BMC Overseas : Austin X6/Kimberley

These Antipodean specials were based on the ADO17 (note the doors), but were treated to unique front and rear styling.

It could be said that the Kimberley and Tasman look rather like the four-door Maxi that was never put into production, but any attempt to dress-up the design failed, in truth. The car was phased out in 1974 to make way for the Leyland P76.

Austin Tasman - identifiable by its single headlamp treatment, front bench seat and "poverty" spec
Austin Tasman – identifiable by its single headlamp treatment, front bench seat and “poverty” spec

Austin Kimberley
Austin Kimberley

Austin Kimberley
Austin Kimberley

Austin Kimberley
Austin Kimberley

The Morris versions of Kimberley and Tasman, as sold in New Zealand.
The Morris versions of Kimberley and Tasman, as sold in New Zealand.

Brief specifications

Engine capacity:2227cc 6-cylinders in-line, transversely mounted OHC
Transmission:Four speed transmission, front-wheel-drive
Compression ratio:8.6:1
Maximum power:103 PS (DIN) at 5500rpm
Maximum speed:99mph (161km/h)
Launch date:December 1970

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

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.
Keith Adams


  1. Seems you are missing here the Leyland Australia Morris 1500, another unique adaption of a UK model. Updated 1100 with slightly more curvacious styling larger rear lights and a bonnet bulge to accomodate the 1500 E series with 5 speed box. It had two things going for it over the 1100 – that 5th gear and an oh so amazing long distance lope. The engine barely ticked over in 5th at 120kmh. Bad point…umm…that dashboard! A retrograde step with the hideous strip speedo and all the optional extras of an empty cardboard box. Loved it though…

    • I owned three Nomads. These were the 1100 with a 1500 and a Maxi tailgate. BLC must have gotten the name from the Chev from which they stole the P76 front suspension. Trouble with the 5 speed was that the casing had a tendency to brake. The cable operation of the gear selectors was, at best, slow and idiosyncratic; the motors overheated and adjusting the valves was a long and frustrating process.

      Just as they sorted the things out they were superseded by the RWD Marina. The rest of the world was going FWD but why go with the trend?

  2. I owned a number of Australian built BMC cars in the late 70’s and ealy 80’s inluding a 998 small wheeled moke an 1100S and finally a kimberley. These cars were all ahead of the opposition on many ways but were all let down by some flaws which could have been resolved by improved development. The kimberley was perhaps the most tragic of these as it had enormous potential. On release its styling interior space and interior were ahead of the opposition, it’s seats were fantastic. However, the e series engine was let down with fuel vapourisation problems, the cable gear change was horrible, the thermostatic fan was set a too high a cut in temperature and there was a propensity for rapid wear in the driveshafts. On release the car sold well but these issues gave the car a reputation for unreliability. All should have been sorted before its release. Considering its low development budget the car was good with a series of minor faults which should have been resolved prior to release. It was a sad truth that BMC England refused to accept that Australians required bigger cars than in the UK, (the widened Austin freeway concept is a case in point) and this slowed the development of local product which could have resolved the decline in sales. I finally sold in Kimberley in 1984 after the gearstick snapped off in peak hour traffic due to the cables seizing. I still have fond memories of this car as when it worked it was excellent.

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