The cars : Austin A30/A35 development story

Keith Adams tells the story of the Austin A30 and A35.

Here we had a surprising technological leader and one of Britain’s most popular baby cars before the Mini’s arrival in 1959…

Austin A30 and A35: Unsung heroes

Immediately post-war, Government policy meant that Austin’s inability to replace the Seven left Longbridge producing bigger cars tailored for the American market – great for profit and loss, not so good for those people desperately seeking mobility.

It wasn’t until the failure of the first attempt to merge Austin and Morris in 1949 that led Leonard Lord to give the green light to a new small car project that would eventually see the A30 hit the drawing boards that same year. The reason for tooling up for a new ‘baby’ car was simple – now Austin couldn’t join Morris, it would have to beat its Cowley-based rival, and that meant producing a competitor for the Morris Minor.

In engineering terms, the new car would represent a major step forwards for Austin. It was a truly ‘chassis-less’ car – not only a first for the Longbridge company but for the British car industry as a whole. Overseas, the Lancia Lambda and Saab 92 beat Austin to the prize for the world’s first…

Undoubtedly, this production technique had caused plenty of debate during the car’s development – while Leonard Lord himself (an accomplished Engineer) was convinced the system worked, some of his more senior Engineers considered the prospect with some dread – especially considering the fact that Lord was well known for scalping senior members of staff if things went wrong…

Although there were plenty of unitary-construction cars built before the Austin A30 made its first appearance in 1951, the baby Austin’s truly chassis-less set-up meant that there was absolutely no trace of a platform in the conventional sense, whatsoever. All other cars that came before employed a chassis frame of some description, welded to the underside of a separate body – what the A30 did was do away with this production process completely.

Ken Garrett and Ian Duncan were the Engineers tasked with getting the concept into production – and, with extensive experience in the aircraft industry, they were perfectly placed to do the job with their stress engineering.

Had Ian and Ken been given more freedom, the A30 could well have been a whole lot more radical. Initial concepts featured front-wheel drive and rubber suspension (they had worked with Alex Moulton on a previous special, known as the Duncan Dragonfly) and were rapidly rejected, but the body engineering came through unscathed.

This was undoubtedly innovation enough for Austin – a company, which in the Fifties was already earning a reputation for being a little on the conservative side, an image not helped by the innovative products that were being produced by the Nuffield Group at the time.

Over at Nuffield, the great Jack Daniels – the Engineer who alongside Alec Issigonis developed the Morris Minor into a production reality – was suitably impressed. According to Barney Sharratt’s book, ‘The Men and Motors of Austin’ Daniels said, ‘We had built up a full history of the torsional stiffness of all sorts of cars. We were staggered to find that the A30 had a torsional stiffness of about 13,000lb ft per degree of deflection. The Morris Minor gave a figure of only 4500lb ft, and we considered that more than adequate.”

Advanced body, heroic engine

The A30’s construction techniques were a technical leap forward for Austin and there’s no denying that its engine was just as advanced – who would have imagined that it would remain in production into the 21st century…

When the A30 was being developed, the industry norm was for side-valve units – and, indeed, that’s how the Morris Minor was powered, even though Issigonis wanted something far more interesting.

However, Austin’s Engine Designer, Eric Bareham decided that the most logical solution for the A30’s power unit question was to produce what was a scaled-down version of the 1200cc engine found in the Austin A40 (and which would later go on to become the eponymous BMC B-Series). It was a scheme that worked, and much of the engine’s innate efficiency was down to the combustion chamber and valve port designs that were penned by Harry Weslake.

Although it had its faults, the A30 engine in 803cc form ended up being one of the greatest power units of all time. Once it became known as the A-Series engine – following the merger of Austin and Morris to become the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1952 there was no stopping it. Produced in transverse and in-line form, and finding itself under the bonnets of cars as diverse as the Austin-Healey Sprite and the Montego 1.3-litre, between 1951 and 2000, over 14-million were built. Alongside the Rover V8, it’s fair to say, that the A-Series was an engine that helped build Britain.

For its Designers, the sweetest irony of all must have been when it became the motive power for the A30’s bitterest rival, the Morris Minor.

