BMC 1100/1300 : Danish variations
Although the ADO16 was never built in Denmark, it was first introduced there within weeks of the UK launch, and remained available in one form or another for around six months after sales in the UK had fizzled out. Here, former BL Denmark dealer Erik Loye tells its story…
IN August 1962, shortly after the car had been launched in the UK, the Morris 1100 was exported to Denmark in small numbers, where it was to be sold as the Morris Marina. However, on 1 September, the announcement of a new tax regime brought car sales grinding to a halt, and consequently most of those initial cars were destined to remain as dealer demonstrators. By January 1963, however, sales of the Morris Marina and MG1100 (which was sold as the MG Sports Sedan, as it was in the US) began in earnest. Later that same year, the separate Austin distributors introduced the Austin 1100 and Vanden Plas Princess 1100. In the Spring of 1966, the ranges were expanded with the Morris Marina and Austin 1100 2-door saloons, and automatic transmission became available on all versions.
Around New Year 1968, the MkII body-style was introduced. The 1100 MkII was available only in basic, 2-door form (with the centrally-mounted, Mini-like speedometer). The 1300s, on the other hand, were sold as the Morris Marina GT and Austin 1300, in Super Deluxe trim with the option of 2- and 4-door models, along with the 4-door MG 1300. Early 1969 saw the 2-door MG 1300 MkII launched, with the slightly detuned Cooper S engine, and in 1970 the Austin & Morris 1300 GT appeared, with the same engine. Somewhat confusingly, the Morris 1300 GT was sold alongside the standard, single-carb Marina GT.
The Morris Traveller, Wolseley and Riley ADO16s were never officially sold in Denmark. In 1972, the Morris distributors discontinued the Marina saloon in favour of its newly-available Roy Haynes-designed (ADO28) namesake. Around the same time, the Austin distributors dropped the 4-door ADO16 models, leaving only the Austin 1100 and 1300 2-door saloons on sale, along with small numbers of the Austin 1100 Contryman. Sales of the 1100/1300 saloons finally ended in January 1975, although during January and February that year, 1015 examples of the four-door, 998cc Austin de Luxe were imported from Spain in order to meet continuing demand for the model.
About Erik Loye
My father bought a garage in 1951 in a north Copenhagen suburb and was appointed DOMI dealer in 1955. He knew Morris cars and the Nellemann family, having been employed by Vilh Nellemann, Copenhagen before WWII. His business expanded with the sales growth, and in 1959 my brother joined the business; I followed in 1965. Our father had died when the sales slump set in and after some years I left the business and my brother closed it a few years later. After two years as MD of a combined Fiat and Nissan dealership I left the motor business altogether for the computer business. The interest in cars have not left me and I follow the goings on of the motor business from a distance – not that I miss it and the conditions it has to operate in. Car sales in Denmark are now at a level not seen since the late ’60s.
Some might ask what are my favourite cars now. Since I left the motor business, my wife and I have owned a fair number of Fiats, Lancias and Alfa Romeos. I have since driven a hired Rover 414 and 820, not bad cars (both proving that the engines designed by the old BMC and their successors are good ones) but I do not imagine I would buy one today.