In 1962 at the same time as the launch of the, rather conventional, MG B the British Motor Corporation (BMC) launched a revolutionary new car the Morris 1100 which was technically like a grown up version of the Mini first seen in 1959 featuring a transverse front mounted engine driving the front wheels through a transverse mounted gearbox. This allowed for the monocoque body to sit low to the ground compared to its conventional contemporaries which need a prop (propeller) shaft to run from the gearbox at the front to the rear axle.
Like the Mini the Morris 1100, which had carried the code ADO16 through it’s development, was designed by Alec Issigonis and would become one of Britain’s consistently best sellers through the 1960’s until the more conventional Ford’s began to make an impact thanks to overwhelming competition success on the race track which translated into sexy marketing campaigns. The body work for the ADO16 was styled by BMCs Italian styling house of choice Pininfarina and was available eventually in two and four door variations.
BMC also launched badge engineered 1100’s in Austin, Wolseley, Riley, van den Plas and 55 hp twin carburetor MG variants, in the UK market, before offering larger 1275 cc / 77.8 cui variations which in twin carburetor MG form produced 70 hp. In 1962 soon after the launch of the MG 1100 Alan Foster and Andrew Hedges drove a R.W.Jacobs entered MG 1100 to a 12th place overall and 1st in the 1300 cc class in the 1962 The Motor 6 Hours held at Brands Hatch beating a Ford Anglia in class that finished on the same lap.
Mk II versions of all the ADO16’s were introduced in 1968 with the rounded rear light clusters and ventilated steel wheels as seen on the 1968 MG 1300 MkII above which also has a walnut dash housing additional revolution counter, water temperature and oil pressure gauges. The leather bound 3 spoke steering wheel completed the sporty look.
The options list for all ADO 16’s included reclining seats and heated rear window. MG ADO16’s were replaced in 1971 by Austin and Morris GT variations using the same twin carburetor, MG, motors. In all 26,240 MG variants of the ADO16 were built between 1962 and 1971. One curious thing about the ADO16 when looking at it with the benefit of several decades of hindsight, they never made one with a hatchback only a small boot / trunk. I guess success in this instance bred what would become terminal complacency.
My thanks to Roger Lund, Rod Hunt, Michael Hickey, Ray Bell, Rob Kayemod, David ‘Red Bill Racing’ Coulthard and Frank de Jong at The Nostalgia Forum for their observations regarding the R.W.Jacobs MG 1100.
Thanks for joining me on this “Twin Carburetor ADO16” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a VW Microbus which I used back in my college days. Don’t forget to come back now !