Styling it…

Austin A30
Early A30 styling proposal from Dick Burzi’s team at Longbridge

Today, the A30 is considered a cute classic, which you’d love to take home and meet your parents. However, styling it was a serious affair – and it was Bob Koto, a Designer from the Raymond Loewy styling studios who produced the first clay models of the A30.

From the outset, it was a very attractive car – but Austin management decided to make changes at every opportunity, and in a bout of cost-cutting, it was reduced in length by 4½ inches – then ended up being restyled by Austin’s Head of Styling, Dick Burzi, to give it more of a family look.

In the end, the final style was extremely pleasing – and is core to the A30’s enduring appeal as a classic car. Children love it, mothers get all maternal about it, and fathers enjoy the fact that tinkering under the bonnet is a rather easy pastime.

Launching it…

When the new four-door Austin A30 ‘Seven’ made its first public appearance after a refreshingly short development programme at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1951, it made quite an impression with showgoers, hungry for their next new car. Although it shared a deliberately close family resemblance to the larger and rather successful A70 Hereford and (subsequent) A40 Somerset ranges, the important new baby car soon established an individual image all of its own, even before any members of the press or public had driven it.

Powered by a 28bhp version of the new 803cc engine, the A30 was considered powerful enough in relation to the opposition, and the rear-wheel drive transmission package was the norm for the era. The front suspension was independent, by coil springs and wishbones, and at the rear, more conventional semi-elliptical leaf springs kept the back axle in line.

The all-drum hydro-mechanical braking system featured an under-floor master cylinder, controlling the four wheel cylinders on the front backplates, plus a single slave cylinder sited under the rear bodywork. This actuated rods and a cable, linked to mechanical expanders fitted to the rear backplates. It wasn’t a system noted for either its efficiency or power.

Although most potential customers didn’t identify it at the time, the chassis-less construction method remained the major innovation – even if the final style failed to hint at this hidden innovation – perhaps because it was launched at a bargain basement price of £507. That’s £100 cheaper than the Minor was at the time…

These early AS3 models stood out on the road – they were short, but also the narrowest cars you could buy in the UK at the time. This didn’t stop the A30 being adequately commodious for four adults – and, in addition to this, it was quick enough to reach almost 65mph, and sip fuel at the rate of 40-45mpg. Truly, it was a major step forwards in the small car class…

It wasn’t until May 1952 that quantity production of the AS3 model commenced, and there were plenty of detail modifications made to these earlier cars to keep the most ardent Austin spotter amused for years to come.

What the testers thought…

On the road, there were pros and cons in comparison with the Morris Minor. In terms of handling, the car from Cowley emerged a clear winner, and Bill Boddy, writing in Motor Sport magazine in 1953 (following the formation of BMC), commented, ‘In a car which goes along so willingly, handling qualities are of considerable importance. It must be said that the Austin A30 does not possess such good controllability as its near-relation, the Morris Minor.

‘It has a narrower track and is higher, so that steering it on a wet road and in a strong cross wind, or at its terminal velocity downhill, is rather like what we imagine tightrope walking to be – all right if you keep going straight.’

He continued, ‘The suspension is soft, giving a comfortable, pitch-free if somewhat lively ride, but this induces considerable roll oversteer which spoils the cornering properties. Very pleasant high geared steering largely offsets this, and perhaps the fairest way to express the matter is to say that the A30 is controllable, but not enjoyably so.’

So, it wasn’t the dynamic tour de force that the Morris Minor was, but there was certainly a lot to recommend the A30 – and buyers agreed, with sales picking up strongly from almost the day it was launched. Obviously, the advantage of rack and pinion steering was yet to be seen as a major factor influencing the purchasing decision.

In 1953, the A30 was given a few other styling and engineering tweaks, becoming the AS4 in the process. This also included the introduction of the highly popular two-door saloon version (known as the A2S4) before the 1954 introduction of the van and Countryman models.

Upgunning the classic…

In September 1956, the A30 became the A35. The new model was much improved – the most significant upgrade being the engine capacity increase from 803 to 948cc, which gave the car a useful fillip in the performance stakes. The uprated A-Series produced more power, but was also capable of taking the higher octane fuel that was rapidly becoming popular in the post-war boom years.

