The Australian market featured a number of interesting variations on the BMC 1100/1300 theme which we didn’t get on the home market. The Morris Nomad and 1500 OHC had the most potential of all…
This Nomad might have kick-started the hatchback family car market years before the arrival of the Volkswagen Golf… or negated the need for the Austin Maxi.
Morris 1500 and Nomad: the optimum ADO16s
In 1964, around a year-and-a-half after its UK launch, a locally-built (but otherwise fairly standard) version of the Morris 1100 was launched in Australia, where it was sold alongside the Mini and Austin A40 Farina. In August 1967, the Morris 1100 was joined by the 1100S, which actually had the 1275cc A-Series engine of the UK’s 1300 models.
Both these models were replaced in mid-1969 by what were collectively known as the Morris 1500 Series models (below). This extension of the ADO16 theme came about as part of the development programme of the basic car, both in terms of body style (more of that below) and powertain options. The 1500 was effectively a hybrid car developed (in the UK) and then adapted specifically for the Australian market and using a lightly-modified Mk2 ADO16 bodyshell under the codename YDO15.
Dropping the A-Series engines of the ADO16 for the manual models, the Morris 1500 Series cars were powered by the new overhead cam 1500cc E-Series engine used in the Austin Maxi. Transmission choices were initially four-speed manual, although the Maxi’s five-speeder was added later. Interestingly, the AP automatic version of this car retained the 1275cc A-Series engine, as was thus known as the Morris 1300 Automatic.
However, the most intriguing of the member of the Morris 1500 Series models was the Nomad, another offshoot of the ADO16-replacement programme in the UK. This was a six-light version of the 1500 with a Maxi-like rear-end – including the all-important hatchback – initially developed in the UK, shipped to Australia, and finalised there under the codename YDO9. The Morris 1500 Series range incorporated the 1500 OHC, 1300 Automatic, Nomad and Nomad Automatic.
As was the norm in this market, enjoyed a short production run. Both this and the Morris 1500 were updated over the years to comply with the progressive requirements of the Australian Design Rules (which governed car safety), before being phased out in 1972 (after production ceased in 1971), in favour of the upcoming Morris Marina.
The Morris Nomad joins the Austin Apache and Authi Victoria in being a development of the BMC 1100/1300 that was never sold in the UK. It also showed that there was still much potential in this model range, even though it was passed over in favour of the development of the Austin Allegro from 1969 to its launch in 1973.
Morris 1500 Series timeline
The Morris 1500 Series is launched in 1500 OHC, 1300 Automatic, Nomad and Nomad Automatic forms. Sales for the year are reported as 5518.
Manual models now offered in five-speed as well as four-speed forms. The 1500 OHC now available with the option of a ‘Luxury Pack’ with individual (as opposed to bench) front seats, wood for the interior and stainless steel highlights for the exterior. Sales for the year are 10,004, incorporating 8379 OHC-engined cars and 1625 automatics.
Production ceases at the end of the year after a very short run. Sales for the year are 5087 OHC-engined cars and 1612 Automatics. BMC stockpiles models in anticipation of the launch of the Morris Marina.
Sales of 1500 Series cars for the year are all of 1971-produced cars. The comprised of 1515 OHC-engined models and 625 Automatics, with a further 30 being registered in 1973.
Timeline data via the 1100 Club