Austin 3 Litre (ADO61)
The previous Austin Westminster was a tough act to follow. It might not have been the last word in performance or refinement, but it was moderately successful in the UK, and certainly epitomised road presence and dignity. Austin was keen to replace it with a vehicle of a similar ilk, but ended up with the 3 Litre instead.
It was a design failure, not least because it was saddled with the passenger doors of the 1800/2200, but with a long bonnet and shapely boot tacked on. That made the 3 Litre oddly proportioned – but as Ford and Vauxhall were producing equally undesirable big cars at the time, it wasn’t the disadvantage it might have been.
The cabin was massive, but at the expense of much of the usual luxury and traditional design that buyers expected in a car of this class. Rear-wheel drive and a 2.9-litre engine shared with the MGC gave reasonable performance, and huge tuning potential – but after three years in production, British Leyland pulled the plug, leaving Jaguar, Rover and Triumph to build its subsequent executive cars.
Reviews, blogs and news stories
Celebrated as one of BMC’s greatest white elephants, the Austin 3 Litre emerged the way it did because circumstance was not on its side… Here, we tell you why… Misunderstood The Austin 3-litre was a disaster. There is no other way of putting it. The thinking and ideology behind the creation of the 3-litre was […]
Rolls-Royce and Bentley worked with BMC on a number of short-lived prototypes based on the Austin 3 Litre and Vanden Plas 4 Litre R. Here are the best ones that never saw the light of day.
The C-Series engine was the shortest lived out of the triumvirate of BMC engines, and has since gained infamy for being the motive power behind of the MGC and Austin 3-Litre. Sadly, it’s been underrated ever since – unless you’re a Healey owner. Words: Tony Cooke Unloved, but not unworthy THE C-Series engine was the […]
When the ADO17 was launched as the Austin 1800 in 1964, few people can have imagined that one of its defining features – its doors – would later appear on a series of cars ranging from a 1.5-litre family hatchback to a 3-litre executive saloon. But the story doesn’t end there. As well as being […]
One of the most eagerly anticipated set of pictures to arrive at austin-rover.co.uk Towers in a long time – a full set of pictures of the Wolseley 3-litre protoype, as photogrpahed at the Longbridge Elephant House in 1967. Alexander Boucke, a leading authority on these cars tells us about this important car… Another missed opportunity? […]
Seen as a replacement for the discontinued Morris Oxford Traveller and Austin Cambridge Countryman, this behemoth offered seating for up to nine passengers, and a few examples still exist today. The car’s capacious interior also lent itself to use as a private ambulance (while other converters, such as Wadham Stringer, offered an alernative way of […]
Vanden Plas prototypes The coachbuilding firm of Vanden Plas had been purchsed by Austin in 1946, and thus became part of the BMC empire that was created by the merger of Austin and Morris in 1952. Until the end of the 1950s, the factory at Kingsbury in north-west London was chiefly used for the production […]
ALWAYS a rare car even when new, the chances of spotting a 3 Litre on the road these days are akin to enjoying a big win on the Lotto. This particular car, owned by Bernard Phillips, is in such good condition that it qualifies as a genuine timewarp car, looking no older than one year […]
A more obscure Car of The Month for April. This time, I thought I’d go for the charms of the big and imposing Austin 3-litre. That being the case, the best example that I know of is that of Alexander Boucke – which is unusual for being left hand drive. Alexander is deeply passionate about […]
THE GUARDIAN AUSTIN’S ANACHRONISM Eric Dymock tests the Austin 3-litre Depending on your criteria for style, you may describe the Austin 3-litre as functional, or plain, or perhaps an architectural catastrophe. You may stretch to well proportioned or even well intentioned. But if you call it handsome you are either impressed by size or else […]