This year really started for me with the London Classic Car Show at the ExCeL in London. The show is a celebration of classic motoring and features many machines from the top marques of the 20th Century along with stands from restorers and classic car dealerships.
This week I shall be taking a look at the cars of the show. I will be doing a post about each of my favourite manufacturers to make covering this huge event easier. Today we will be looking at the cars of British Motor Corporation LTD.
British Motor Corporation was founded in 1952 as a joint venture between British manufacturers Austin, MG, Morris, Riley and Wolseley. They mass produced cars under that name until 1968 when they merged with Leyland Motors to become British Leyland.
These cars have a huggeeee following here in the UK. They are to Britain what GM are to the U.S. In the 50’s,60’s and 70’s the majority of people owned cars built by BMC or British Leyland as foreign manufacturers didn’t have such a strong hold in the UK market. Because of this everyone here owned, had parents that owned, or knew someone that owned a BMC/Leyland car. The public have huge affection for them and so there are plenty of surviving examples of these great cars scattered across these isles.
Some of the pre-BMC and even pre-war cars still exist to this day. The Austin 7 was akin to the Model T Ford in the States, an affordable, easy to work on car for the general public. There were two at the show. One on display and one as a part of a diorama for a company that builds timber framed garages.
Austin didn’t just make cars for the regular family man though! In 1952 Austin joined forces with the Donald Healey Motor Company to create the Austin-Healey. The top of the line car was the 3000 which featured a 3 litre straight six which powered the rear wheels. These were hugely successful in sports car races around the globe including LeMans, Bathurst and Sebring.
Austin-Healey weren’t the only arm of BMC building sports cars though. MG were the market leaders in affordable sports cars with the MGB and the Midget. Below is an MGB.
The pre-war MGs are the ones that I like though. The little T-Type is such a sweet little car, one can’t help but love it.
In complete contrast to the T-Type, MG also built the Metro 6R4; the mid engined, four wheel drive, fire breathing Group B monster that was based loosely off of the Austin Metro, a car your Nan would take to Sainsbury’s to pick up the shopping. It has featured on this blog before and will many times more I hope, I absolutely love them!
One can’t talk about successful British rally cars without talking about the Austin/Morris Mini though. This mad little car revolutionised the motor industry, sold in their thousands, captured the hearts and minds of the British public and were very successful racing cars in just about every discipline. They were built in one way or another for nearly 50 years!
This Morris Mini Moke beach buggy version was super cool! The colours are very 70’s.
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