Tag Archives: Corporation

The Gearless Green Car – Mini 9X ADO20

Today’s featured British Leyland Motor Corporation Mini 9X test car was built to trial the replacement overhead cam engine intended to replace the BMC ‘A’ series push rod that had been introduced in 1951 along with the Austin A30, and a new gearless transmission.

The single overhead cam eight valve four cylinder engine has a capacity of 1500 cc / 91.5 cui with a rubber belt driving the cam, when tested it produced 50hp at 4000 rpm.

BLMC Mini 9X ADO20, Atwell Wilson Motor Museum

Despite achieving only 20 hours running time over 4 and half weeks on a test bed in 1975 due to leaks and other faults this car was regularly driven up until 1987 with only a cam belt failure on the M5 in 1982 during high speed testing.

The transmission consists of a torque converter and a mechanical final drive sourced from an Austin Allegro, the only gear options being forwards or reverse.

BLMC Mini 9X ADO20, Atwell Wilson Motor Museum

Other novel features on the 9X test cars were a redesigned nose, vertical strut suspension, this car was also fitted with competition aluminium doors, with sliding windows and original ADO15 type exterior hinges and boot lid, the unique bonnet and wings were also in weight saving aluminium, the original doors and boot lid corroded and have been replaced by steel items.

Four ADO20 Minis were converted to house the 9X transmission three of which also had the 9X single overhead cam engine also fitted, today’s example seen at the Atwell Wilson Motor Museum, Calne, was the second to be converted and the first to be fitted with the 9X engine, known at the factory as The Green Car, originally painted Connaught Green, resprayed in 1985 to the current Tundra Green, it was purchased in 1975 by the father of the Mini Sir Alec Issigonis who used it as his preferred transport for many years until he sold it back to Austin Rover as BLMC had become.

One prototype to an all new 9X design featuring the overhead cam engine, gearless transmission, front strut suspension and hatchback tailgate was built before the project was cancelled leaving the Mini in production until 2000 having out lived it’s eventual successor the Austin miniMetro that was in production from 1980 to 1997.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Gearless Green Car” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Mercedes Monday, don’t forget to come back now !


Palmers Parts Bin – Wolseley 4/44

After designing the MG Y Type the 1939 – 1945 hostilities saw Gerald Palmer engaged in war work that included designing medical equipment for the front line the development of a two stroke motor and the production of de Havilland Tiger Moth flying training aircraft.

Wolseley 4/44, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet,

After the war Palmer was employed by Jowett to design what became the Jowett Javelin and in 1949 Palmer rejoined the Nuffield Organisation to design the Wolseley 4/44, MG ZA, the replacement for the MG Y type, and the Riley Pathfinder all three of which shared unique combinations of parts from the Nuffield Organisations parts bins.

Wolseley 4/44, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet,

Of the three new models launched in 1953, now under the merged with Austin British Motor Corporation (BMC) banner the Wolseley 4/44 was the least powerful being fitted with a detuned 46 hp single carburettor 4 cylinder XPAG motor first seen seen on the MG TB Type Midget dating back to 1939 and on the TC, TD, and least powerful of the TF models.

Wolseley 4/44, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet,

Fitted with modern rack and pinion steering, snuggle friendly 4 speed column change gearboxes the up market pretensions of the car were reaffirmed by leather seats and walnut veneer trim.

Wolseley 4/44, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet,

With the absence of a motorway network the 4/44’s top speed of 73 mph was matched by a rest to 60 mph time of 29.9 seconds which might be described as adequate.

Wolseley 4/44, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet,

Note that indicators were by door post mounted semaphore with only left hand drive models having indicators built into the rear light clusters.

29,845 Wolseley 4/44’s were built between 1953 and 1956 when the model was replaced by the similar 15/50.

Thanks for joining me on this “Palmers Parts Bin” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Straight and True – Austin A40 Countryman

For the first official post at the new home of GALPOT I thought it might be appropriate to go back to the birth place of my passion for the automobile and for driving by having a look at an Pinin Farina styled Austin A40 Countryman.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

I was 5 years old when my Folks purchased their first car I remember going to the offices of the British Motor Corporation in Nicosia, Cyprus and looking through seemingly countless brochures full of illustrations of two tone motor cars when we went to order it. The car Dad ordered was grey with a white roof his thinking being that the colours would reflect the fierce Mediterranean sunlight and help keep the interior of the car just a little cooler. The car came with red vinyl seats and red carpets.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