Cruising ability was also vastly improved, and that meant that the A35 remained a useable baby family saloon. In fact, and surprising for any anyone who considers the A35 a bit on the pedestrian side, it was the most potent car in its class – and by a considerable margin.

At the same time, the Morris Minor also received the upgraded engine, and thanks to its more surefooted handling, made much better use of it. However, despite its known weaknesses in the handling department, the A30 and A35 were raced very successfully in saloon car categories – and that remains the case to this day.

From 1956, the A35 remained in production for quite some time – it was a tough act to follow. The saloons were rendered obsolete by the Mini (or Austin Se7en and Morris Mini-Minor) at that car’s launch in 1959; the Countryman hung around until 1962, and the van all the way to 1968, and the formation of British Leyland. In total, around half a million were made…

Cultish following…

 James Hunt was the A30's most famous adherent...
James Hunt was the A30’s most famous owner…

The A30 and A35 are classics that retain a very strong following – and, despite the fact that the Mini and Minor overshadowed the cute car commercially, there are enough fans out there to ensure that it will remain in the classic limelight for some time to come.

Legendary drivers such as Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill and, latterly, James Hunt, have all been found enjoying themselves behind the wheel of the Austin A30 and A35 – with certainly the former two enjoying exploring the car’s handling without going near the brake pedal, whatever the speed a bend is attacked at.

James Hunt, famously the owner of a faithful A35 van enjoyed his, although he was well aware of the car’s dynamic – shall we say – foibles. He said: ‘I can put everything I learnt in motor racing into driving it round the Wandsworth one-way system on a wet Saturday night, blow off all the Ferraris and nobody takes a blind bit of notice.’

If there’s a better testament to how much fun you can have in a baby car – and that power isn’t everything in your daily drive on the road – we’ve yet to hear it.

Keith Adams


  1. Having served my apprenticeship with a Nuffield group garage,from 59 to 64, I much preferred the Minor both for driving and working on. That was reinforced when later I moved to an Austin garage and the first job I got was to repair broken front shock absorber bolts on an A35, not an uncommon occurrence. One broken bolt would not budge and I had to cut off the bump stop cone to access the tapped plate from the bottom using a welding torch. Having cleared away anything flammable from the inside of the engine compartment, I picked up what I thought was a bottle of water to keep handy just in case there was a small flare up. There was, and the bottle did not contain water, something I did not realise until a sheet of flame leapt into the air when I splashed some of the liquid onto the flame. It was clear brake fluid!. I grabbed a fire extinguisher which actually worked and the flames were out in a second. Unfortunately the foam kept coming and in a panic I stuck the nozzle into a nearby floor drain. It was a long workshop and there was foam bubbling out of every drain along the whole length. Fortunately there was no damage, but I was convinced that I was ready for another career move very soon. I was forgiven and went on to spend a few more much less eventful years.
    I still preferred the Minor.

  2. I’m surprised that there is no mention of the other engine that was developed for the A30. There was also a two stroke power unit developed for the car by Dr Joe Ehrlich. At least one of the two stroke engines still survives as I saw it and photgraphed it a few years ago. I believe it was planned to reunite the engine with an A30 prototype car

    • You are thinking of the Austin A20 / Lightweight Austin 7 prototype, essentially a shortened Austin A30 that used a lighter gauge body weighing roughly 584kg and powered by an Ehrlich-designed two-stroke engine.

      Unfortunately the earlier 20 hp 500cc all-alloy two-stroke powered Austin A20 did not appear to perform well thanks to the engine tending to seize up during testing when installed in the A20, perhaps the later water-cooled fuel-injected 670cc version (with water-pump) or a 475cc 2-cylinder A-Series (with potential stretch to 499-638cc) would have been more suited to the A20 and succeeding economy cars.

      Also worth noting that had the Austin A20 featured an aluminum body similar to the aluminum Austin A30 prototype instead of a lighter gauge body, such a car would have roughly weighed as low as 408kg!

      It would have been interesting to find out how the Ehrlich two-stroke engines would have performed in say the Duncan Dragonfly prototype.

