When badge-engineering was at its height, BMC’s middle-market cars played host to a myriad of marque names. The ADO16 and Farina saloons were the most numerous, as they were offered in Austin, Morris, MG, Wolseley, Riley and Vanden Plas versions.
The larger ADO17’s shape never really lent itself well to this re-grilling, but it was still sold in a number of different forms. As we have seen, the Vanden Plas 1800 never made it to the market, and neither did the Riley and MG versions, although that did not stop Dick Burzi‘s Longbridge office drawing up several proposals.
The MG 1800 on this page did not originate at Longbridge, but it does offer a fascinating idea of how this model could have looked, had it made it to the showrooms…
These pictures are from a 1970 issue of HIGH ROAD, a consumer magazine run by British Leyland to replace all the various marque magazines that had existed before the merger. It didn’t run for very long, only a couple of years or so.
The ‘MG 1800’ was a private concoction by a gent who was notorious for building specials – one Colonel Rixon Bucknall (a sort of J. Bonington Jagworth character). He had a pre-war-style Jaguar special based on an XK140 chassis with a 245 bhp XK engine [RB 1903], and also an MGB tourer converted into a four seater, with a 120bhp Downton engine. The MG Landcrab replaced the MGB, and had a 112bhp Downton-tuned engine. The grille surround is from an MG 1100. He used to spend quite a lot on these specials, and had everything done professionally (note how the headlamp/bonnet area of the MG 1800 has been quite neatly re-modelled). I’ve never seen any reference to any of his cars coming on to the market, but he would have looked after them well, so they should have survived.
…from an article by Phillip Llewellin in HIGH ROAD, August 1970
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