BMC/British Sports Car Owners Group

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BMC/British Sports Car Owners Group

The British Motor Corporation (BMC) was formed by the merger of the Austin Motor Company and Nuffield (Morris, MG, Riley and Wolseley) in 1952.

Members: 38
Latest Activity: Feb 16, 2013

British Motor Company (BMC) Overview & History


The British Motor Corporation (BMC) was a UK vehicle company, formed by the merger of the Austin Motor Company and the Nuffield Organisation (parent of the Morris car company, MG, Riley and Wolseley) in 1952.


Organisation
BMC was the largest British car company of its day, with (in 1952) 39 percent of British output, producing a wide range of cars under brand names including Austin, Morris, MG, Austin-Healey, Wolseley as well as commercial vehicles and agricultural tractors. The first chairman was Lord Nuffield (William Morris) but he was replaced in August 1952 by Austin's Leonard Lord who continued in that role until his 65th birthday in 1961 but handing over, in theory at least, the managing director responsibilities to his deputy George Harriman in 1956.



BMC's headquarters were at the Austin plant at Longbridge, near Birmingham and Austin was the dominant partner in the group mainly because of the chairman. The use of Morris engine designs was dropped within 3 years and all new car designs were coded ADO from "Austin Drawing Office". The Longbridge plant was up to date, having been thoroughly modernised in 1951, and compared very favourably with Nuffield's 16 different and often old fashioned factories scattered over the English Midlands. Austin's management systems however, especially cost control and marketing were not as good as Nuffield's and as the market changed from a shortage of cars to competition this was to tell. The biggest selling car, the Mini, was famously analysed by Ford Motor Company who concluded that BMC were losing £30 on every one sold. The result was that although volumes held up well throughout the BMC era, market share fell as did profitability and hence investment in new models, resulting eventually in the merger with Leyland Motor Corporation.


At the time of the mergers, there was a well established dealership network for each of the marques. Among the car-buying British public there was a tendency of loyalty to a particular marque and marques appealed to different market segments. This meant that marques competed against each other in some areas, though some marques had a larger range than others. The Riley and Wolseley models were selling in very small numbers. Styling was also getting distinctly old fashioned and this caused Leonard Lord, in an unusual move for him, to call upon the services of an external stylist.


BMC Farina
In 1958, BMC hired Battista Farina to redesign its entire car line. This resulted in the creation of three "Farina" saloons, each of which was badge-engineered to fit the various BMC car lines:


The compact Farina model bowed in 1958 with the Austin A40 Farina. This is considered by many to be the first mass produced hatchback car: a small estate version was produced with a horizontally split tailgate, its size and configuration would today be considered that of a small hatchback. A Mark II A40 Farina appeared in 1961 and was produced through 1967. These small cars used the A-Series engine.


The mid-sized Farinas were launched in 1958 with the Wolseley 15/60. Other members of the group included the Riley 4/68, Austin A55 Cambridge Mk. II, MG Magnette Mk. III, and Morris Oxford V. Later, the design was licensed in Argentina and produced as the Di Tella 1500/Traveller/Argenta. The mid-size cars used the B-Series straight-4 engine.

Most of these cars lasted until 1961, though the Di Tellas remained until 1965. They were replaced with a new Farina body style and most were renamed. These were the Austin A60 Cambridge, MG Magnette Mk. IV, Morris Oxford VI, Riley 4/72, and Wolseley 16/60. These mostly remained in production until 1968, with no rear wheel drive replacement produced.

Farina also designed a large car. Launched in 1959 as the Austin A99 Westminster, Vanden Plas Princess 3-Litre, and Wolseley 6/99, it used the large C-Series straight-6 engine. The large Farinas were updated in 1961 as the Austin A110 Westminster, Vanden Plas Princess 3-Litre Mk. II, and Wolseley 6/110. These remained in production until 1968.


