Friday, April 6, 2012

1960 Austin A40 - A Ready-To-Go-To-Show Car

I don't think I have ever seen one of these in person.

The A40 was designed by Pininfarina. It looked like a hatchback, but it wasn't. It had a trunk, but not a traditional one. It was hinged at the bottom and the rear seat folded down to make more room. When the seat was up, there was a piece of fabric that covered the trunk area and created something of a shelf.

The engine was Austin's ubiquitous 948cc "A-Series" engine. The A-Series engines have powered Minis, Morris Minors, Spridgets, MG / Austin 1100s, Austin Americas, and many, many more British cars. At one point Nissan was building it under license and using it in their cars. The transmission was a 4 speed manual with a floor mounted shifter.

The A40 is rear wheel drive and has a simple, old fashioned suspension; coil springs in front, leaf springs in the rear. The brakes were hydraulically operated in the front, cable actuated at the rear.

The interior was interesting. The seats were of a good quality vinyl. The dash had a parcel shelf and a locking glove compartment. The floors were carpeted. The rear side windows were hinged. Much of that was not found on small cars of the 1950s and early 1960s. However, the front windows had no winder; you moved then up and down by hand. There is also nothing that even remotely resembles an armrest. Anywhere. Not on the door, not in the center. I guess, if you were the passenger, you sat bolt upright in the seat with your hands folded in your lap.

Speed was not the A40's strong suit. 60 MPH came in a whopping 35 seconds. (Count that out in your head and imagine that you're trying to blend into fast moving traffic.) The A40's top speed was around 75 MPH.

Introduced in 1958, the A40 never sold well in the US. Although Austin listed them as being available in North America through 1962, they all disappeared from the dealerships after Austin officially began importing the Mini in 1960.

This has to be one of the nicest, if not the nicest, A40s in North America, maybe the world. The only flaws the seller mentioned is a non-working windshield washer (it's the old pump type) and that the heater "does not heat but will blow air inefficiently at best." Having owned some old British cars, I suspect the latter has been that way since the car was new.

This is a ready-to-go-to-show car. It's expensive, but you could buy it today and take it to a show on Sunday. As the seller says, you will be only one at the car show with one of these.

Located in Highland Park, IL, click here to see the eBay listing.

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