Sharp Wedge Is A Winner
By Patrick Mennem
British Leyland launch a wedge shaped attack on the highly competitive medium sized car market today. A new range of Austin – Morris and Wolseley cars is aimed at changing the middle aged image of the corporations middle price cars. The models, known as the 18-22 series, have a sharp shape, are as roomy as the old 1800’s and quicker, and are as economical as many 1.5 litre cars.
Charles Griffin, director of engineering, said he would save 7p a gallon compared to the old models. With its new aerodynamic styling and higher gearing, I think he has done it. Feature of the three Austin versions is a new look quartz halogen headlamp system.
The Morris and Wolseley versions which have different grille and bonnet styling, use conventional headlamps. The new models are powered by the existing 1800cc and the 2200cc four and six cylinder engines, and the suspension is a development of the Hydragas system used on the Allegro range. Both forms of engine drive the front wheels, but, with plenty of room in the engine compartment, there should be no problem with maintenance.
The aerodynamically shaped body not only improves fuel consumption, but cuts out almost all wind noise. Road noise is effectively insulated, so the only disturbance is the hum of the engine. With the longer wheelbase of the new range, the Hydragas suspension provides a cushioned ride.
The 1800 range will give 30 mpg with normal driving, and the big six cylinder model 26 mpg – excellent for a car capable of 100 mph and room for five.
Interior appointments are the best provided in any volume production model produced by British Leyland.
The heating system is superb, providing demisting for the side windows as well as the front and rear. The drivers seat can be adjusted for length, rake and height, and for rake of the base squab. Surely, one of the most comfortable seats produced. Box members of the car have been injected with a special wax as an anti-corrosion measure.
The 18-22 will be sold under the Austin-Morris and Wolseley names and there are three distinct variants within the range – the 1800, the HL (for high line) and the top range of Wolseley. Prices, including VAT and car tax are : 1800 £2116 : 1800 HL £2214 : 2200 HL £2424 : Wolseley £2838.
Keith Hopkins, managing director of Austin Morris is quoted in the Daily Express: “We have obtained maximum space within minimum overall dimensions and produced a car of outstanding comfort.”
Minutes from the Jaguar and Rover Triumph Advisory Board. Bernard Jackman stated: “Neither the Bullet nor SD1 should be sacrificed for SD2. we should try to clear all matters affecting Bullet before we become to much involved in SD1.”