1967 Austin A40 'Farina' Mark II 1.3-Litre Competition Saloon Registration no. FPO 983 Chassis no. AAWH-159443
'BMC's links with Italian styling house we now know as Pininfarina were forged in the mid-1950s, and for a time that concern shaped all BMC's new mass-production models, and advised on others done in-house. The first of the Farina cars was arguably the best of all ? the new-generation A40, launched in the autumn of 1958.' ? Graham Robson, 'The Cars of BMC'.
The unitary construction A40 Farina stood out from the rest of the BMC saloon range by being a 'two box' design, presaging the looks of the forthcoming front-wheel drive Austin/Morris 1100. Inherited from the preceding A35, its 948cc A-Series engine and running gear were a good deal less 'cutting edge', in particular the hydraulic front/mechanical rear braking system. In this 'Mark I' form the A40 did not last long, being superseded in 1961 by the revamped Mark II. Improvements included a longer wheelbase, greater rear legroom, front anti-roll bar, telescopic dampers (replacing the original lever-arm type), and full hydraulic braking. Power went up slightly, from 34 to 37 horsepower, but the first significant improvement in that department did not arrive until 1962 in the form of the 1,098cc version, which came with 48bhp on tap. Production continued until 1967.
The A40 Farina even enjoyed a short career as a works rally car, its most accomplished exponent being Pat Moss, whose best result was 10th overall in the 1959 Monte, winning the Ladies' Prize. There was no works involvement in circuit racing, but the A40 Farina was campaigned by various privateers at club level. Foremost among the latter was Mick Cave, whose battleship grey-painted Downton-tuned example ? 'The Old Grey Mare' ? was one of the fastest small racing saloons of its day, winning the BARC championship in 1963 and 1964, on the latter occasion with Harry Digby driving.
Owned by the current owner since 2012, this has been a rally and race car for many years and was restored in 2012 to meet HRDC and St Mary's Trophy regulations. The 1,275cc full-race engine is fitted with a cylinder head from Classic & Modern Engine Services, and there are currently two seats installed (a lightweight 'token' seat is available for racing). This is a 1967 car but is fitted with lever-arm shock absorbers to comply with HRDC regulations. Its specification also includes A-frame rear suspension and modified front uprights, and the car comes with six race wheels and four road wheels. Offered with restoration bills, current MoT, and a V5C document, it represents an affordable entry into historic saloon car racing.