Small family cars



AUSTIN A55     Stand 102.

In common with other ” B ” series engined B.M.C. cars, the A55 engine has improved combustion chamber shapes and a new camshaft to reduce tappet noise. As might be expected, an estate car version has recently been announced which merely has the roof panel lengthened. With the rear seats folded down 51 cu.ft. of space is available. A new type of door lock is fitted which makes it impossible for the absentminded to lock themselves out of their own car.

Prices : Mk. II saloon. £802; de luxe. £830; Traveller, £915.

AUTO UNION     Stand 143

Using the well-known three-cylinder two-stroke engine so popular with Formula Junior constructors, the Auto Union range remains completely unchanged this year. Offering quite high standards of finish for mass-produced saloons, the Auto Union must face stern opposition in the near future from the Saab, which has a similar power unit.

Prices : 1000 saloon, £1,098; 1000S saloon, £1,256; 1000SP sports coupe, £1,996.

FIAT 1100 AND 1200      Stand 138

The well-tried 1100 and 1200 models continue with no changes this year, the 1100 having 48 b.h.p., the 1100 de luxe 55 b.h.p., and the 1200 Full-Light. 63 b.h.p. Both models are on the Fiat stand.

Prices : 1100, £821; de luxe, £872; 1200, £1,132.

FORD CONSUL        Stands 98/99

The Press release from Fords states : ” There are to be no Motor Show changes from Ford this year.” Whether this means that there are to be changes some other time this year we would not know, but the Consul now joins the Sunbeam Rapier in offering front-wheel disc brakes as a production option and doing it on a car that is £180 cheaper. The brakes are Girling 9 3/4 in. with a Girling Vacuum Servo for power assistance. They cost £29 15s. extra on a new car, or an existing Mk.II Consul can be converted by a Ford dealer, the kit costing £32, with fitting extra.

Prices : £773; de luxe, £823.

HILLMAN MINX     Stand 109

Although Rootes have announced their intention of building a new small car in Scotland we shall have to be content with the Minx for another couple of years. No important changes are made in the specification except that the low-priced Special model name is dropped, and given a more luxurious specification at the same price as the Special.

Prices : Saloon, £722; de luxe, £765.

MERCEDES 180 AND 190      Stand 120

The Mercedes range will be unchanged for Earls Court and, although no Mercedes is cheap, they will still continue to attract the discerning buyer who is looking for quality and above-average performance.

Prices : 180, £1,694; 190, £1,772.

METROPOLITAN     Stand 102

Recently re-introduced into this country, the Metropolitan is of course mainly built for the American market but it offers comfortable seating for three with such items as heater, radio and cigar-lighter as standard equipment, and, being lighter than many other 1-litre saloons, the performance is quite brisk. However, a rather inadequate column-mounted gear-lever does its best to nullify the performance and the ride is strictly “boulevard.”

Prices: hard-top, £707; convertible, £732.

M.G. MAGNETTE       Stand 112

We caused some comment from readers last year by grouping the Magnette with Small Family Cars as some regarded it as a Large Family Car and others as a High-Performance Closed Car! The Magnette has the improved combustion chamber and camshaft of the A55 together with a longer dipstick and new ash-trays with stubbing plates ! This last addition, so the Nuffield organisation tell us, is to increase the safety factor.

Price : Magnette Mk. III, £1,013.

MORRIS OXFORD V       Stand 137

Generally regarded as the best-looking of the ” Farina Five,” the Morris Oxford continues with the minor changes common to all B.M.C. ” B ” series models and also joins the A55 in offering a Traveller model.

Prices : Oxford V saloon, £816; de luxe, £844; Traveller, £929.

MOSKVITCH      Stand 150

Soon after last year’s Show, Thomson and Taylor, of Cobham, took over the distributorship for the Russian Moskvitch and Volga cars in Britain. Designed naturally enough for Russian conditions, the Moskvitch is sturdy but unexciting to British eyes. The styling is somewhat outdated but the very complete specification deserves study. The 1,360c.c. four-cylinder o.h.v. engine develops 45 b.h.p. at 4.500 r.p.m. and the car weighs 18 cwt. The latest model features a four-speed gearbox.

Prices : Moskvitch saloon, £759; estate car, £844.

PANHARD PL17           Stand 103

Since the last Motor Show the price of the Panhard, has been reduced by over £100, which makes this five-seater car all the more competitive. What is more astonishing is that it achieves its maximum speed of nearly 80 m.p.h. on a fuel consumption of 40 m.p.g. whilst carrying a large load. Coupled with impressive handling characteristics;this front-wheel-drive car is worthy of consideration by the discerning.

Price : PL17, £898.

RILEY 1.5 AND 4/68            Stand 101

Both these cars have the enginechanges as on other “B” series cars and the 1.5 has inside hinges to bonnet and boot lids. The Riley does at least look individual (if you ignore the Wolseley 1500) but the 4/68 is just one more of the Farinated brigade. If you like a heart-shaped grille and twin carburetters ask for a Riley.

Prices.: 1.5, £816; 4/68, £1,028.

SAAB          Stand 151

Making its first appearance at a British Show, the Saab is undoubtedly creating a great deal of interest. Its rally successes have given it an almost legendary reputation, and Eric Carlsson has demonstrated its ruggedness by rolling many a rally car onto its roof. The models on show will be the 96 4/5-seater saloon andthe 95 5/7-seater station wagon. A road test of the Saab appears in this issue.

Prices : 96; £1385; 95 station wagon, £1,199.

SIMCA ARONDE       Stand 97

Energetically sold in this country by Chrysler from their Kew factory. the Simca Aronde series remains unchanged but continues to offer roomy dependable saloons with better-than-average turn of speed and commendable road-holding. Improved engines will be offered.

Prices : Etoile saloon, £799; Elysee, £872; Montlhery, £896;


New colour schemes are all we can expect to see in the way of changes to the Gazelle which eontinues to be available with the “Easidrive” automatic transmission.

Priers : Saloon, £848; ” Easidrive,” £978 : Convertible, £957; Estate car. £943.

SKODA         Stand 155

No news has filtered through the Iron Curtain of Skoda’s intentions for 1961 but it is expected that the range will continue with few alterations.

Price : Octavia, £745; estate car, £986; Felicia, £1,028.


The 1961 Ensign features longer rear springs and revised damper settings but otherwise remains virtually unchanged from last year. : £850.


One of the makes hit by the credit squeeze and falling sales in North America, Vauxhalls are slowing down production of the Victor When dealers were given the go-ahead to sell 1960 models for what they could get as a new model was on the way, most people looked forward to something different, but the 1961 model looks very similar to last year’s and the only mechanical change is the use of steel big-end bearing shells.

Prices : Victor, £724; super, £759 : de luxe, £801 estate car, £858.

WOLSELEY 1500 AND 15/60     Stand 110

The 1500 has proved to be quite a popular 1 1/2-litre family car, and the Fleet model, which is available in single colours only, is quite competitive at £705 compared with the normal saloon at £752. The 15/60 is, of course, another of the Farina Five and has the single carburetter engine.

Prices : 1500 Fleet, £705; saloon. £752; 15/60, £936.