By 28 November 2016 61 Comments Read More →

Engines : The E-Series

Designed and specially built to become the Corporation’s new mid-sized engine, the E-Series had a troubled early life, but eventually matured into something very worthwhile indeed.


New engine, new factory; new start?

By the mid-1960s, it had become clear to BMC’s management that, in order to maintain sales volumes, the company would have to produce a new mid-sized car to replace the Farina saloons. The plan for the BMC 1800 to do this had gone by the wayside in light of its increased girth, price and ambition, meaning that the older car would have to soldier on for some time longer…

As it was, the new mid-sized car (the ADO14), which began to emerge from BMC during 1965/66, was an interesting design, which Sir Alec Issigonis planned to be a technological leader in its field. Reflecting BMC’s confidence when this plan called for an all-new body and an all-new engine.

Initial thoughts were that the new engine (codenamed the ADO32) should be light and compact, and displace about 1300cc. Issigonis was sold on the idea that upward expansion of his engine should be achieved by the addition of two extra cylinders (a principle he also explored on the DX engine used in the gorgeous 9X), which meant that there would be little need for expansion through boring/stroking and that, in the search for compactness, ADO32 could get away with siamesed cylinder bores.

The original design soon grew

At the original displacement of 1300cc, the six-cylinder version of the engine (codenamed the ADO25) would displace almost 2-litres; a size that would pitch it perfectly within the executive market, alongside Rover and Triumph’s less sophisticated offerings. It was noted by Jeff Daniels in his book, BL: The Truth About The Cars, that this plan was soon pulled apart by two factors:

1) The A-Series was being developed into a very useable 1300cc engine and, although in 1966, it was still considered an exotic unit for use in the Mini-Cooper, productionised versions were on their way.

2) The accountants dictated using ADO17 doors, which set the ADO14’s practical wheelbase at just under 105-inches at the very least – that would be far too big for a 1300cc engine.

These factors meant that ADO32 would need to be expanded to 1.5-litres and, in turn, ADO25, to 2.2-litres.

A new factory site chosen to build it

As Longbridge and Cowley were at capacity churning out A-Series engines for the ultra-successful Mini and 1100, a new factory would need to be built to produce the new engines; especially at the volumes that BMC anticipated for it! The site chosen was Cofton Hackett, and it went up during 1967 and 1968.

Sadly, the new engines (christened E- and E6-Series) were launched after Leyland’s takeover of BMC and, because of the ADO14’s (Maxi’s) less-than-sparkling performance, it was soon decided by the new management that the E-Series would need to be enlarged in order to develop more torque and power.

According to Daniels, Harry Webster had his work cut out extending the E-Series unit, but finally managed it by stroking it just enough as not to foul the transmission-in-sump gearbox internals. The fact that moved the new engine extremely close to the 1800cc B-Series engine, was purely incidental…

The engine grows and becomes a six-cylinder

The larger version of the four-cylinder E-Series engine duly appeared in 1970 (eighteen months after the launch of the original Maxi), and it silenced many criticisms of the 1968 Maxi. In HL form, it produced 72bhp, but this was upped later, when a twin-carburettor version putting out 91bhp was added.

What about ADO25 – the E6 engine? That first appeared in the 1970 Austin Kimberly/Tasman, then the domestic ADO17 two years later. Blessed with exceptional smoothness, it received a warm welcome on the marketplace, but was a little overshadowed by the age of the car it was in (the ADO17 was eight years old at this point).

The E6-Series engine, rather oddly, displaced 2227cc (which based it on the 1485cc version of the four-cylinder E-Series engine), and it did make commentators wonder about whether a suitable 2.6-litre version could be produced.

Along with the Maxi, the E-Series engine found its way into the Allegro in 1973 and the E6-Series, into the Princess in 1975… and that was about it. All European installations were transverse front-wheel drive, but Leyland Australia saw an advantage in using it in the Marina (longitudinal, rear wheel drive) and P76…


The E-Series in Australia

By Merv Sheather

In Australia, the E-Series first came to light as the means to upgrade the ADO16’s power and torque. Fraught with inherited engineering problems at launch, the Morris 1500 had several technical gremlins (cable backlash, no detent plungers, third motion shaft circlip detachments, due to designed selective fit ‘v”-groove retention circlip).

The 1500 was a sales disaster, due to widespread press reports of these gearbox failures, and it forced the Australian subsidiary to accelerate the introduction of the Marina.

