We lift the lid on the elegant Italian versions of the popular BMC 1100/1300 range.
The Innocenti IM3, I4 and I5 were very appealing versions of this stalwart British saloon, although sales were hampered in their home country due to their high prices.
Innocenti IM3, I4 and I5: the pleasing Italians
The first BMC 1100-based Innocenti – the IM3 – was so-named as it was the third Innocenti-Morris joint venture, following the A40 and 950 Spider. It was launched as a Morris in the spring of 1963, and was joined the following year by a more basic, Austin-badged model.
Production of the Morris models ended in 1970, while the Austin continued until 1974. The 1275cc A-Series engine never made it into any of the Innocenti-built ADO16, though it was used in the Innocenti Mini Cooper 1300 and the later ‘new’ Mini 120.
Morris models by Innocenti
The Morris IM3/IM3S series was produced from 1963-1970. Launched in the Spring of 1963, the original IM3 featured modifications to the headlamps, fascia and interior. It had the twin-carb MG 1100 engine and, interestingly, a more upright steering wheel, made possible by the insertion of a universal joint in the steering column.
Thus, the column disappears under the dashboard, instead of going straight down to the pedals as in the UK cars. The Morris IM3S (as pictured at the top of this page) was a mid-term revision of the IM3.
Austin models by Innocenti
The Austin I4/I4S/I5 series was produced from 1964 to 1973. The Austin I4 was essentially an Austin 1100, built under licence with the standard single-carb engine and without the significant restyling applied to the IM3. The Austin I4S was a downmarket version of the Morris IM3S.
The Austin I5, which replaced the I4 in the late ’60s, was a minor facelift of the I4 featuring a redesigned fascia plus a wider grille similar to the Austin 1100 MkII, but retaining the MkI car’s rear wings. In 1974, the I5 gave way to the locally-built version of the Allegro (called the ), thus marking the end of the Innocenti ADO16 line.
NB: Some sources refer to the I4 and I5 models as ‘J4’ and ‘J5’, but they are the same thing. The confusion is thought to have arisen from the fact that the car’s badge featured the stylised ‘I’ from Innocenti’s logo, which in isolation could easily be mistaken for a ‘J’.
This page was contributed by Declan Berridge, additional pictures supplied by Gaetano Zagra.
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