A Montego… and then some!
The Montego-based Warwick limousine and matching Hebden hearse were introduced to serve the lower end of the carriage-trade market where its sub-£20,000 purchase price would appeal. It occupied a slot in the market previously served by the Princess-based Kirklees. The Warwick was also likely to have been popular with cost-conscious local authorities as mayoral transport. Both models were stretched by 30in, from 14ft 8in to 17ft 2in, and weighed-in at almost 1.8 tons. The Hebden’s exaggerated roofline raised its overall height to 5ft 5in, making it some 9in taller than the Warwick.
Build was an interesting process – the Woodhall Nicholson Warwick started out as a Montego saloon supplied directly to the company by Austin Rover. Various pieces of interior trim were omitted in order to aid the conversion. The car was stripped and mounted on a special sliding jig, cut in half, and then separated. The Montego was then reconstituted using special panels, which incorporated reinforcements welded into place.
From delivery to the factory to delivery to the customer, the conversion from Montego to Warwick took 10-12 weeks, and as it was a fully Type Approved conversion, Austin Rover were happy to offer a factory warranty on the car.
Perhaps understandably, demand for these cars never put so much as a dent in orders for CM’s contemporary core models – the Ford Granada-based Dorchester and Cardinal – but they did at least provide a cheaper alternative for those operating on a tight budget. it seems that only a handful of cars were converted, including three MG Montego-based Warwicks. One of these, a Royal Blue example, cropped on eBay in October 2003, selling for just under £1200.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics 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 unfeasible adventures all across Europe.