Monday, November 7, 2016

BMC 1100s: Bigger, Cleaner Minis

I suspect that even semi-casual observers of the automotive scene are aware that BMW's Mini line has been getting a bit less mini as the years pass.  This sort of thing is fairly common, as I noted here with regard to Honda's Civic.

This also happened to the original Minis in the form of a new, larger car based on the Mini's platform concept.  That concept was the work of Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis, CBE (1906-1988), biographical information here.

The original Mini (produced 1959-1967), was known internally at British Motor Corporation as ADO15 -- Amalgamated Drawing Office project number 15. The Wikipedia entry is here.  It was followed by ADO16, produced 1962-1974, and like the Mini was badge-engineered and sold by several BMC brands.  More information can be found here.

An early ADO16 was the Morris 1100, subject of this post.  These cars were larger, higher priced, and more "styled" than Minis.  The Mini design gives the appearance of being more an engineering exercise than a styling one: only the grille looks like it passed under a stylist's pencil.  The Wikipedia entry on the ADO16 mentions that the Pininfarina firm was involved in its styling.


The web site I grabbed this image from states that this is a 1962 Morris Mini Super.  Regardless, its appearance is typical Mini -- mostly a passenger compartment atop tiny wheels.

This seems to be a publicity photo of a Morris 1100 from 1962 or shortly later.  The 1100 is large enough to have four doors, though the hood and wheels remain proportionally small.

Side view.  The body panels are not as crude or basic as those on the Mini.  There's even a subtle character line crease along the side and stamped, raised wheelhouse surrounds, unlike the tacked-on chrome surrounds on the Mini.

Publicity photo of an Australian 1100 showing the more refined body shaping as viewed from the front.

A for sale photo of a 1966 1100 showing the rear.  Again, cleaner and more refined than the original Mini.  Reminds me of the MGB.

Due to its small size and proportions, the Morris 1100 is not a beautiful car, and most likely never could be.  What we see here are really two designs spliced together.  One is the above-the-beltline greenhouse that seems more appropriate for a large, more standard size vehicle.  The other is the lower body that is in synch with the size of the wheels, thereby creating a sensible composition for that half of the car.

1 comment:

emjayay said...

The rear of the 1100 reminds you of an MG because thrifty BMC used the same taillights.