Editorial comment, June 1966

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Sir,
I have been following with interest the correspondence on “Traction Avant”, and I see your comment on the letter from Mrs. Halliday. In February, 1963, my mother exchanged her 1957 Minor 1000 for a Morris 1100, The 1000 had given almost faultless service for nearly 30,000 miles and still had original tyres, brake linings, etc., and was in good condition in spite of living in the open country (Dorset) for its lifetime.

The new 1100 was carefully run-in according to the manufacturer’s instruction„ and covered 5,000 miles in just under 12 months. then one evening whilst I was driving, there was a knocking sound from the rear, and increased noise on lock from the front. The rear subframe had become detached at the rear, and the front drive shafts both needed replacing. This was carried out under guarantee (just!). Other troubles included fuel pump and indicator switch, as far as I remember, and two exhaust systems (fracture of front pipe at manifold). Until then my mother had done nearly all the driving, and in a very careful manner, and servicing was always done by main agents.

Soon after the new drive shafts were fitted, the car received more use, including by myself, and in six months covered 6,000 Miles, needed at least one more new drive shaft (not guaranteed because they had been replaced once), and new gaiters. The tyres (Dunlop C41) also needed replacing at 12,000 miles (Avons were fitted), but just before this a C41 that had been put from the spare to the n/s. front suddenly “lifted” its plies and bloomed out. We were given a 50% allowance, with the usual disclaimer of no responsibility accepted.

I then bought a car of my own, a 1953 M.G. TD. The Morris 1100 reverted to my mother, and has now reached a grand total of 20,000 miles, and the drive shafts are again very noisy from about half-lock onwards.

I too would like an explanation from B.M.C. as to why this car should “consume” drive shafts. My parents just accept it as a fault of design, and are looking elsewhere for a replacement— the Viva SL perhaps, although the apparent simplicity of servicing, etc., and convenience of four doors, on the small car are factors to be weighed.

Perhaps I can add a few words on my M.G. TD. As far as I can trace, she has covered over 130,000 miles from new, and had a third engine fitted just before I bought her.

Since then I have spent a lot of money on new steering and front suspension (the o/s. front suspension sheered one night, just after I’d bought the car). However, she was registered on July 13th, and is green. The result of this meant a respray was due, and has been done. New Xs were fitted (believed to last about 40-50. thousand miles a set), and various other mechanical and weather parts (say about £200 in all). In return I have been unable to get home only once (suspension) in over 16,000 miles of really pleasant motoring, mainly with hood down, and including 3,000. plus around Spain last year with a Barcelona-Cherbourg drive in 21 hours through the night.

The car can easily be adapted for sleeping in (twin beds!), is roomy for two or three. passengers for short journeys, and provides comfort for two. on long trips—better than a new Spridget I am told by one passenger.

Although as a student under 21 in a city the insurance is expensive (nearly £30 p.a. for third party, fire and theft) and tax and petrol are always going up, the cost per mile taking all into account is only just over 6d., mainly due to the high resale value why are no modern cars as good as this (with the possible exception of the Morgan)? I often wonder what my mother’s 1100 will he like at 130,000 miles, and how many drive shafts it will have used—the half-shafts are original on the M.G..,. I think.

Cardiff. Howard C.C. Gosling.
[The fact remains that out of two million B.M.C. f.w.d. users, these have been the only complaints we have received to date, and none has resulted in locking-up of the front-wheels.. As for fear of f.w.d. I have had 3,400 enjoyable miles in a 1965 M.G. 1100 with absolutely no mechanical trouble and wouldn’t think of giving it up as a potentially dangerous car.—Ed.]