British Leyland, the only major motor manufactory this country now possesses, has many problems. We wonder whether at times they are let down by their engineers? The Morris Marina, billed as the car to save the Leyland bacon, had such serious understeer that all 1.8 TCs made before July have been recalled for suspension modifications. When Motor Sport published a disillusioned appraisal of the car last May we commented on the strong initial understeer and so perhaps BL could have been forewarned. We gather that post-July Marinas answer better to the helm; Motor Sport is about to put this to the test. BL has certainly been let down by its workers, for otherwise one of the Corporation’s more promising new models would have been at Earls Court. Lord Stokes rightly insists on new models not being released until they can be bought from his dealers and the long history of go-slows and strikes rendered this impossible in the case of this new model—incidentally two previous cars of this make have used the same model name as the new car.
Now BL seems to have been let down, or at all events exposed, by one of its customers, judging by the following advertisement, which appeared in the Los Angeles Sunday Times:—
Dissatisfied owners of Leyland Motors 3500S Rovers who wish to discuss the possibility of united action, please contact Box—.
A Motor Sport reader in California drew our attention to this advertisement and we in turn drew BL’s attention to it. Surprisingly, their Press cuttings service had overlooked it, serious as are its implications in an export area. We arc pleased to report that Berkeley Square House took prompt steps to discover what gave rise to this remarkable piece of anti-publicity of one of their most respected products and were prepared to put the matter right if it was at all reasonable so to do.
It seems a great pity that this odd piece of Californian criticism should have arisen at a time when the newly-introduced British Rover 3500S is receiving great chunks of apparently well-deserved praise—as always, we reserve judgement on its manual gearbox until we have driven the car on the road. Britain can ill afford criticism of this kind, whether in the terms expressed in letters we receive from abroad and publish to show the way the wind blows or as this unusual advertisement in a Californian paper. Here is a fine opportunity for British manufacturers, British salesmen and satisfied users of British cars to defend their country, which has been the recipient of far too much criticism in recent times. Any knocks not deserved should be firmly and speedily rescinded.