Having a love affair with ‘The Firm’ gives us, as car enthuiasts of a defunct marque, countless opportunities to discuss a miriad of ‘what if’s’, ‘If only’s’ and ‘Why’s’.
One which has struck me of late is, at the height of the badge-engineering frenzy of the mid-to-late 1960s, why more wasn’t made of the products the connected over-seas companies were churning out. If the tooling wasnt right, why not import the sections/parts required from the over-seas operations at Authi/Leyland Australia etc in knocked-down form? Rocket-science it aint!
Don’t get me wrong, not everything would have been suitable; I can’t personally see a use for the Australian market Morris Nomad with the Maxi so close to production, there definitely were cars that could have worked however.
Exhibit A is the Austin Kimberley/Tasman. A really conventional three-box design based on the Landcrab; arguably more modern looking than the landcrab but with an identical centre section, would it have been so difficult to knock out as the Morris badged variant for UK consumption? Closely related enough to be made cheaply, different enough to keep brand loyalists happy? Who knows.
Exhibit B has to be the Austin Apache/Victoria, gorgeous little ‘Triumph-esque‘ ADO16 variant that, again would have surely kept our Riley/Wolesley/MG customers happier than driving an Austin 1100 with a different front panel?
The jury could be out with both of these examples at what badge they should/could have worn, but I just really really feel that, rather than just changing a badge, they could have made more use of the whole organisation.
Neither of these cars would have looked out of place on British roads and would have stood the test of time, as well, if not better, than their stable-mates.