive the car …

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