Following on from the Mini and 1100/1300 range, the 1800/2200 (or ADO17) models were designed in pretty much the same way – transverse front engines, front-wheel drive, and acres of interior room in relation to their compact external dimensions.
The 1800 and 2200 were expected to complete Alec Issigonis’ successful hat-trick of BMC front-wheel-drive cars, but they didn’t – and that was down to building the new car around the MGB-tune B-Series engine, which Issigonis exploited to make a larger car than was necessary – and this left the UK market’s centre ground open to the Ford Cortina.
Despite the 1800 winning the Car of the Year award in 1964, sales were disappointing. Over-engineered and with Hydrolastic suspension, the unappealing looks (which have dated very well indeed) and the austere interior counted against them.
In 1972, the final new variation was launched – the silky-smooh E6-powered 2200, which was a surprisngly capable car. All ADO17s are best had with power steering.