Introduced in 1956, it replaced the highly successful Austin A30. The name reflected the larger and more powerful 34 hp (25 kW) A-Series straight-4 engine, enabling a slightly higher top speed and better acceleration.
The A35 was very similar in appearance to the A30, except for a larger rear window aperture and a painted front grille, with chrome horse-shoe surround, instead of the chrome grille featured on the A30. Both had 13 in (330 mm) wheels. The semaphore turn-signal indicators were replaced with present-day front- and rear-mounted flashing lights. A slightly easier to operate remote-control gear-change was provided. Much of the improved performance was a result of different gearbox ratios. The A30 had the first three ratios close together then a big gap to top (4th gear). The A35 ratios were better spaced and gave a max speed in third of 60 mph (97 km/h) against about 45 mph (72 km/h) for the A30.
Like the A30, the A35 was offered as a 2- or 4-door saloon or 2-door "Countryman" estate and also as a van. The latter model continued in production through to 1968. A rare pickup version was also produced in 1956, with just 475 sold. The A35 passenger cars were replaced by the new body shape A40 Farina models in 1959 but the estate car version continued until 1962 and van until 1968.
The A35 was quite successfully raced in its day and can still be seen today at historic race meetings.
A two door de luxe saloon with the 948 cc engine was tested by the British Motor magazine in 1956 and was found to have a top speed of 71.9 mph (115.7 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 30.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 41.5 miles per imperial gallon (6.81 L/100 km; 34.6 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £554 including taxes of £185.
Film and media appearances
A model representing a 1964 version of an A35 van carrying a 1953 tax disc with the registration (HOP 2 1T), and no front "sidelights", features in the 2005 Aardman movie, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Another one was seen in A Matter of Loaf and Death with the registration DOH NUT5. In 2009 as part of the show put on in the exhibition "Wallace & Gromit present a World of Cracking Ideas" at The Science Museum a real A35 van mocked up to look like the model used in the film.
Notable A35 owners
- 1976 F1 World Champion, James Hunt, drove an A35 van as his daily transport.
- Double F1 World Champion, Graham Hill, raced an A35 saloon in the early 1960s. The car was later sold to Frank Williams, a current F1 team owner, who also raced it in the UK.
- 1972 Swiss Driver Thierry Ludi drove an A35 van from Istanbul to Geneva and back without refueling.
- Saloons: 130,000
- Others: 151,000
- 1956–1962 - 948 cc A-Series I4, 34 hp (25 kW) at 4750 rpm and 50 ft·lbf (68 Nm) at 2000 rpm
- 1962–1968 - 1098 cc A-Series I4, 55 hp (41 kW) at 5500 rpm and 61 ft·lbf (83 Nm) at 2500 rpm (Van)