Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
Another Alec Issigonis
success story, the Morris 1100 was the saloon version of the already hugely popular mini. For its time, it was also extremely sophisticated, bristling with technical features for car of its size.
Front disc brakes
were standard, as was the interconnected fluid suspension
"), and with a transverse mounted front wheel drive
and subframe construction the 1100 was not only spacious and comfortable, but was a great drivers car for the money.
Badge re-engineering was popular for British cars of the time, and the Morris 1100 was to find a home with other manufacturers such as Austin, Riley, Wolseley, MG and even Vanden Plas. For a family saloon car it set new standards of roominess too, for its size. Unfortunately there was an element of unreliability, along with a general lack of performance as other cars became faster and faster over the years.
BMC took steps to overcome this criticism by enlarging the engine to 1275cc. The other large deficiency of providing only a crash first gear was also rectified. BMC worked hard to give the car a better reputation and from owners we have spoken with, the 1300 is widely regarded as being "better sorted" than the 1100.
The Morris 1300
All the BMC 1300 range had the 1275cc engine with the same dimensions as the one that started in the 1275 Cooper. Unfortunately though it did not have all the special racing parts, and the maximum power was 58 bhp net instead of 76. Originally the 1300 was offered as an option in the more expensive variants such as the Riley Kestrel.
Road tests on the Riley showed the 1300 had a maximum speed of 88 mph and a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of 17 .3 sec, which was a lot better than the 78 mph and 22.2 sed. of the 1100, although we would love to have figures for the more collectable 1300GT.
Front disc brakes
were increased in diameter from 8 to 8.9 inches, which made them much more sensitive and also gave a greater capacity for heat absorption and dissipation. The new gearbox had effective synchromesh
on bottom, but the movements were stiff on with a slightly "rubbery" feel. The engine was very smooth and would run up to extraordinarily high revs in the gears. There was also a remarkable amount of low speed punch with flexibility right down to 10 mph in top.
As well as all these engineering changes, the 1300 was restyled in detail and, to our eyes anyway, looked a lot like the Innocenti version built in Italy. The new grille featured horizontal slatting grouped in three rows of three, the sawn-off tail fins and the ventilated wheels. Inside there was a new matt black facia panel but surprisingly no ashtrays anywhere in the front - in an era when their fitment seemed mandatory. The seats were comfortable and there was also an option of reclining backrests.
The Morris 1500 and Nomad
, and unique to Australia, the Morris 1500
OHC was released. At its heart was an all-new 1.5 litre OHC engine coupled to a cable operated gearbox taken straight from the UK Austin Maxi (which was also released in 1969
). Body wise, the 1500
had a distinctive new front grille and indicator lamps, but incorporated the cropped tail fins of the English Morris 1100 Mark II of 1968
. There was also a version called "Nomad" with a large hatchback door - just like on the Maxi. Due to the large number manufactured, the car is at the lower end of collectability, however models such as the GT and others released by makers such as Vandan Plas that have leather trim and the mandatory picnic tables are becoming much sought after and make a good investment.