      • I’ve heard the 2 cylinder A series was considered early in the Mini development, but it ran too rough to be used.

        • It was considered and indeed viewed as rough, however in reality the existing 4-cylinder A-Series was really the only available option for the Mini in the rush to get the car into production.

          On the other hand, successfully refining the 2-cylinder A-Series for use in the A20 was surely not beyond the technical know-how of BMC given the initial low-regard for the 803cc 4-cylinder A-Series.

          Then again it is curious why BMC never considered a further downscaled 600-750cc engine based on the A-Series in the same way the A-Series is itself a downscaled version of the B-Series.

          Especially since minnow carmaker Reliant managed to achieve such a feat for the Reliant OHV, which was a essentially downscaled copy of the Standard-Triumph SC engine later cast in aluminum so it could conform to the 3-wheeler weight limit.

          • The GM “Stovebolt” engine was an influence on the A & B series IIRC.

            I didn’t realise the Reliant engine was based on the Standard-Triumph SC unit, I knew it wasn’t modelled on the Austin 7 engine Reliant used for many years.

          • The GM Stovebolt was an influence on Austin’s original large 4/6-cylinder family which later formed the basis of the B-Series with the latter in turn forming the basis of the A-Series.

            In that light, surely it must have been doable to develop a further downscaled compact 600cc+ engine based on the 800cc A-Series (the larger B-Series originally conceived as a 1000-1200cc engine).

            Was surprised as well regarding the Reliant OHV.

            Since it gave the impression that Austin were perhaps mistaken in selling the Austin 7 engine to Reliant if it could still be updated into an Overhead Valve unit, similar to how the Morris 918cc Side-Valve also spawned the related Wolseley 918cc Overhead-Valve engine.

  3. There must be thousands of memories from hundreds of ex-A35 owners out there!
    We owned a black four door saloon not long after we got married in 1970. Along with a PC Cresta, Austin A40 Sports, an SS Jag and a handful of others it was one of the best (of around 80) cars we have owned.
    It was a little special in that someone had fitted a cooper head and maniflow exhaust – and we fitted four new Viking radials when radials were the ‘new’ thing. These tyres totally transformed the handling and road holding. The A35 was just such fun.

  4. Often overlooked in favour of the Morris Minor and the Mini, the Austin A 30/35 was a good small car that was a popular banger well into the seventies as it was very cheap to own and generally reliable. A black 1957 example is still in use as a practical classic near me.

  5. Im 76 my Father had an A30 which I borrowed alot.

    I am thinking of buying a A35 for old times sake ,Should
    Cheers Tony

    CHASSIS NO. AS313242 ENGINE NO. 2A14136

    • Hi Steve, mine is younger on 2A27372, in Buckingham Green, first registered 01-Oct-53

      You could contact the Austin A30 owners club, they keep a register of AS3 cars.

    • Hi MM, the handbrake is on the right hand side.

      I sometimes have difficulty with this when getting back into the Astra after driving the Austin, as I end up sticking my hand in the door pocket instead of applying the handbrake!

  7. Always wondered why the Austin A30 never received Rack & Pinion Steering (instead of Worm & Nut) like on the Morris Minor along with a lower displacement 750cc version of the A-Series engine as a nod to the pre-WW2 Austin Seven.

  8. My brother’s first car was a 1956 blue A35 bought in the mid 1960’s for £65 I think. He only kept it under a year but it was reliable and just needed minimal bodywork done and some re painting with the rattly can… He replaced it with a Hillman Imp.

  9. One tough little car that seemed to last and my main memories of them are the flying A on the bonnet, a speedometer that only went to 80 mph and an indicator stalk next to the steering wheel with a green indicator on the end. I reckon a lot of Austin loyalists who were anxious to get rid of their pre war Austin 7s, but could never buy a Morris Minor,, bought the A30/35.

    • Glen, I remember on my brother’s car that the indicators were operated by a large dial switch in the middle of the dash, with a pointer for left & right. He used to let me operate the indicator’s on the way home from school. Innocent happy days!