The Marina was released with the E-Series engine in 1500 and 1750 four-cylinder forms, as well as a 2622cc six-cylinder version, conceived to compete with local market cars from GM Holden, Chrysler and Japanese imports.

The E-Series did not have a considerable power output gain when it jumped from 1500 to 1750cc. To overcome the advice from the Marketing Department (about the small hike in power compared with the 1500), the Engineering Department down-rated the output of 1500cc version by adding a pressed metal choke sleeve in the induction manifold below the carburettor – hence the ‘detune’ modification of a manifold choke – this really was a ‘desperate act ‘ by the Engineering Department to comply with Marketing Department’s requests.

The 1750cc was seen a ‘market adequate’ by the Marketing Department (when compared with the main competitors’ engines). The main problem was that the output of the 1500cc engine in standard tune was far too close to the developed bhp of the 1750cc unit.

As the Marketing Department stated at board level, “the buyers only read engine output, for example , bhp figures and very rarely consider the torque at rpm figure”. A smaller 1 1/2-inch SU carburettor was used and not the 1 3/4 inch SU carburettor as was used on the Morris 1500. Many owners became aware of the simple change to get increased power and removed this pressed in metal sleeve.

The model range had moderate sales success until the Zetland/Waterloo Plant closure which occurred in November 1974.

Utilised also in South Africa from CKD kits supplied by Leyland Australia for both Marina and Leyland P76 vehicles. E-Series six-cylinder used in South African for locally assembled P76 cars had a 2 inch SU to give higher top end performance gain.

Note: South African Rover SD1s used the E6-Series engine in 2622cc form, and it compared very favourably with the domestic, Triumph-derived, Rover 2600.


The E-Series’ fate…

So, did the E-Series see out its days in the Maxi and Allegro, and the E6-Series in the Princess? Sadly, the E6 died with the Princess in 1982, but the four-cylinder version continued…

One thing that the E-Series proved in the end, was that it was long-lived. During the late 1970s, it was developed for use in the LC10/LM10 (after dropping the O-Series) with an end-on Volkswagen gearbox.

Interestingly, the LC10/LM10 version, dubbed the R-Series was produced in 1598cc form (half-way between the E’s 1485cc and 1748cc) and, according to contemporary Austin-Rover technical briefings, this were the perfect size for the unit, using existing valves.

The R-Series was a stepping stone, though; an anomaly that lasted 18 months (for political reasons), until the S-Series engine appeared in 1984. And the S-Series? This was an extensively revised version of the R-Series engine.

This unit lasted until 1993. Product plans from the early 1980s spoke of a diesel version of the S-Series engine, for use in the stillborn Austin-Rover AR6… We have yet to uncover any evidence to suggest this engine ever left the drawing board.

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

61 Comments on "Engines : The E-Series"

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  1. Howard says:

    One VERY rare car was the MG Maestro 1.6 with the S series engine.Only produced for approx 6 months before the 2.0i MG version was launched.

  2. david mckenzie says:

    my parents had a 1.6 hls meastro with this engine it was not the best trying to start the car when the engine was hot was a weakness the car leaked water they could not find where it was comming from either

  3. Dimitri Buijs says:

    I just love the 1500 E-series engine, great power, smooth ride!

  4. george says:

    A proper and powerful workup of the E series six –which resembles the Nissan 240Z — might have been a genetically acceptable basis for the retro Healeys that have been attempted over the years. The Haldane four with Ford power and the Harrier with V8 have been tasty, but somehow wrong, and not making the proper sort of sounds. In no place do I see bore / stroke dimensions. Modern piston heights allowed longer rods and or strokes to be accommodated in existing blocks, so the requisite 2.6 litre capacity might now be attainable.

  5. Nick Kounelis says:

    Hi Merv.great efforts about explaining what happened in Australia with this engine. I have tried in vain to Find any existing P76 ‘s in South Africa. I beleive all the 650 CKD packs ended up in new Zealand where they were assembled there (in pretty much v8 form only). I have tracked down photos of later SD1 E6 engines which ran the twin Su set up of the earlier Kimberly or UK Austin 2200’s but in 2.6(ex Australian tooling 6 cyl form. They also adapted power steering to the E6 blocks something that was not used in Aus p76 E6 production.
    If you have any P76 South african E6 inormation I would like to know.I have seen planned 1975 and beyond Zetland export program of fully Bult up P76 and Force 7 production scquedules which were only about 40 cars per month initially. The marina was fitted with this engine in 1750 and 2600 form in SA and the Victoria park E6 production line and transferr equipment went to capetown for that very reason.
    Cheers Nick

  6. Nate says:

    In terms of power output how does the 2.6 E6 in the South African SD1 compare with the 136 hp 2.6 SD1-Six in the standard SD1?

