The cars : Morris Marina – the Danish ADO16

Although the BMC 1100/1300 was never built in Denmark, it was first introduced there within weeks of the UK launch badged as the Morris Marina.

It remained available in one form or another for around six months after sales in the UK had fizzled out. Here, former BL Denmark dealer Erik Loye tells its story…


Morris Marina: The unexpected delight

In August 1962, shortly after the BMC 1100/1300 had been launched in the UK, the Morris 1100 was exported to Denmark in small numbers, where it was to be sold as the Morris Marina. However, on 1 September, the announcement of a new tax regime brought car sales grinding to a halt, and consequently most of those initial cars were destined to remain as dealer demonstrators.

However, by January 1963, sales of the Morris Marina and MG 1100 (which was sold as the MG Sports Sedan, as it was in the US) began in earnest.

Later that same year, the separate Austin distributors introduced the Austin 1100 and Vanden Plas Princess 1100. In the Spring of 1966, the ranges were expanded with the Morris Marina and Austin 1100 two-door saloons, and automatic transmission became available on all versions.

Morris Marina ADO16

Around New Year 1968, the Mk2 body-style was introduced. The 1100 Mk2 was available only in basic, two-door form (with the centrally-mounted, Mini-like speedometer).

The 1300s, on the other hand, were sold as the Morris Marina GT and Austin 1300, in Super Deluxe trim with the option of two- and four-door models, along with the four-door MG 1300.

Early 1969 saw the two-door MG 1300 Mk2 launched, with the slightly de-tuned Cooper S engine and, in 1970, the Austin and Morris 1300 GTs appeared, with the same engine. Somewhat confusingly, the Morris 1300 GT was sold alongside the standard, single-carb Marina GT.

The Danish launch brochure for the Morris 1100 (closely based on a similar UK item) proclaimed: "Now I can write a letter at 100km/h (62mph) in the new Morris Marina".
The Danish launch brochure for the Morris 1100 (closely based on a similar UK item) proclaimed: ‘Now I can write a letter at 100km/h (62mph) in the new Morris Marina.’

The Morris Traveller, Wolseley and Riley ADO16s were never officially sold in Denmark. In 1972, the Morris distributors discontinued the Marina saloon in favour of its newly-available Roy Haynes-designed (ADO28) namesake.

Around the same time, the Austin distributors dropped the four-door ADO16 models, leaving only the Austin 1100 and 1300 two-door saloons on sale, along with small numbers of the Austin 1100 Countryman.

There was therefore a Morris Marina 1100 in Danish pricelists right through to 1972 when the saloon versions in Morris form disappeared from Denmark (as they did from the UK) to avoid a clash with the new ADO28 rear-drive Morris Marina, British Leyland having adopted the name for global application on their latest model. The ADO16 range remained available for a few more years in Denmark (and the UK) badged as the Austin 1100/1300.

So, there really was a Morris Marina 1100

By the time the Mk3 models were introduced in late 1971 (pictured above), the front-drive ADO16 Morris Marina range in Denmark had been reduced to two models: the Morris 1300 station-car (the equivalent Traveller was the only Mk3 ADO16 to be offered in the UK with Morris badging) – and also an entry-level 1100 Mk3 two-door saloon (which the UK did not get with Morris branding). As seen above, this was officially called the Morris Marina 1100.

The latter car did overlap briefly with the ‘new’ rear-drive Morris Marina in Danish showrooms, but undercut it on price. And though there was potential for confusion, there appears to have been little. But these end-of -the-line front-drive Morris Marinas were not long for the world, disappearing when Denmark amalgamated the Austin and Morris dealer channels for 1973.

Sales of the 1100/1300 saloons finally ended in January 1975, although during January and February that year, 1015 examples of the four-door, 998cc Austin de Luxe (below) were imported from Spain in order to meet continuing demand for the model.

By Erik Loye, with significant contributions from Chris Cowin.

Austin De Luxe

Erik Loye
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