      • I recall the centre mounted indicator switch in the A35, I think the centre of the switch had a light bulb so it would flash green with the indicators, the car was owned by an Uncle, we would go out for day trips, once tsuch trip to Chatsworth House, Father and Uncle shared the driving, my Father could not master that switch , he would set the switch to indicate left when turning right and vice versa

        • The A35 had remarkable ergonomics for its day. I remember the large bakelite indicator control (although I seem to remember my granny’s car had a red tell-tale light) and also the big hefty light control on the right of the column: it was a well engineered lever with four positions to operate sidelights, dip and main beam, rather than a then common foot operated dipswitch. If you were quick you could flash the lights! The next Austins to have a stalk-mounted light switch were the Maestro and Montego, more than 20 years later! The interior light was set below the speedo/dashboard, acting as footwell illumination, which is the preserve of high-end models nowadays. And the handbrake on the right was very nimble, a nice idea used by Rootes group and a few other marques.

  10. Gosh, the writer would do well penning upscale restaurant menus! Where fantasy dispaces reality.

    “This didn’t stop the A30 being adequately commodious for four adults.” But a heck of a tight fit for two ten year old boys and a tiny Mum. Ask me how I know. It was the very definition of a shoebox on wheels. I hated the back seat.

    My first visit to Silverstone in 1959: we were confronted by a sign proclaiming “Motor Racing is Dangerous” and waiving liability for spectators. All on a bit of weatherbeaten plywood. Whereupon an A35 barrel-rolled coming out of Woodcote and hit the bank in front of us. I had observed its approach at speeds I had never seen an A35 do before so wasn’t surprised it, merely alarmed. Rather imprinted on my mind ever since as it was all a bit too close.

    “All other cars that came before employed a chassis frame of some description, welded to the underside of a separate body.” Good Lord, the Ford Consul that went on sale an actual year earlier was in fact an alien spaceship, then. And it had Mac struts and an ohv engine that didn’t need decoking at 30,000 miles.

    The A and B Series engines were the only ones I remember that had the inlet, exhaust and pushrods on the same side of the engine. The Stovebolt six didn’t. Nor did anybody else bother to complicate things that way.

    Yes the A30 was a twee little thing.

  11. Aside from the Austin A20 / Lightweight Austin 7 prototype, a smaller narrow version of the post-war Austin A40 that was to feature a 1-litre version of the A40 unit (which was latter realised at Nissan as the C engine aka “Stone” engine) and an alleged 500cc Topolino-like replacement project for the pre-war Austin 7. It is a shame Austin themselves never looked at what the likes of American Bantam, BMW, Datsun and Rosengart were doing with their 7-derived designs, let alone considered similar improvements to lay the groundwork in producing an immediate post-war Austin built analogue of the Morris Minor.

    For example BMW developed a 788cc OHV engine in the BMW 3/20 using Austin 7 tooling, the likes of American Bantam and Datsun (see D engine for latter) were pushing displacement levels to 820-860cc with tuners and others allegedly managing to push the engine capacity out to as much as 948cc (as in the later A-Series) as well as theoretical power output to around 24-32 hp, meanwhile Rosengart produced the Rosengart Ariette (weighing 720kg and available in 2-door saloon, 2-door cabriolet and wagon / ban bodystyles) which despite being lumbered by its claimed 21 hp 747cc Austin 7-derived sidevalve engine would have made for an interesting post-war challenger to the Morris Minor.

    That is had Austin earlier on developed something similar in tandem with the above developments, especially given Leonard Lord’s pre-war intention for all future Austins to feature OHV engines.

      • In 1942 an OHV version of the Austin 8 engine was indeed laid out though never built, along with an experimental 3-cylinder version of the Austin 8 engine which predictably had balancing issues.

        Curious to know though whether any relation exists between the 747cc Austin 7 as well as the 900cc Austin Big 7 engines, since while the latter was said to be re-designed it is not clear whether it means the Big 7 engine was related to the original 7 or a new design, in the same way the Austin 8 was considered a completely different engine to the Big 7 despite both sharing the same capacity.

      • The following is speculative on my part, though perhaps one can get a rough idea of the gains an OHV version of 24 hp 900cc SV Austin Eight would have made via the 23.5-27.5 hp 918cc Morris SV and 33 hp 918cc Wolseley Eight OHV engines?

