The Austin 1800

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Following our road-test impressions in November issue, the Editor has been able to cover an appreciable extra mileage in this new B.M.C. car. It has proved completely reliable, although the carpeting has become detached above the front passenger’s feet. The fuel consumption has averaged 26-1/2 m.p.g. and at the last oil check a quart of Castrolite had been consumed in 720 miles.

The low geared steering has not become acceptable on longer acquaintance, there is far too much engine noise from 60 m.p.h. onwards, a good deal of gear noise, and a mangle-like clatter from the gear train when idling with the clutch engaged. First gear has proved difficult for a girl to engage and some passengers have complained that the level but choppy ride brings on car sickness. There is a tendency for the interior to mist-up on cold days and heater volume varies with car speed. Otherwise, varied driving of this typically Issigonis-inspired car has proved thoroughly satisfactory and its high safety factor on slippery roads, good visibility, extreme spaciousness and powerful brakes more than offset minor irritations of a new design. Particularly praiseworthy is the leg-room, especially in the back seat. The gear lever position is excellent, excusing the notchy change; incidentally, the lever is not spring-loaded in either direction. Given similar development to the Mini, the Austin 1800 will emerge as one of Britain’s truly great family cars.—W. B.

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