    One figure has the 2.6 E6 putting out 121 hp, yet if was compared very favourably with the domestic Triumph-derived Rover SD1 2600 rated at 136 hp then I am assuming that the E6 produced a similar output to warrant such a comparison.

    • Chris says:

      Having driven a South African SD1 with the 2.6 E6 (known as the R6 over there), I can confirm that subjectively there was no appreciable difference in performance between it and the Rover 2600 engine, so I think it must have produced at least 130hp. Just like the 2.2 litre version, it felt turbine-smooth….much better than the Rover engine. To set the record straight, the Rover 2300/2600 engine was designed by Triumph, but was totally new, not a development of the previous Triumph straight-6.

  7. Johan Coetzee says:

    2.6 E6 engine as built and used in South Africa, fitted with twin SU HIF-6 carburettors as standard, produced 82kW @ 4750RPM and 202N.m torque @ 2200rpm. Max usable rpm is 5000.

    • Chris says:

      Johan, 82kW (110hp) was the power output of the 2.2 E6, so it’s hard to imagine that the 2.6 was tuned to give the same power for ordinary car applications, although a torquier lower powered version might have been produced for its installation in the Land-Rover Series 3.

  8. Kev Sharp says:

    @ 7
    82 kw equates to 110bhp. That’s what the 2.2 litre version used in the Princess produced. I would like to think the 2.6 version was rather more.

  9. Jason Birmingham says:

    The Australian E6 in 2.6 litre form developed 121HP @4500rpm (90KW) & 165 lb/ft Torgue @ 2000Rpm (224NM). Remember this is in single carb form (HS6 1.75″), so I think in Twin carb form, the comparison with the 136Hp English Triumph/Rover SD1 2600 is Valid

  10. russ pigott says:

    Has anyone ever tried a 2.6 with 3 MG1600 webber DCNFs? I would estimate power to be 150 -160 BHP

    • Chris says:

      Russ, the weber carbs on the MG Maestro 1600 were a nightmare to keep in tune, so fitting 3 of them to an E6 would just multiply the problems by 50%. I would rather fit 3 SU carbs, and sacrifice a few hp for reliability and ease of maintenance.

    • Nate says:

      Remember reading elsewhere about a still-born project by Leyland Australia to develop a more potent version of the 2.6 E6 with that same 150-160 hp target for use in possibly the Marina or another car as well as the E6 allegedly even being capable of being bored out to around 3.0/3.1-litres.

  11. drae says:

    I’d Imagine that to be right and again begs the question why it was not put in the MGB and in the 3 ltr.

  12. Lyle gallant says:

    Does anyone know weather or how to twin carb the 1500ohc e series???????

    • Chris says:

      A twin-carb 1500 engine was fitted to the Allegro 3 Vanden Plas 1.5, but they were very low volume so I think you would be hard-pressed to find one at a breakers yard. If it’s performance you’re after, a 1750 engine in single or twin-carb form would be much better, and probably easier to find.

  13. Susan Young says:

    I was always confused by the Princess having E6 but not the 1748cc E4. Surely the twin carb was a better bet than the 1.8 B-series plus it had 5 speed’s. The E4 would have been comparable in performance to a 4 speed 2.0 O-series and more frugal not to mention below the 1800cc tax bracket. But reading a road test only BL could launch a 6-pot 2200 HL with 4 speed and vinyl trim!

    • Chris says:

      I thought the same as you Susan. The twin-carb 1750 from the Maxi produced 91hp, giving it a useful performance advantage over the single-carb 1800 B-series, plus the overdriven fifth gear would have given both improved fuel economy and more relaxed cruising. I suspect the main reason the E4 wasn’t used was because of its 5-speed gearbox, a feature not available on the supposedly higher-spec and more expensive 2.2 E6, so it would have looked a mis-match in the range progression. It would be a very simple job to fit the E4 into the Princess, but I’m not aware that anyone has ever carried out such an interesting and practical conversion.

  14. Ol says:

    This was part of BLs problem, producing so many different engines competing with each other. In 1300 you had the A series or the Triumph ohv unit, the 1500 E series vs the 1500 Triumph engine, 1750 e series vs 1.8 B series vs 1850 slant 4 triumph, 2600 sd1 vs E6, rover v8 vs stag V8 Etc

  15. Richard16378 says:

    That even without mentioning the O series.

