Austin & Morris & More

07 March 2016

Morris & Austin cars dominated the mass-manufactured car market in the UK from the 1920s through to the 1960s, were BRIEFLY absorbed into BMC and then British Leyland before petering out altogether during the 1980s after the “MMM” range of Metro, Maestro and Montego.

This vast scope was in evidence at the recent Austin & Morris Day, the annual event that celebrates these two iconic marques. The Paddock was earmarked for early and pre-War vehicles and among the highlights were a 1929 Austin Seven Swallow Saloon and a rare Morris 15/6 Special Coupé Tourer from 1934 which, according to the Morris Register, is one of only five that have survived.

As last year, the remit was widened to include associated models including MG, Leyland, Minis and other derivatives. Badge engineering was always a trait of both BMC and Leyland and there were plenty on show, particularly where they were parked next to each other as some fine examples of Austin, Morris and Wolseley 1800s showed. There was a whole row of A60 derivatives including an MG Magnette, Cambridges and Oxfords of the Farina variety and a rare Vanden Plas 4 litre in beautiful condition. Another rarity in the row was a convertible Wolseley 13/50 in brown and beige, not something you see every day. Elsewhere there were some other rare convertibles including a Morris Marina and the same pair of Allegros that we admired at the New Year’s Day Classic meeting.

The many Morris Minors on display included a Minor Million named “Milly” in its original purple/pink shade near a Minor Police Car and there were several trade vans around including one on the Brooklands Trust Members’ stand advertising the Floral Fringe Fair, a show that the BTM will be attending later in the year. Other commercials included a “Royal Male”(sic) post office van hiding a V8 engine under the bonnet and a 1947 Austin K2 truck in original condition, complete with roped cargo on the back.

Elsewhere, a selection of Minis and various MGs were dotted around the Museum site, a short row of MG T types beside the Clubhouse, a sparse collection of Marinas and Allegros and a massive Wolseley 25 Limousine near the Shell Pagoda which could permanently house a family of six. After lunch a selection of those attending took part in some parade laps at Mercedes-Benz World and finished with a mass photo opportunity up on the Banking, before the day finished with some spirited runs up Test Hill.