I’ll never forget my excitement when Dad pulled into our grapevine dappled drive for the first time with our shiny new car registered CE 270, we spent what seemed like hours pouring over the details I mistook the shiny chrome heater control panel for a radio and learned where to find the spark plugs, distributor, the spare wheel and jacking tools. Seems incredible to think now that our Austin hatchback was not supplied with any seat belts, though it was not long after we got it that Dad had some fitted to the front seats.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

Over the ensuing two years we explored the ancient history of Cyprus from north to south and east to west, but best of all most Sundays of the summer we loaded up a picnic, home made awning, swimming goggles, flippers, buckets and spades and then headed to Mckenzie Beach, just outside Larnaca, where all our neighbours and my school friends would be. That beach is particularly important to me because one Sunday Dad invited me to sit on his lap in the drivers seat and steer the car. My first lesson being that you could drive it straight and true without any input to the steering wheel at all.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

Without any navigation skills most of the time I spent in the car was naturally on the back seat, in fact I probably spent as much time sitting astride the transmission tunnel where, although exterior view was limited, I used to pretend I was riding a motor bike ! In 1966 when Dad got posted back to the UK our little grey A40 Countryman was loaded onto a ship and we headed for Istanbul and then Athens where the car was unloaded. From Athens we started our first road trip driving over 2,500 miles through Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungry, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and a bit of France on our way to London.

Austin A40 Countryman, Goodwood Revival

The last time I saw our A40 Countryman, called Daisy, now with the UK registration DHM 44D was 3 years after we sold it, the hours of fun we had on the beach were telling in the large areas of bubbled paintwork under which rust seeded by the Mediterranean sea had obviously terminally taken hold of the bodywork on our now eight year old A40 Countryman.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Straight And True’ edition of ‘Getting’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


On the Origins of Brands – Riley & Wolseley

Today I am looking at two storied brands Riley & Wolseley born out of industrial diversification which were woven into that DNA of the nationalised merger British Motor Corporation in 1952.

From 1961 – 1969 they marketed top end 3 box versions, featuring wood veneer dashboards, of the Mini known as the Elf and Hornet respectively.

In 1896 William Riley jr purchased the Bonnick Cycle Company of Coventry which was born out of the cycling craze that swept England in 1890 and renamed it Riley Cycle Company.

Williams son Percy secretly built his first car, featuring an engine with the the worlds first mechanically operated inlet valve, in 1898 aged just 16.

Percy who also patented the detachable wheel went into business with his brothers forming the Riley Engine Company in 1903 supplying motorcycle engines and in 1905 they built their first car.

During restructuring in 1918 Riley car manufacture was transferred to Riley Motor Manufacturing which went into receivership in 1938 and was absorbed into the Nuffield Organisation along with Morris and MG, which in 1952 would merge with Herbert Austin’s companies into the nationalised BMC.

By 1947 Riley had ceased manufacturing it’s own designs and became a top end brand for shared designs in the Nuffield and later BMC organisations.

The Riley brand is easily identified by its blue diamond badge originally designed by Harry Rush with the strap line ‘As old as the industry, as modern as the hour’, was discontinued in 1969 and currently belongs to BMW.

Between 1961 and 1969 30,912 Riley Elfs were built.

In 1896 Herbert Austin working for the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company made a copy of a Leon Bollee vehicle that he had seen in Paris. By 1899 he had built a Voiturette that went into production in 1901 with Herbert Austin in charge of the Wolseley car division that had by now been spun off as an independent concern.

In 1905 Herbert Austin left to set up his own Austin Motor Company.

After several mergers and changes of ownership the Wolseley Motor Company came into existence in 1914 in the hands of Armstrong Siddeley. At this time operations were started in Toronto and Montreal which became British and American Motors after WW1.

In 1918 Wolseley started a joint venture with Ishikawajiama Ship Building and Engineering for the production of Wolseley models under license, in 1947 this venture became Isuzu.

In 1927 William Morris (Lord Nuffield) purchased Wolseley outbidding his rival Herbert Austin and General Motors using his own money.

Woseley became another top end brand for shared designs after WW2 and would become part of the merged BMC a combination of the assets of William Morris and Herbert Austin who between them had been responsible for the rise of much of the British motor industry.

The brand disappeared in 1975 the last model being a wedge shape forerunner of the Austin Princess which was in production for just 7 months.

Today the brand is owned by Nanjing Automobile Group along with the assets of the MG Rover Group. The Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company is today known as Wolseley plc.

28,455 Wolseley Hornets pictured above were built between 1961 and 1969.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s post, don’t forget to come back now !