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The Innocenti A40 Mk1.Mk1 A40s had quite a few mentions on this site already, before this page came along - I've owned a Mk1 A40 for many years, and there is a buyer's guide too for these neat little cars. The Italian-built A40, by Innocenti, also gets a mention in the toy cars section, thanks to this plastic Innocenti A40.
But, back to this photograph, taken in Italy sometime during the 1960s. To the left is an Innocenti A40 Mk1 Berlina (saloon), distinguishable from the BMC built cars by the small badge on the leading edge of the bonnet, and the side indicator repeater fitted to the front wing. British cars would also have a proud Austin badge fitted to the grille. Also visible in this photo are a Fiat 1100, VW Beetle, drophead Alfa Romeo, and another Brit in the shape of a 105E Anglia.
Early A40 production at the Innocenti factory would involve assembling kits of parts shipped from England, but this would reduce as panels began to be pressed in Italy, lessening the shipping costs considerably. Both saloons (Berlina) and Countryman estate cars (Combinata) were built by Innocenti for the Italian motorists. In 1962 they began building the Series 2, their version of the contemporary Mk2 A40 that BMC also introduced. Late in 1962 the 1098 engine was adopted, and the car now sold as the A40S in contemporary Innocenti catalogues.
It was during the build of the A40S/Series 2 that Innocenti showed BMC the way design-wise, and did something that the British manufacturer should have done all along - ditch the split rear tailgate of the Countryman, and replace it with a top-hinged one-piece tailgate, vastly improving access to the A40's roomy interior (the back seat in all A40s could be folded to increase carrying capacity, and the one-piece rear hatch made the car much more versatile). The new hatchback proved to be very successful, continuing in production until 1967, 2 years longer than the A40 Berlina saloon.
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