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Why Has The Bmc 1100 Vanished?


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#1 mab01uk

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 06:04 PM

Another ADO16 - BMC1100/1300 article below from the new Classic World website which may be of interest......

Andrew Everett ponders the vanishing BMC 1100…

Attend any classic car show and you’re guaranteed to find half a dozen Morris Minors. You’ll often see one on the road at least once a week. A huge spares back up is there for remanufactured parts, and as far back as 1980 the late Charlie Ware was promoting the Minor (quite rightfully) as the classic car you can use everyday: cheap to buy, decent to drive, loads of spares and generally pretty easy to work on.

But BMC made an altogether better car with better handling, better ride, discs up front, independent suspension all round, front wheel drive and with astonishing interior room. From the same hand as the Minor came the BMC 1100, Britain’s best selling car and one that ought to have replaced the Minor in 1962 yet due to caution from the manufacturer, didn’t. The last Minor was built in 1971 and the last of the regular 1100/1300 cars followed just two years later.

The ADO16 was the car that had it all. Styled by Pinin Farina with more than a hint of the 101/750 Alfa Giulietta Coupe from behind, the 1100 captured the imagination from the word o. Whilst there was still some reticence due to the lingering reliability issues of the Mini, the 1100 was a far more sophisticated product and like the Mini was sold far too cheaply – the more expensive badge engineered versions put that to rights to some extent but the 1100 was never a car that generated big profits for BMC – just as well they sold 2.2 million of them then.

With two giant car factories pumping out 1100s and still not meeting demand, BMC ought to have discontinued the likes of the Austin A40 Farina and A35 van by 1964 when it was clear what a winner this was. The Minor could have followed shortly after, freeing up two production lines. That 2.2 million could easily have become three million and with some clever cost cutting (did the 1100 and Mini really need different gearbox and remote gearchange housings?) as well as cutting the model range from six to three or four. Did they really need a Riley Kestrel?

But that was BMC’s madness and the reason it was pretty much bankrupt by 1967. The 1100 was joined by the much better 1300 in late ’67 with more power and torque, a synchronised first gear, better brakes and seats. It sold strongly to the very end because although by 1970 folk knew that they could rust a bit, they were only keeping it for three years and it would last that long. It wasn’t like today where we expect a five to ten-year old car to be rust-free and mechanically good. Back then a five-year old car was halfway through its life and everyone knew it.

But the 1100 rusted more than anything else. Anglias and Vauxhalls showed severe rust in the wings, arches and the obvious bits, but 1100s rusted underneath. Where an Anglia chassis leg or spring hanger was an easy fix, 1100s were an absolute nightmare to weld up. If the rear subframe’s forward mounting points (under the rear seat) needed welding, you had to depressurise the Hydrolastic, undo the pipe unions (not that bad really), drop the rear subframe and spend hours rebuilding the box sections whereupon you’d find the rear of the sills were toast as well. Many 1100s were hoisted onto the back of a scrap truck without the rear subframe after the owner received a call from the welder. “It’s a bit worse than we thought…” By the time the last cars were being built in 1973 and 1974, scrap 1100s were absolutely everywhere. Early ones were being welded up for the MOT by the late Sixties and such was the poor reputation that many welders just didn’t want to know.

All was not lost though because the 1100/1300 was a superb engine donor for a Mini. My own mother’s 1962 Cooper 997 received an engine from an MOT-failed 1966 MG1100 in 1973 courtesy of a guy called Bill Mather, an American who lived in Somerton and was a mechanic for Vincents of Yeovil, the local BL dealer. A day of swearing, a swap of final drives and the job was done with a healthy 55 bhp and loads of torque – they did go well. Scenario two was from 1974 when a family friend drove their 1968 Morris 1100 for too long with a noisy idler gear, destroying the whole power unit.

