I grow weary of reading within your correspondence columns adverse comments on the Morris 1100 which often appear to be carping, peevish, irrelevant and with undertones of envy. It may be due to the undoubted superiority of this machine over its so-called rivals (shades of VW when it reigned supreme). Nothing really tangible in the way of criticism is ever levelled at this car, apart from its stiff gear-change during early life. Broken fan belts, flickering speedo. needles and rattles are not criticisms of the 1100. They can apply to all sub-£1,000 cars and many costing well over £1,000.
Another fashionable criticism is that the 1100 is underpowered. This is undoubtedly true, but only in relation to the car’s superlative road-holding. 0-70-m.p.h. in around 36 seconds is not exactly G.T. motoring but is still sufficient to outstrip most unmodified rivals, and the real need for a bigger engine only becomes apparent on long straight stretches of the motorways, and for overtaking much bigger and more powerful cars. As for the Ford Cortina, I am not qualified to judge, not having driven one. Most of the reports speak highly of its good handling and roadworthiness for a conventionally-sprung car. One point however would appear to speak for itself without further comment. Cortinas modified to G.T. form require, amongst other things, considerable suspension modification; 1100s, for example the Downton 1100 which is capable of just over the ton, do not.
I repose great confidence in W. B.’s judgment. In the days when the VW was all the rage with the editorial staff of this magazine, I, like many other readers, ostrich-wise was loath to admit that it could be better than certain British small cars without ever putting it to the test. After putting one through its paces I returned home chastened, a sadder but a wiser driver, confident now in the knowledge that at that time there was not a small British car to touch it in terms of general roadworthiness.
I believe at the moment this is true of the 1100. For the record, my own 1100 has just completed 10,000 miles, gives 39 plus to the gallon (super grade) and has given no trouble whatsoever, apart from a few minor irritations, including a stiff window-winding mechanism, a sticking carburetter piston, and during its early life a stiff gear-change.
Excellent value for money. If, as one of your correspondents remarked, it is backed by good spares and service, and also close factory inspection, this car is a potential world-beater.