Minis with a little more
By GEOFFREY CHARLES, Motoring Correspondent
For the second time in two years British Leyland’s Minis receive a face-lift today with three new models joining the range . The Austin and Morris labels are dropped and the little front wheel-drive car will be known simply as the Mini, although it will continue to be marketed throughout the world by both Austin and Morris dealers. The newcomers are the Mini Clubman, the Clubman Estate and the 1275 G.T.
Wizard prangs at Earls Court
As the last few days tick by to the opening of the Earl’s Court Motor Show next Wednesday, the publicity men of the two major contenders on the home market-British Leyland and Ford-are already getting in each other’s hair.
The latest cause celebre is a film produced by British Leyland for showing to its dealers to promote the new Mini Clubman announced today. This features three of the new super-minis complete with R.A.F. red. white and blue roundels and driven by heavily moustached types wearing flying helmets circa Battle of Britain. Performing suitably intricate manoeuvres they chase and “destroy” an “enemy” who disappears in a cloud of bright green smoke.
Unfortunately. the *enemy” – despite his huge black Luftwaffe crosses-is clearly identifiable as a Ford Anglia. And just in case there is any doubt the film-makers have included a close-up of the victorious Mini leader adding another Ford insignia to several already decorating his cockpit door. Another rather significant feature is the introductory talk provided by the American ex-Ford executive who is now sales director of the Austin Morris division. Filmer Paradise.
Ford’s view of all this? “British Leyland really are becoming rather pathological about us and in a way it is quite flattering that they go to such lengths to identify our cars as their major competition.”
Would Ford retaliate? “We would never react in this rather childish way. We are-to say the least-a little more adult.”
Wearing a rather pained expression a British Leyland spokesman told us: “This was just one piece of a very humorous film which featured the Mini in many settings, including prehistoric times. We don’t need to knock Ford, our sales figures do that for us.”
A mass meeting of Standard Triumph car body workers voted to continue their six week-old unofficial strike. The stoppage has resulted in lay offs and short-time working for nearly 10,000.
But nearly 4,000 workers at Morris Motors, Oxford, laid off yesterday because of disputes over proposed short time on the Austin Maxi line, are expected back today.