I have read with interest the recent (March) contradictory correspondence which you have published about the humble Morris Marina.
I feel it is time a few words were said in support of what is surely one of the most underrated cars on the British market, namely the Marina 1.8TC. I have owned from new a 1973 TC Coupe model. The coupe body has greater stiffness than the Saloon and this is reflected in improved handling which is not nearly as bad (or suicidal) as some people think. The -slightly uprated MG-B engine gives really rapid straight-line acceleration, o-6o in about to seconds and excellent mid-range torque for overtaking, aided by the well-chosen gear-box ratios giving the classic 30,50, 70 increments in the indirects. Petrol consumption is about 25 m.p.g. however you drive it. The seats are “hard” in the tradition of certain grander motor cars and give good support for the thighs. Incidently, the current Mk. 2 GT has the fashionable soft seats with short cushions. The car is one of a stable of three and has now covered nearly 25,000 miles. Replacements to date are three radiators, the first two split along the bottom after a year’s service each, the third is doing better and shows no leaks as yet. The battery, disc pads and the exhaust system have each been renewed once. !Pie body is rust-free but rattles a little, particularly around the fascia, but no worse than when it was new! I have fitted Avon low profile 165/170 I 35R radials all round which improves the handling immensely over the standard Dunlop rubber on which the car always felt “under tyred”. I plan to substitute heavy-duty telescopic dampers for the lever shock absorbers at the front which should improve the handling still further. Insurance is Group 4, which is good value for money for a oo m.p.h., too b.h.p./ton car. clhree cheers for the stodgy image!) Snags? yes, too noisy at sustained high speed and engine performance very sensitive to ignition settings and quality of spark. To sum up, a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing and definitely fun to drive. Thanks for the only proper car magazine, my copies go back uninterrupted to 1962 and I have been a regular reader for 27 years.
West Byfleet GAVIN STIELL
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