Events : Report – BMC and Leyland Show 2017

The first weekend in July saw the return of the BMC and Leyland Show to the British Motor Museum in Gaydon. Having reached its fifth anniversary, the event can now safely be regarded as established. Under the scorching sun the visitors were treated to an abundance of BMC to MGR products, although the cars from the 1960s and ’70s dominated the show.

Words and photography: Alexander Boucke

The large area in front of the museum’s main building was nicely filled with over 400 cars from the various makes once united within British Leyland. Next to a crowd of individual entries, a number of clubs made their appearance, with, most notably, cars participating in the TR Drivers Club National TR8 & TR7 Sprint Day taking over roughly a quarter of the area. Leyland Princess, Rover 800 and Maxi Owners’ Clubs also had good turnouts, as did the Landcrab Owners’ Club International, who held their National Rally during the event.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Austin 3 Litre a record number of 11 cars assembled to form a magnificent display. This included one of the very few surviving early models (called pre-deLuxe) and a similarly rare left-hand-drive model.

To escape the sun for some time, there was the chance to visit the museum, which is more attractive than ever after last year’s refurbishment. Those hankering after the more obscure products or pipe dreams of BL were well served with the visit of the new reserve collection building opened in 2016.

Earlier attempts to establish a small autojumble seem to have been dropped. However, even without that AROnline will be back next year to enjoy the excellent combination of car meet and museum visit.

Alexander Boucke


  1. Wow, the whole production of the 3 litre in one neat line…
    I’m wondering if any of the Downton tuned cars survived – triple carbs on a bunch of bananas manifold and hopefully two by three branch exhaust manifolds (work well on the chrysler slant six too, especially the unique turbocharged version).
    I know Rootes did low compression versions (different heads) of their engines (Audax from 6.7 to 9), but did Leyland? A supercharged/turbocharged 3 litre would then be possible like the turbo Humber Sceptre someone kitbashed some years ago. I think it made upwards of 120-130hp.
    Some interesting cars on display, especially the BRMs.

    • About right, Jemma… And in all colours!

      The 3 Litre was unusual as a Downton product in two ways: It was possibly the most effective transformation from the standard production range (power up to 170bhp, fuel consumption down by 25% when in the hands of journalists). But Daniel Richmond was obviously happy with many things he found on that engine: The basic conversion left the engine untouched, had a new inlet manifold with a 3rd carb added and a new silencer system. The second stage included mild modifications to the head, but keeping standard valves. He was always happy with the manifold though and retained that.

      Maniflow can still do the original Downton exhaust system for the 3 Litre with twin pipes and one exit at each rear corner.

  2. Some great cars and nice photos at this show! The 3 Litre, Landcrabs Cambridge A60 & Princess’s look great. So does the Rover 200 SD3 – hard to think it’s over 30 years since that was launched.

    • Also the SD3 seems to be rarest of the three generations of the 200. I’d say in the last 10 years, I’ve seen the grand total of three. I reckon rust and a lack of interest killed many off early on, even though the Honda 1.3 engine was extremely reliable and surely the Vitesse has been worth saving in bigger numbers.

  3. I saw an extremely rare car at Beamish 50s Weekend, a Vauxhall Victor FA. Due to a terrible rust problem that killed most of them off by the mid sixties, the original Victor survives in penny numbers. It’s a shame as the American styling and two tone paintwork, not to mention a rugged engine, makes these excellent classics, and in the late fifties, this was Britain’s most exported car. ( Canadians apparently loved the cut down American look).

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