  16. Ol says:

    Lyle gallant, BL made twin carb 1500 e series from the factory, used in Allegros. The twin carb manifold/carb set up from one of those or a 1750 maxi would be a bolt on swap.

  17. Nate says:

    Apparently in Issigonis’s biography a sketch exists detailing proposed dieselized versions of the 1500cc and 1750cc E-Series engines, presumably to replace the dieselized B-Series engines.

    • Chris says:

      Nate – I rather doubt that any E4 diesels were ever built because their power outputs would have been so similar to the 1500 and 1800 B-series diesels. But back in the early 1970s, I had occasion to visit the Light Diesel Development Dept, which was situated in the East Works in a separate building alongside the main factory. While there, I had a nose around, and I clearly remember seeing a 2.2 E6 diesel!

      • Nate says:

        Perhaps it would have been too similar to the B-Series diesels, though in 1.5/1.6 E4 form it might have allowed for a earlier dieselized 1.6 S-Series that was later considered during the AR6 project.

        It is curious that a dieselized E6 (let alone a dieselized SD1-Six) was never considered for the Range Rover and Rover SD1, which instead received the VM Motori engines (after the Rover V8-based Project Iceberg was cancelled).

  18. Glenn Aylett says:

    The E6 was an extremely smooth and powerful engine for its day. It transformed the Landcrab into something that could take on a Triumph 2000 and was smoother than the 2 litre engine used in Rovers. In the Princess, it made a relaxing car into an even more relaxing one, with a useful turn of speed over the four cylinder cars.

  19. maestrowoff says:

    That original idea of producing a 1300 four, which would be expanded with 2 cylinders into a 2000 six is truly bizarre, for a car which was theoretically designed to replace the Farinas with their 1600 B series engine.

    The 2000 E6 could have been a direct replacement for the 1800 B, but surely they would still need an engine around the 1600 mark?

    • Richard16378 says:

      A 1600cc 4 cylinder engine could have a 2400cc 6 cylinder counterpart.

      Maybe a larger bored or stroked version of the 1300 could have been made, considering this did happen with the E series but 200cc bigger.

      • maestrowoff says:

        It just seems that the engine was designed to be expanded by adding more cylinders, rather than just the usual bore and stroke adjustments. Sadly this seems to be another engineering blind alley BMC went down…

        “Issigonis was sold on the idea that upward expansion of his engine should be achieved by the addition of two extra cylinders (a principle he also explored on the DX engine used in the gorgeous 9X), which meant that there would be little need for expansion through boring/stroking”

        • Richard Davies says:

          Volvo in the 1990s came up with a modular engine design that could be tailor made, though with different bores & strokes.

          Ford had already produced the Essex units with 1.6, 2.0, 2.5 & 3.0 capacities, though the V4s were quite rough running. I did wonder if a V8 version was planned, diesels certainly were.

          Even before that many manufacturers had 4 & 6 cylinder versions of the same engine.

          • Nate says:

            Would be surprised if a Ford Essex V8 variant displacing around 3.3-4.0 was planned given the Essex V4/V6 engine’s 60° vee angle though it might have made the likes of the Zodiac and Zephyr less forgettable.

          • Richard16378 says:

            I was thinking the V angle was wrong, though there are a few exceptions to the rules over the years.

          • Spyder says:

            A few years ago I read that the Zephyr/Zodiac MkIV- Project Panda had been designed the way it was with its huge bonnet to accomodate V8 power and/or 4wd. I have no idea if the planned V8 was to be Essex related. There were a few 2.5 litre 4wd prototypes built some being used by the police.

          • Nate says:

            Have read about both the Project Panda and the 4WD prototypes, seems likely that Ford were looking at fitting the Windsor V8 into the Zephyr/Zodiac mk4 though nothing came of it.

  20. drae says:

    Thought I read somewhere that the E was originally supposed to be both a 1.1 and a 1.3 four which would have give a 1.75 and 2.0 six

    • JH Gillson says:

      You read it on here on the Maxi development story:

      “Initially the E-series engine was planned with four different capacities, 1160cc, 1300cc, 1485cc four cylinder units plus a 2227cc six cylinder version of the 1485cc engine. Contrary to previous accounts, the two smaller units were never built leaving the 1485cc and 2227cc engines to be developed by BMC’s engineers. The first 1485cc engine began testing in March 1966 followed by the first six cylinder unit in July. By September 1966 ADO16 and ADO17 mules were road testing the new engines. Very early on it was decided the E-series engine needed more torque and by October 1967 a 1748cc and a 1797cc unit were being tested. The extra capacity was created by lengthening the stroke.”