        Not to mention the post-war OHV conversions of the 918cc Morris SV and other mods by Alta and VW Derrington for the Morris Minor that pushed outputs to 38-49 hp.

  12. The Austin 7 side valve engine has a separate cylinder block and crankcase as well as roller crank bearings. the Austin 8 engine has shell bearings and a one piece block/crankcase and runs about 30psi oil pressure – just like the Austin 10 engine – with which it shares a 3.5in stroke.

    Big Seven engine is similar to the 8/10 rather than the Austin 7 design.

    • So the Eight engine is basically de-bored or scaled down version of the Ten engine?

      If the Big Seven engine shares some similarities to the Eight/Ten engines, was 900cc the lowest displacement available to the Big Seven / Eight or could it have been reduced much further to directly replace the Austin Seven engine? The same if the Eight engine was a downscaled version of the Ten engine as opposed to a de-bored version of the Ten unit?

      In retrospect Austin should have further developed the Seven engine during its production life like BMW, American Bantam and Datsun did, prior to being replaced by a new Eight/Ten-derived family 750-850cc unit that quickly adopts OHV to produce around 24-25 hp (in place of the loosely derived Big Seven unit).

      That is before later being replaced by the 28 hp 803cc A30 (or an earlier 26 hp 720-750cc A-Series precursor akin to how the 1200cc A40 became the B-Series), with the (ideally OHV) 900cc Eight engine itself being superseded by a post-war 1200cc A40 based 1000cc A35 engine (or 988cc via Nissan C aka Stone engine).

  13. I have been looking at a 1956 A 35 for sale near me, but it has the 803c.c. engine and same gearbox that was in the A 30. The owner claims that the first of the A 35’s of the production line, were fitted with the A 30 set up until being changed over to the 948 c.c. engine. Could this be true?

  14. I have been looking at a 1956 A 35 for sale near me, but it has the 803c.c. engine and same gearbox that was in the A 30. The owner claims that the first of the A 35’s off the production line, were fitted with the A 30 set up until being changed over to the 948 c.c. engine. Could this be true?

  15. The claim that the Austin was the first ”truly chassisless set-up” and that ”All other cars that came before employed a chassis frame of some description, welded to the underside of a separate body” is not quite true. The Saab 92 did absolutely not have additional framework welded to the underside of the body. Also the Citroen Traction Avant had a very ”clean monocoque”.

  16. Apart from cost and Austin’s own A/B-Series engines, what other merits did Austin’s A35, Cambridge (A55) and Westminster (A95/A105) have for being used as the basis for the Farina-bodied models compared to Nuffield’s Minor, Oxford III and Isis II (plus Magnette ZB, Riley 2.6 and Wolseley 6/90 Series III and other related models)?

    Was under the impression that (with the possible exception of the Midget/Sprite) the Austin mechanicals and suspension were generally inferior to the Nuffield based models they replaced such as the Oxford III and Magnette ZB, etc.

    Whereas while it can be argued the Nuffield stuff was not much better and even very inadequate after the mid-70s with the Marina/Ital, something like the Farinas yet with (mainly Minor, Oxford III, Isis II and other Nuffield-based) mechanical and suspension layout of the later Ital AFAIK should have been a fairly decent alternative basis from the late-50s and the next decade or so compared to what was used on the existing Farinas.

    The flexibility of the Minor platform for example would have arguably made it a better starting point for the A40 Farina instead of the Austin A35, especially considering it was said to have been conceived as a smaller and narrower car during its development.

    • I think it was called Leonard Lord! He had a detest for Morris after leaving them for Austin. The A40 did have a longer wheelbase than the equivalent Morris Oxford III (99 1/4 inches against 97 Inches), but was narrower by some 3 1/2 inches. I think the extra width would have made the farinas such a better looking motor, and they stretched the wheelbase for the A60 anyway.

      • Aware of Leonard Lord’s anti-Morris bias, yet it certainly did not help that William Morris was unwilling to rationalise Nuffield’s engines down let alone undergo the same investment and modernization for his company like Austin achieved under Lord.