No problem though as Cross Keys Motor Salvage in Lydford had plenty. “That beige Austin has just come in. It runs lovely. 15 quid and we’ll take it out now.” Armed with a borrowed Escort 7CWT van, the low-mileage 1965 engine was on its way home, chopped out in half an hour, oxy-acetylene torch through the exhaust and driveshafts and fitted that afternoon where it would end its days in the Morris in 1980.

Lastly was TOF135H, a glacier white 1300GT bought in 1984 for £60. The engine was due to be fitted to a go-faster Metro we were building from a bare shell and this GT was absolutely mint. Every panel was spotless, the interior like new and it went like a rocket. “This is just too good,” said Everett Snr, but when the rear subframe fell out as the car was jacked up, we knew it was party over.

Today of course, all three cars would have been saved. All three looked smart but hid a terrible secret of rust that was just too much of a nuisance to repair – and that was over 40 years ago.

I like 1100s a lot. Mini and Minor apart, they were about the first British cars to show British buyers how good a small inexpensive car could be and I always wondered who would have driven one and thought “no, I really want drum brakes, cart springs and ball and pray steering.” The answer was that BMC couldn’t satisfy demand – a position it was never to be in again until the first Metro.
http://classicsworld...-1100-vanished/

 



#2 Cooperman

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 11:24 AM

The ADO16 was a super design. As above, the rear sub-frame mountings simply 'dissolved' in rust which scrapped the  car as 'beyond economic repair'.

I car-shared to work in the late 1960's/early '70's and my sharing partner had a brand new Austin 1300. It was smooth, economical and comfortable, although not as quick as my then-new SAAB 96V4.

What it needed was better rust-proofing an a modern engine. A smaller version of the E-series engine as fitted to the Maxi would have been ideal, although not with the cable-controlled Maxi gearbox linkage  ;D .

The only thing I thought was that the steering was a bit low geared, but that was be easy to remedy.

Why did BMC not design a more modern engines for the ADO16? The A-series was already an old engine when the ADO16 was released.

It is a shame so few have survived, but there is an absolute 'mint' example for sale near me at west End Classics in Somersham, Cambs.



#3 hunterg30

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 07:21 PM

Don't forget the rotten trumpets under the front wings were a pain to deal with. I use to cut the panel out under the rear seat to repair the heal board subframe mounting points, no need to depressurise the hydro gas ,

#4 DeanP

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 07:42 AM

The Minor survives so well due to a small group of people setting up the Morris Minor Owners club, with the sole aim of "Promoting and preserving the use of the post war Morris Minor", while there were still quite a few sharing the daily commute to work. The Mini with it's parts back up should have the same longevity.

 

 

Back to the 1100, I guess like many cars of the modern era, it just comes across as another car that doesn't have any "emotion" attached to it. The Mini and the Minor have emotion and fondness in bucket loads, so do some Fords and to a lesser extent very few Vauxhalls. Just not the 1100.



#5 Cooperman

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 09:14 PM

Yes, it did lack iconic status.

The Cortina of the same era had the Lotus & GT versions which were stunning. These led to the Escort with the iconic TC and RS versions. The competition versions achieved fantastic results,as did the Mini Cooper & Cooper 'S'.

Vauxhall had the VX4/90 as a performance version followed by the Viva/Firenza/Magnum which were raced in flamboyant style by Gerry Marshall and rallied by top drivers.

The poor old AD016 was never seriously used in competition as there was never a version which could be competitive either overall or in its class. Up to 1300 cc the Mini would always be quicker.

It was always said by the marketeers that "you win on a Sunday and sell on a Monday"!

The newspaper ads after major events, races & rallies, always sold the Mini, Escort and Viva ranges.

The ADO16 was a super basic design for everyday family transport, but it did lack the 'sparkle' attributed to those other cars. Maybe with a better engine capable of high torque and 100 bhp+ in standard form it might have been different, but it had an unsuitable and outdated engine for its weight and dynamics. The A-Series S-spec engine was not flexible enough for a car of that weight. Remember, the Escort Twin-Cam had 105 bhp as standard, and 150+ in rally trim for a similar overall weight. The Lotus-Cortina also had 105 bhp for just over 900 kg in standard form.