  21. Paul says:

    Often wonder why the E series didn’t go to 1.6 litres well before the R/S. It would have given a capacity that aligned with Ford’s Pinto and Kent units and therefore in line with 1970s market expectations, by the sound of it the unit worked at its best at that capacity and it would have left clear blue water between the 4 cylinder E and 1.8 litre B. It would also have created a 6 cylinder unit of 2.4 litres that would have served well in the SD1 rather than the expensive, low volume Triumph derived OHC unit and have sat rather better than the 2.2 version above the 2.0 O series when the Princess 2 came along.

    • Paul says:

      In fact reading the other posts above there is the intriguing thought that if a 1.3 E series – as originally planned – had been produced along side the 1.6 4 cylinder the E could have provided a range of engines from 1.3 4 cylinder to 2.4 litre 6 cylinder. The virtually all BL’s engine needs could have been rationalised around the E. Only the Rover V8 unit and smaller capacity A series would have been needed to top and tail.

      • Nate says:

        Have read conflicting accounts on the 1300 E-Series ranging from it being as underdeveloped as the existing E-Series engines to it being far superior to the 1500cc/1750cc E-Series and competitive against the 1275cc A-Series.

        Find it difficult to believe that the 1300cc E-Series was competitive against the 1275cc A-Series given that the 1500cc A-Series put out around 68-77 hp or 83 hp with the Special Tuning conversion.

      • drae says:

        If they had produced 1.1, 1.3 and 1.6 engines then using the origional logic of moving to a six that would have given 1.75, 2lt and 2.4 six cylinder engine. Expanding that logic a little to include 8 cylinder engines would have produced 2.2 2.6 amd 3.2 V8’s

        Similar exersise were being carried out at BMW. The plan makes sense for BMC but none at all of BL which probabaly explains why nothing come of it.

        Still a Miget with the 1.5E an MGB with the 2.0/2.2/2.4/2.6 E6
        , the maxi with a 1.6 E4 1.75/2.0 E6

        Landcrab with 2.0/2.2/2.6 E6

        AD016 with 1.1, 1.3. 1.6 E4

        Mini with 1.1, 1.3. 1.6 E4

        Marina with 1.6 E4, 1.75 E6 2.0 E6

        Allegro with 1.6 E4, 1.75 E6 2.0 E6

        Austin 3 litre with 2.6 E6, 3.2V8

        Could definately have transformed the fortunes of the BMC middle and upper model rang, but pick for me would be an E6 (or EV8) engined MGB.

        Now I’m definately in the land of make believe ;@)

        • Nate says:

          drae

          Expand that logic further with the 1.75 E-Series 4-cylinder and you would effectively get a 3.5 V8 OHC E-Series which would not only cover the Austin 3-litre and MGB, but also potential resolve the supply problems that plagued the Rover V8 whilst allowing the later to retain its exclusivity for use in Rovers, Land / Range Rovers, Morgans and TVRs as well as potential for further expansion and development.

          That is not even mentioning the 1915cc overbore used in the Allegro rally car.

  22. lockupchap says:

    Wasn’t the 1.5 E Series also used in the Midget? I can imagine it working well there, where the decent output once revved – but poor low end torque – would suit the car.

    Poor low end torque was a major shortcoming in my dad’s 1.5 Allegro estate with the 4-speed autobox, although above about 2,000rpm the engine pulled well for its size. Smoothness was much better than an A series engined Allegro across the power range.

  23. Glenn Aylett says:

    We often wonder how good the E6 with fuel injection and five speeds could have been if this was introduced in the Princess and carried over into the Ambassador. This could have really taken on the 2.3 V6 versions of the Cortina and the Granada and been a worthy alternative to the Rover 2300 and improved Princess sales. Also the Ambassador would have gained a real boost to sales by continuing with the E6.

  24. Ritchie B. says:

    Within the realms of “What IF?” where my imagination’s been venturing whilst reading the above, I’ve also been pondering the possibility of what type of amazing animal the “MGD” – a.k.a. ADO21 – would’ve been IF it’d been given the green light. The original (UK) E6 was slated to power the top-end model of this futuristic mid-engined “Ferrari-Dino-206GT lookalike” – but what IF the stroked, 2.6-litre version would’ve found its way to the car’s ‘mid’ position, just behind the driver’s spine. Imagine the lusty but silky smoothness of such a great British Grand Touring cruiser. What a lost opportunity!

