Essays

Essay : The British Leyland Combined Shop Stewards’ Committee – Part Two

Essay : The British Leyland Combined Shop Stewards’ Committee – Part Two

Ian Nicholls, AROnline‘s own resident historian, delivers a fantastic insight into BL’s industrial relations, and how they changed over the years… The Combined Shop Stewards’ Committee had some huge battles from 1975 under Derek ‘Red Robbo’ Robinson – here’s how it all unfolded. Derek Robinson rose through the union ranks to the point where, in 1975, he followed […]

By 15 September 2016 12 Comments Read More →
Essay : The British Leyland Combined Shop Stewards’ Committee – Part One

Essay : The British Leyland Combined Shop Stewards’ Committee – Part One

Ian Nicholls, AROnline‘s own resident historian, delivers a fantastic insight into BL’s industrial relations, and how they changed over the years… Say hello to the Combined Shop Stewards’ Committee, and how it developed between 1960 and 1975.   The British Leyland Combined Shop Stewards’ Committee was a thorn in the side of British Leyland management for […]

By 13 September 2016 12 Comments Read More →
Essay : The decline of BMC – the  European dimension – Part Two

Essay : The decline of BMC – the European dimension – Part Two

Ian Nicholls follows up on one of 2016’s most popular essays, adding some fascinating overseas price data to his piece on the failure of BMC in mainland Europe.

By 3 September 2016 34 Comments Read More →
Blog : The year it went pear-shaped

Blog : The year it went pear-shaped

Ian Nicholls One of the joys of being able to trawl through the news archives of our favourite car manufacturer is being able to pinpoint when the course of history irrevocably changed. In the year 2000, we were told by those who were much more intelligent than us British car enthusiasts, that the Rover brand […]

By 21 August 2016 73 Comments Read More →
Blog : Raise a glass to… 30 years of the Rover 800

Blog : Raise a glass to… 30 years of the Rover 800

The Rover 800 Series was a game-changer in so many ways for the Austin Rover Group. David Morgan reminisces about its importance in raising the profile of both the company and Rover marque itself. Nice car, the Rover 800 Series – elegant, understated and with a subtle reference to its predecessor, the SD1… At the same […]

By 10 July 2016 26 Comments Read More →
Blog : British Motor Holdings, 50 years on

Blog : British Motor Holdings, 50 years on

Fifty years ago today, BMC and Jaguar joined forces to become British Motor Holdings. We bring you the transcript from the original press conference, launching the deal.

Blog : Raise a glass to… 40 years of the Rover SD1 – Part Two

Blog : Raise a glass to… 40 years of the Rover SD1 – Part Two

David Morgan tells us why the Rover SD1 has such a special place in his heart. I will admit it: no other car from the British Leyland stable has commanded such a high level of affection from me as the Rover SD1. Those sleek, avant-garde lines unashamedly influenced by the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 and Maserati Indy […]

By 29 June 2016 29 Comments Read More →
Rover SD1@ 40 : Derek Whittaker – do not overlook our successes

Rover SD1@ 40 : Derek Whittaker – do not overlook our successes

As part of our Rover SD1 at 40 special, here’s what Leyland Cars boss, Derek Whittaker had to say on the subject. This article is taken from the British Leyland Mirror, 30 June 1976. In common with his senior executives Derek Whittaker, Managing Director of Leyland Cars, is filled with enthusiasm for the new Rover. He feels […]

Rover SD1@ 40 : Spen King – Super, simply super SD1

Rover SD1@ 40 : Spen King – Super, simply super SD1

As part of our Rover SD1 at 40 special, here’s what Leyland Cars’ Director of Engineering and Product Planning, Spen King, had to say on the subject. This article is taken from the British Leyland Mirror, 30 June 1976. Spen King (second from left) outlines the engineering philosophy behind the Rover 3500 The one word, simplicity, encapsulates the […]