        It can even be argued that the Minor and other models did well despite Morris’s efforts in sabotaging the Minor and Oxford MO, etc during their development. It would be the Minor that the newly formed BL would ultimately fall back on later on as a starting point for what became the Marina, something BMC should have done in the late-50s.

        While even Lord’s actions had their limits in not completely project allowing his bias to undermine the company at the time, despite opting for the V4/V6 blind alley instead of taking a more conservative approach in building the A-Series, B-Series and C-Series engines on modern production lines early on so they would be properly updated, lightened, etc to reach their natural production feasible capacity limits of 1380cc and 1998cc in the case of the first two engines.

        Fwiw the following Fiat 1200-based 1960 Pininfarina Ferrarina prototype does feature quite a number of styling cues that appeared on the BMC Farina-bodied trio, which could have worked well on a small Farina sportscar.

        • The Australian Morris Major & Austin Lancer used the Minor floorpan, I think it was considered for UK production at one point.

          • It was based on the Riley One Point Five/ Wolseley 1500, which were originally planned as Minor replacements. The Aussie versions had extended backends to give larger boots, while the later versions had more length added to the front too.

          • Was envisioning a more contemporary 60s take of the Pininfarina styling language then what was used in the early A40 Farina clothing an updated Minor platform, yet with a redesigned Morris Minor gearbox featuring a provision for a synchromesh on first gear (built to the same standards as the real-life Triumph 1300 gearbox used in the real-life Marina) as well as equipped with Ital-like telescopic front dampers and parabolic rear springs plus anti-roll bars (or some alternative superior suspension arrangement to increase component sharing with the MGB/MGC).

            It would also form the basis of a 2/4-door three-box saloon similar to a Pininfarina styled Fiat 1100D/1100R (or Fiat 1200 Granluce), which IMO acts as a possible template for what a Viva HA-rivalling Minor-derived A40 Farina could have become had the Minor platform received a similar level of attention as the Fiat 1100 and derivatives did (including the Fiat Pininfarina Cabriolet/Coupe which featured 1.2-1.5 engines and a 5-speed gearbox) before they were replaced.

            Also envision a larger 96-inch or so wheelbase model (a 60s pre-Marina as it were), yet am a bit perplexed as to whether the Minor platform could be stretched any further beyond 96-inches considering the pre-Farina Oxfords were said to sit on an upscaled Minor platform with wheelbases (at least on the Oxford III) ranging from 97-108-inches (the latter being about the same as the Isis III).

          • Nate, the Oxford III was related to the minor, with 97 inch wheelbase for the saloon and 108 for the estate. I definitely think it would have been a better option that the Austin for the mid ranger, while the Minor should have received a new body and been a rwd alternative to the Ad016.

        • Agreed Daveh. Include a provision for MacPherson struts (as was said to have been originally intended for the Marina) for the earlier Minor-derived Farina-bodied RWD family of cars and the life of the platform could have been further prolonged going into the 1970s if needed before being replaced by a new generation of FWD platforms.

          Even more so if ADO77 was to carry over more than just an enlarged modified Marina body structure for the envisaged 100-inch wheelbase, yet it is not clarified if its platform was an entirely clean sheet design or modified/upgraded Marina as that could provide an answer to whether the platform had anymore left to give should the latter be closer to the mark.

          Also wonder what the proposed width of ADO77 was in relation to both the existing Marina as well as the 67.9-inch width (and 169-inch length) planned for the SD2 derived Triumph-Morris TM1 project.

          The same goes for ADO77’s suspension in relation to the SD2/TM1’s refined suspension system using MacPherson struts and well-located live rear axle, despite hearing the ADO77 project was to revisit ideas from both the MG EX234 and MG ADO21 prototypes in being a semi-independent layout employing Hydrolastic displacers (yet would have thought Hydrolastic would have given way to Hydragas with the introduction of the Allegro form 1973).

  17. The 1941 Nash 600 was a true chassisless car.

    The 600 was intended to be a light, economical alternative to Ford and Chevrolet, engineered with help from the Budd Company. Nash also used the same core body to build the Ambassador (a longer, fancier, more powerful model) on a separate frame.

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