Two "Specials" from Austin/Morris

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

To commemorate the 20th birthday of the Mini Minor (but why not have waited until the more traditional 21st?) the Austin/Morris branch of Leyland Motors has brought out a special edition of the popular Mini, of which a run of 5,000 only is to be made.

Known as the Mini 1100 Special, we alluded to this in last month’s Editorial. The car has a plentiful supply of special equipment, such as low-profile Dunlop tyres on alloy 5J rims, with plastic “eyebrows” above these, a colour scheme of either metallic silver-grey with a black vinyl roof-covering, or rose metallic with a light beige roof, together with side-lining. Upholstery is a combination of imitation fabric and real woven-fabric seat-panelling, and there is full carpeting, a 1275GT facia with tachometer, and an alloy-spoke steering-wheel is used. Additional equipment includes push-button Unipart radio and speaker, a quartz clock down by the floor, a cigarette lighter, extra stowages including a big open box beneath the facia, twin door-mirrors, side flasher-repeaters, a lockable fuel filler-cap, retractable aerial, bumpers from the Mini Clubman and, sensible item, black-finished non-dazzle screen-wiper arms, these last also found on the Allegro Equipe described below.

The engine of the Mini Special is that from the Clubman, giving 45 (DIN) b.h.p. at 5,250 r.p.m. and 56 lb./ft. torque at 2,700 r.p.m. The open facia shelf is retained, with the bodies of the adjustable ventilator outlets faired through it, and the rear stowage-bins are there, but I missed the front-door bins, so useful on my original Mini, these having gone to make room for the now wind-up windows. The Mini Special has a top pace of about 83 m.p.h. and a 0-60 m.p.h. acceleration time of 11.8 sec. But the noise level remains far too high. This is a pity, because the Mini Special is nicely appointed, well-braked, and its handling is as cheeky and safe as ever.

There is a slight feel of “squidge” under hard braking but I do not think this Mini Special is likely to suddenly divert from a straight line for no apparent reason, as my original Minibric once did, just missing a lamp-post and a junction-box and skidding across some red lights, en route to Goodwood. Arrived there, Graham Hill told me his Mini had performed the same dangerous trick.

The ride on the rubber suspension can be harsh at times, but not unduly so, and the interior door-handles are placed well away from one’s knees. The tachometer is red-marked at 6,000 r.p.m., the speedometer has a decimal total milometer, with a fuel gauge/heat dial between, and two-stalk controls and four press-buttons look after the various services. The long gear lever controls a passable gear-change, and lifts to select reverse, but the throttle tended to stick open, raising idling revs from 750 r.p.m. to 1,500 r.p.m. Openable rear side-windows and a lockable fuel filler were other items on this taut, lively but unrefined little car. I did not have it long enough to fully assess its fuel thirst under varying driving stints, but it gave just better than 40 m.p.g. of 4-star overall and the dip-stick indicated that the sump was still overfull of oil, even after 500 hard miles. But the din! It begins at 50 m.p.h. and becomes intolerable at 60 and 70 m.p.h. Only a Mini fanatic would pay £3,300 for one.

* * *

The other BL “Special” I have been driving is the Austin Allegro Equipe. The Allegro front-drive two-door saloon is old-hat now. I used to occasionally mistake them for the then-new Alfasud and wonder why they were proceeding so sedately. The Equipe version has, however, been livened-up by installing the two SU-carburetter 1750 engine from the Maxi Hi-Line developing 90 (DIN) b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. from a 9.5:1 c.r. This makes the Allegro a very tireless car to drive quite quickly, as in fifth gear the revs. at 70 m.p.h. drop to around 3,500 r.p.m. This gave a petrol economy of 31.5 m.p.g., driving hard and without resort to coasting, when the range is 330 miles. Quieter running gave 32.5 m.p.g. Oil consumption was approximately 350 m.p.p.

The Equipe has too much multi-colour paint spilled over it in a startling fashion! Handling has been improved by low-profile 13″ tyres (Michelin on the test car) on alloy wheels, up-dated Moulton Hydragas suspension, and a frontal spoiler, in which Wipac Allegro spot-lamps are set. If the Hydragas feels less impressive than it once did and the Allegro somewhat unrefined, especially where its terrible gear-shift is concerned, it is a car acceptable to many families, comfortable, conventional and safely braked with servo disc/drum anchors. The seats, brightly chequered-upholstered, are fairly comfortable, but low-set. The engine “pinked” slightly on 4-star petrol, the speedometer has no “60” digit and the clock gained. BL intend to build 2,700 of these o.h.c. Hi-Line Equipes and the advice I would give to any young enthusiast whose parents insist on having an Allegro is to persuade them to try to ignore the blatant red, yellow and black side-lining, and to get one of these Specials, which cost £4,360. It is a genuine 100 m.p.h. car, able to do 0-60 m.p.h. in 11.0 seconds, and now gets along very well. The doors needed a slam to shut them but otherwise this Equipe is a convenient, well-laid-out Austin. — W.B.

You may also like

Related products