BMC Cars
"Inherited" Models
Austin
Austin A125 Sheerline 1947-1954
Austin A135 Princess 1947-1956
Austin A40 Sports 1950-1953
Austin A70 Hereford 1950-1954
Austin A30 1951-1956
Austin A40 Devon 1947-1952
MG
MG TD 1949-1953
MG Y-type 1947-1953
Morris
Morris Minor 1948-1971
Morris Oxford (Series MO)1948-1954
Morris Six MS 1948-1953
Riley
Riley RM series 1945-1955
Wolseley
Wolseley 4/50 1948-1953
Wolseley 6/80 1948-1954
Wolseley Oxford Taxi 1947-1955


BMC Designs
Austin
Austin A40 Somerset 1952-1954
Austin A40 Cambridge 1954-1958
Austin A90 Westminster 1954-1968
Austin Metropolitan 1954-1961
Austin A35 1956-1959
Austin Lancer (Australia) 1958-1962
Austin Princess IV 1956-1959
Austin A40 Farina 1958-1967
Austin A55 Cambridge 1959-1969
Austin Mini 1959-1989
Austin 1100/1300 1963-1974
Austin 1800 1964-1975
Austin 3-Litre 1967-1971
Austin-Healey
Austin-Healey 100 1953-1959
Austin-Healey 3000 1959-1968
Austin-Healey Sprite 1958-1971
MG
MG A 1955-1962
MG Magnette ZA/ZB 1953-1959
MG Magnette Mk III/Mk IV 1959-1968
MG Midget 1961-1974
MGB 1962-1980
MG 1100/1300 1962-1973
MGC 1967-1969
Morris
Morris Oxford 1954-1971
Morris Cowley 1954-1959
Morris Isis 1955-1958
Morris Major 1958-1964 (Australia Only)
Morris Mini-Minor 1959-2000
Morris 1100/1300 1963-1974
Morris 1800 1964-1975
Riley
Riley Pathfinder 1953-1957
Riley 2.6 1958-1959
Riley 1.5 1957-1965
Riley 4/68 1959-1961
Riley 4/72 1961-1969
Riley Elf 1961-1969
Riley Kestrel 1965-1969
Vanden Plas
Vanden Plas 3 litre 1959-1964
Vanden Plas 1100/1300 1963-1974
Vanden Plas Princess 4 litre R 1964-1968
Wolseley
Wolseley 4/44 1952-1956
Wolseley 6/90 1954-1959
Wolseley 15/50 1956-1958
Wolseley 1500 1957-1965
Wolseley 15/60 1958-1961
Wolseley 16/60 1961-1971
Wolseley 6/99 1959-1961
Wolseley 6/110 1961-1968
Wolseley Hornet 1961-1969
Wolsleley 1100/1300 1965-1973
Wolseley 18/85 1967-1972


BMC Project Numbers
A 1953 Morris Minor
A 1966 MGBMost BMC projects followed the earlier Austin practice of describing vehicles with an 'ADO' number (which stands for 'Austin Design Office'). Hence cars that had more than one marque name (eg Austin Se7en and Morris Mini Minor) would have the same ADO number. Given the often complex badge-engineering that BMC undertook, it is common amongst enthusiasts to use the ADO number when referring to vehicles as a single design (for example, saying 'The ADO15 entered production in 1959'- this encompasses the fact that when launched, the ADO15 was marketed as both the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven). The ADO numbers used were as follows:


ADO6 Austin FX4 Taxi
ADO8 Austin A40 Farina
ADO9 Austin A55 Cambridge
ADO10 Austin A90 Westminster
ADO13 Austin-Healey Sprite
ADO14 Austin Maxi
ADO15 Mini
ADO16 1100/1300
ADO17 1800/2200
ADO20 Mini MkIII and Clubman
ADO23 MGB
ADO26 Austin_Healey 3000 MkIII
ADO27 Austin Kimberley
ADO28 Morris Marina
ADO31 MGA 1600
ADO34 Pininfarina design for 2 seat roadster based on Mini.
ADO37 Vanden Plas Princess 3 litre
ADO40 Wolseley 24/80
ADO41 Austin-Healey Sprite MkII
ADO47 MG Midget MkI
ADO50 Mini Cooper and Cooper S
ADO52 MGC
ADO53 Austin A110 Westminster
ADO59 Morris Minor 1000
ADO61 Austin 3-Litre
ADO66 Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre R
ADO67 Austin Allegro


BMC Commercial Vehicles
Most BMC era commercial vehicles were sold as Morris but there were sometimes Austin equivalents. Radiator badges on the larger vehicles were often BMC.