Rover SD1@ 40 : Keith Hopkins – why the SD1 will beat Peugeot, Volvo, Ford…

Rover SD1@ 40 : Keith Hopkins – why the SD1 will beat Peugeot, Volvo, Ford…

As part of our Rover SD1 at 40 special, here’s why Leyland Cars’ Sales and Marketing Director, Keith Hopkins, thought his new car had the beating of the opposition. This article is taken from the British Leyland Mirror, 30 June 1976. Trading on the magical combination of tradition and advanced design and engineering, the Rover 3500 […]

Rover SD1@ 40 : The new Solihull

Rover SD1@ 40 : The new Solihull

As part of our Rover SD1 at 40 special, here’s the lowdown on the impressive Solihull factory erected to build the brand new car. The article is taken from the British Leyland Mirror, 30 June 1976. The new Solihull paint plant and assembly hall are the product of the biggest single development project undertaken by the British […]

Blog : Raise a glass to… 40 years of the Rover SD1 – Part One

Blog : Raise a glass to… 40 years of the Rover SD1 – Part One

Tomorrow’s car today… Ian Nicholls reminds us just how important the Rover SD1 was at launch, 40 years ago – not just for its maker, but for the economy as a whole. Many British Leyland cars had the term ‘make or break’ applied to them, but perhaps it only really applied to two vehicles, the […]

Best of British : Land Rover’s Autobiography programme

Best of British : Land Rover’s Autobiography programme

Launched back in 1993, Land Rover’s Autobiography personalisation programme has offered Range Rover buyers an even greater opportunity to push the boundaries of exclusivity through bespoke colour and trim choices. In the first of two exhaustive articles charting the programme’s history, David Morgan looks at the Autobiography programme’s role on three generations of the Range Rover.

By 5 June 2016 2 Comments Read More →
Essay : Mini production – how many?

Essay : Mini production – how many?

Ian Nicholls unravels the production data to try and come up with a definitive number of Minis built. He finds more questions than answers – but it looks like more than six million of all types were made. In terms of sheer volume, the original Alec Issigonis-designed Mini is the most successful British car of […]

Essay : The decline of BMC – the European dimension – Part One

Essay : The decline of BMC – the European dimension – Part One

AROnline’s forensically thorough historian, Ian Nicholls, delves into his extensive archive and investigates the fall of BMC during the 1960s via its European sales…

Essay : Counterfactual BMH – what if Leyland had walked away?

Essay : Counterfactual BMH – what if Leyland had walked away?

Simon Weakley, a former Austin Rover marketing man, steps into the realms of counterfactual history by probing a scenario in which Leyland Motors and British Motor Holdings did not merge to become British Leyland in 1968. The future is not ordained or predetermined. People and groups have choices and sometimes a definitive fork in the road is reached, […]

Unsung Heroes : Austin Maestro 1.3

Unsung Heroes : Austin Maestro 1.3

Anyone who knows Keith Adams might be a little surprised at this choice of Unsung Hero, especially considering the chequered history he has with A-Series Maestros. However, despite the dramas, there’s no doubting that Spen King’s post-Allegro Volkswagen Golf remix was far more worthy than the sum of its parts. The unfulfilled symphony If we […]

Raise a glass to… 45 years of the Morris Marina

Raise a glass to… 45 years of the Morris Marina

Mike Humble Ah, the dear old Morris Marina, yet another BL clunker that strikes a nostalgic chord in my heart. Yes folks, it’s birthday time again as British Leyland’s answer to the Cortina MkIII hits the ripe old age of 45 this week. Launched on 27 April 1971, the range of two- and four-door saloons hit the […]

Unsung Heroes : Citroën BX

Unsung Heroes : Citroën BX

Keith Adams takes a sideways look at one of those bangers, which once littered the streets of the UK. This one was loved and admired as a repmobile for a while, then fell into the hands of minicabbers, and bangerdom surely followed. But we’ve always loved the Citroën BX – perhaps unhealthily so at AROnline […]

Essay : The Ford factor

Essay : The Ford factor

Ian Nicholls One of the influential factors in the BMC>MGR story was the success of its main rival, the American-owned UK division of Ford. Back in 1959 Ford UK was managed by Sir Patrick Hennessey, an Irishman who had been a prisoner of the Germans during the First World War. Ford then only had one […]

By 13 March 2016 32 Comments Read More →