Edited by Cooperman, 27 October 2017 - 09:16 PM.


#6 Firept

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 10:52 PM

AD016.

I had 3 of them in different forms Austin, Morris and a Vanden Plas.

Yes the trumpets were a pain to repair but it could get worse if the heater to fire  wall seams rotted out.

Who else but BMC/BL drains all the water from the heater air intake through 2 channels either end of the scuttle down 2 small pressed  channels sandwiched between 2 body panels that probably never saw paint of any kind in their life,  that of course blocked with the first fall of autumn leaves and no way to clear them out. Great when raining and you had the fan on high speed it would blow rain up the inside of the windscreen!.

When repairing one of mine I found a snapped off 3/8 drill bit jammed in the drain and by the looks of it it had been their from when it was built.

But all said and done I loved them all and you just dont see many on the road now.



#7 DeanP

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 10:34 AM

 

Who else but BMC/BL drains all the water from the heater air intake through 2 channels either end of the scuttle down 2 small pressed  channels sandwiched between 2 body panels that probably never saw paint of any kind in their life,  that of course blocked with the first fall of autumn leaves and no way to clear them out. Great when raining and you had the fan on high speed it would blow rain up the inside of the windscreen!.

 

Interesting post (thank you) and apologies for just quoting a small part of it. 

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the late fifties and 60's cars going through a major engineering change? But, hear me out first....

 

The Morris Minor of the 1949 onwards Issigonis variety was probably the inventor of the monocoque chassis? At this point though all cars were being built from steel that would be good enough for the forth bridge. My old 1953 moggy has had very little welding and will probably out live me (and I'm a mere 46 lol). Rain water though is allowed through panels, ie off the bonnet sides, and down through the inner wing into the front wheel arch, It also runs through the sills if the boot leaks, the thick steel though keeps the car fairly sound with regular checks for bad leaks or corrosion.

 

Didn't cars in the 60's decide that the monocoque could be used to lighten a car? Use thinner materials, but using the same ideas that water could be allowed to run between panels? Once it was found to be a rot box, I guess at this point in the evolution phase of body design, funds for major rectification wouldn't be available until the Allegro it's natural successor.



#8 Firept

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 11:41 PM

 

Didn't cars in the 60's decide that the monocoque could be used to lighten a car? Use thinner materials, but using the same ideas that water could be allowed to run between panels? Once it was found to be a rot box, I guess at this point in the evolution phase of body design, funds for major rectification wouldn't be available until the Allegro it's natural successor.

 

 

Yes quite right bit like the mini floor pan / firewall seem being the wrong way round took them some time to find that but in the end a reasonably simple change. It is not just limited to cars of the 50' and 60's I had a Rover SD1 1997 and the floor pans rotted out ...why due to the floor pan strengtheners being fitted on the wrong side as the 'leading' face had the vent holes punched in it not the trailing face, so all the road mud salt etc went straight into the channel with no way out ..rotted out floor pans if they had swapped n/s for o/s less of a problem simples! and still it goes on Jaguar XK8, Jaguar X type and many more. 

As for the ADO16 its just a shame there are not more around.



#9 lordyoung1980

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 04:16 PM

Funny enough,I saw a lovely Wolseley variant yesterday driving through Rutland.

#10 Itsaminithing

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Posted 07 November 2017 - 12:35 PM

I often see a very good example of a MG1300 & a pristine 1300GT.... that's every time i pop round to see a friend -one's on his drive & the others in his garage ;-) (also get to peruse the latest copy of 'idle Chatter' when i use his loo :shifty:).

Still miss my Wolseley 1300 auto, one of my favourite cars that i've owned.






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