Car based light vans
A Morris Cowley MCV VanMorris Z-series ¼-ton (Morris Eight Series E) 1940-1953
Morris ¼-ton O-Type (Morris Minor van) 1953-1971
Morris Cowley MCV (Morris Oxford van) 1950-1956
Austin A30 van 1954-1956
Austin A35 van 1956-1968
Austin A35 pick-up 1956-1957
Morris ½-ton (Morris Oxford Series III van) 1956-1962
Austin A55/A60 van 1958-1972
Austin A55/A60 pick-up (Australian built) 1958-1972
Mini van 1960-1982
Mini pick-up 1961-1982
Austin A40 Farina van (export only) 1961-1967


Light Vans
A 1957 Morris JB VanAustin K8 1948-1954
Morris J-type 1949-1960
Morris LD 1952-1968
Morris J2 1956-1967
Austin/Morris J4 1960-1974


Light Trucks
Morris LC4 1952-1954
Morris LC5 1954-1960
Morris FV-series (Series I) 1948-1954
Morris FV-series (Series II) 1954-1955
Morris FE-series (Series III) 1955-1959
Morris FG 1960-1968
Morris FM 1961-1968
Morris WE 1955-1964
Morris WF 1964-1981
Morris FF 1958-1961
Morris FH 1961-1964
Morris FJ 1964-1968


BMC agricultural vehicles
With the merge of the Nuffield and Austin interests, the Nuffield Organisation's tractors became part of BMC.
Nuffield Universal
BMC Mini

BMC abroad
In the 1950s and the 1960s, BMC set-up twenty-one plants overseas, some as subsidiaries, and some as joint ventures, to assemble their vehicles.One was British Motor Corporation (Australia) who were established at the Nuffield Aust site on the one time Victoria Park horse racetrack in Sydney. This facility went from a marshalling area for fully imported Morris cars (Austins were up until then being assembled in Melbourne, Victoria from an earlier Austin Motors establishment), to a facility for making CKD cars, to the total local fabrication and construction of vehicles, engines, and mechanicals.

Denmark was a particularly strong market for BMC products in Europe. In the post-war period, the Danish government closely regulated exports and imports to maintain the country's balance of trade. High-value imports such as cars were heavily taxed. Britain bought large amounts of agricultural and meat produce from Denmark, and in response British cars were subject to a much lower import tax than cars from other countries, making BMC products very popular in the country until the 1970s, when these regulations were relaxed.

The end of BMC
In 1966 BMC and Pressed Steel merged with Jaguar Cars to form British Motor Holdings (BMH). In 1968 there was a further wave of mergers in the British car industry, and BMH merged with the Leyland Motor Corporation (LMC) to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC), the original BMC mass-production, and MG sports car products being brought together into the Austin Morris division of the new organisation. In 1975 BLMC was nationalised and became British Leyland Limited.

In 2002, BMC (Turkey), a Turkish commercial vehicle builder, originally set up by the British Motor Corporation to build their designs under license in the 1950s, began exporting its vehicles to Britain, This saw the return of the BMC brand to British roads for the first time in over 40 years.

External links
Austin Memories

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You need to be a member of BMC/British Sports Car Owners Group to add comments!

Comment by Paul A. Zink on May 21, 2012 at 12:11pm

Hi guys! Masochistic owner of an early '73 MGB/GT here; just joined the group. My MG, "Charlotte", even has her own blog, "Charlotte's Web", at: mgbgt.posterous.com 

Comment by Scott Brown on September 10, 2008 at 9:55am
Have you talked to Hap Walthrop? Acme Speed?
Comment by Garey Guzman on June 3, 2008 at 1:51pm
Anyone have a 1275 ready to install? My 948 blew the #1 piston and this Bugeye would be fun to get back on the street. I'm in middle TN.
 

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