History of the Austin Motor Car Company England the Later Years

Austin 3 Litre

The post war confidence of the nation and the growing influence of the U.S.A. was reflected in the new generation of Austin cars. Nothing typifies this better than the A40, A70 and the A90, culminating in Nash Metropolitan of 1953. The British Motor Corporation was created by the merger of Austin and Morris( Nuffield) Motors, the merger had been mooted on a number of occasions before coming into being in July 1952. The association with Pinin Farina led to the A40 Farina. This car , basically, a re-bodied A35, was a massive leap forward in styling. Pinin Farina also restyled the A55 which in turn led to the restyled Morris Oxford, Wolseley 15/60, MG Magnette and Riley 4/68.

The Mini and the Alec Issigonis Era Launched in 1959, Sir Alec Issigonis's Austin7 and Morris Mini Minor, both to become known as the "Mini", became a design icon. MiniFeaturing: A transversely mounted integrated engine and gear box. A wheel in each corner giving excellent handling. Rubber suspension produced by Moulton Developments Ltd.. A new drive shaft, with a constant velocity joint, was developed by Hardy Spicer to make the transmission of power to the road smoother. 

Upmarket versions were badged as the Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet. Other versions of the Mini include the Cooper, the Moke, the van, the Countryman, the pickup etc. Over 5.5 million Minis were produced at a variety of factories including Longbridge and Cowley. Others Issigonis was also responsible for the Austin 1100/1300. The Morris version came to the market in August 1962, and the Austin was launched in September 1963. Over 2 million of these cars were produced between the launch and 1975 when production ceased. The 1800 was launched in August 1964, stayed in production for approximately 10 years. The public never warmed to this car with total sales a little over 0.3 million. 

1968 BMC was taken over by Leyland to become The British Leyland Motor Company, or BLMC. The Austin Maxi, Princess, Ambassador, Maestro and Montego were built at Cowley. A very small number of Morris Itals were built at Longbridge in the period 1984-1984. Many people saw the Marina/Ital as a backward step, unkindly referring to it as a rebodied Morris Minor. This was not true, the car could be favourably compared to its contemporary, the Hillman Avenger. The Austin Allegro, with its quartic steering wheel, was launched in 1971. It suffered many teething problems, amongst them the fact that the boot lid was too small for the boot aperture, windscreens would pop out because tolerances couldn't be maintained. Despite this over 660,000 cars were produced before it ceased production in 1982. 

The Austin Mini Metro Launched in 1980 and the Metro brought the restoration of the Austin name to a BL car. To quote Harold Musgrove, Chairman of BL's Light/Medium Cars Group"....we were confident that there was scope to re-establish the Austin name....Metro represents everything that is world renowned about Austin engineering: unparalleled use of interior space, coupled with astonishing economy and refinement...". In 1986 Austin Rover became known as the Rover Group and the car lost its Austin badge in 1987. The Rover Metro became the Rover 100, which it remained until it ceased production in 1997. 

Click here for the Austin Motor Company History During the Early Years.

Click Here for the Austin Motor Company History the WarYears.

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