After producing biplanes and launching a sucessful aviation company, the Farman brothers entered the car business as a manufacturer in 1919. They also operated one of the largest garages in Paris and contested many city to city races which helped when they had to market their own designs.
The first Farman was called the A6 and focused on luxury as well as the high standards set for aircraft manufacturing. This meant the finish was kept to very high grade and included high quality materials such as aluminum.
The A6 was initially previewed at the 1919 Paris Auto Salon. It was powered by a complex 6-liter six-cylinder engine that used separate steel cylinders surrounded by a steel water jacket and an overhead camshaft. Later, Alpax alloy cylinder blocks were offered on the Super Sport model.
Deciding “to make an automobile absolutely perfect in every detail” the Farman was expensive and used much aluminum. Construction of the chassis details were limited to steel stampings and forged alloy instead of crude iron castings. It was sold as a direct rival to Hispano-Suiza and gained an edge with its 4-speed transmission.
Flaunted on the Champs Elysées, the Farman A6 attracted clientele such as film star Pearl White, the Shah of Persia, the Sultan of Morocco and World War One air pilot Charles Nungesser. Many of these owners purchased bodywork from the established coachbuilders of Paris, so no two Farmans looked alike. However, they all shared the same radiator and its mascot, a tribute to of Alberto Santos-Dumont who flew self-made aircraft.
By 1921, Farman upgraded the A6 into the A6B which had improvements such as power-assited brakes on all four wheels. This was upgraded again to meet the demands of large bodies and the more powerful 7.1-litre NF model was launched in 1927.