Austin have produced a slew of successful vehicles, ranging from the revolutionary Seven, to the stylish A30. Another significant motor was the Austin A35. With a combination of comfort and performance, the A35 proved to be an excellent mode of transport. As the direct successor to the popular A30 it had a lot to live up to. The most enduring model was the A35 van. We’re looking into how it was designed.
The first A35 was introduced in 1956, with the name coming from the powerful 34 hp A-series inline-four engine. It had a similar appearance to the A30, though it sported a larger rear window aperture and painted front grille. It also had modern front and rear-mounted lights. Everything was designed to be an improvement on the A30, with the A35 possessing better acceleration.
The car was produced as a two and four-door saloon. Later, a ‘Countryman’ estate version was produced, but it was the van that became the true highlight. By 1959, the regular A35 saloons had been phased out for the new A40 Farina. The van continued to be in production until 1968.
The A35 van continued to survive because of its durability, versatility and engineering. It offered the same payload as the Morris Minor van and was easier to service than a light commercial Mini. The van also provided a thrilling driving experience, showing off its work horse capabilities.
The A35 van has appeared in several films, including A Matter of Loaf and Death and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. It was also featured in The Deadly Bees. In 2009, an A35 appeared in the ‘Wallace & Gromit present a World of Cracking Ideas’ exhibition at the Science Museum in London.
The A35 has also been featured on the BBC, as Anne Widdecombe went on the One Show to describe her childhood holidays in the vehicle.
The A35 van is an example of a resilient British vehicle that won people over because of its design.