  25. Geoff Ellis says:

    All up my family owned 4 15oo E series motors and the big issue was the shim adjustment of the valve clearance and the constant production updates…..there were three different head gaskets and every set of points that I bought had to be pulled apart and rebuilt as they were incorrectly assembled and earthed out internally due to a plastic spacer being put on top of the metal bits instead of in between them.

    Imagine that? Car running a bit rough, put in new points and plugs and car doesn’t start at all. Took us all weekend to fix and only realised the problem when we put the old points in again as a “last throw of the dice”….car started first go, we took the new points back to dealer for replacement and the new, new set did the same thing. Eventually compared new with old and noticed the problem…..told dealer, didn’t care, he was trying to sell P76 V8s by that stage…..

  26. Nate says:

    Does any info exist on what bore and stroke the 1160cc / 1300cc E4 and 2000cc E6 had?

    Was thinking that in hindsight the E4 would have been better in 1390cc (same bore / stroke) and 1598cc, slotting above the A-Series and below an 1.8-2.0 O-Series.

    • Zebo says:

      1160cc and the standard 76,2mm bore would have been achieved with a 63,6mm stroke, 1300cc would have been around 71mm.
      Not sure these verslons would have used this standard bore, though, so strictly theoretical.

  27. maestrowoff says:

    “Issigonis was sold on the idea that upward expansion of his engine should be achieved by the addition of two extra cylinders”

    A mistake back then, but 50 years later that’s what manufacturers are doing with modular engine design. Both BMW and JLR are going for 500cc per cylinder engines, hence the 2L 4 cylinder engine, the 3L straight 6 cylinder engine, the BMW (and future JLR) 1.5L 3 cylinder engine…

  28. Richard16378 says:

    BMW & JLR also have the option of a 5 cylinder 2.5l engine.

    Just this week I was puzzling out the combinations of a modular engine family, using Volvo’s as a basis.

    Ford’s engines for the Zehpyr were fairly modular by the standards of the day, being 4 & 6 cylinder units with the same bore & stroke.

    Morris was on the same path with the post war Oxford & Six engines using 4 & 6 cylinders of the same dimensions, but with different valve gear.

  29. Spyder says:

    Is there any (logical) reason why the E6 could not be fitted with the Maxis 5 speed gearbox? Since the gearbox was designed for the E-series engine it just seems strange that ADO17 and 71 sixes were never given this option.

    • Zebo says:

      Perhaps because it was a gearbox in-sump? I could image technical adaptations would be needed to install a box designed specifically for the four cylinder with the E6.

      • The box finally used with all FWD E6 installations was a Landcrab box using a different casing. It seems that the Maxi box was not designed to carry the high torque and load from the heavy 2200 cars, while the original 1800 box was tremendously strong, yet very heavy. The automatic Maxis (and Allegros) used a development of the Mini and ADO16 automatic AP 4-speed gearbox, while the 1800, 2200 and all Princess and Anbassodor models used a special version of the Borg-Warner 35 3-speed box. The reason again would be the maximum torque available on the B-, O- and E6-engines being too much for the AP-design.

        • Spyder says:

          I suspected as much. It is so typical of BMC/Leyland to miss an opportunity that is at their fingertips. In view of the fact that the E-series was planned as a four and six cylinder from the outset- why couldn’t they develop a 5-speed gearbox that a) handle the torque of the E- and b) be suitable for use with the 1.8 B-series? It would have given ADO17 and the later Princess a valuable USP over its rivals with relaxed cruising and class beating fuel economy. Or would the Wolseley Six then eclipse the Rover and Triumph 2000 models?

  30. Bishop says:

    I learnt to drive on a 1500 E Series Maxi. The Maxi had a lot to commend it, but the drivetrain was not one of them. The gearchange was … tough and approximate, and the engine revved and sounded like it was made of masonry. Even as an R Series, refinement was pretty poor, but the S Series was a pretty refined and powerful unit – better than Ford’s Pinto, but worse than GM’s Family II of that era.

    • Glenn Aylett says:

      The 1500 was poor in the Maxi, my family had one and it was underpowered and thirsty, although the engine was far better in the Allegro with a lighter body. Better, though, was the 1748 E series, which made the Maxi into a more refined and faster car, and the ultimate was the E6, which turned the ageing ADO 17 into a car with Jaguar like refinement and a good turn of speed, and also made the Princess into a very nice car to drive and ride in. Indeed the E6 proved to be a far more reliable engine than the six cylinder Rover engines, and could have been bored out to 2.3 and 2.6 litres.

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