Blog : Have you got a light, boy?

The wonderful world of BMC-to-Rover has given us a vast array of shared components found in many different vehicles, often with differing marques too.

Mike Humble has been pondering about this lately and has come up with some illuminating facts about component sharing.

Lotus Esprit

A shared heritage…

When it comes to parts, it’s a fact that BL has lent a helping hand to many other manufacturers. We all know the Lotus Esprit uses Rover SD1 rear lamp clusters and Vauxhall column stalks and that the highly-regarded exterior door handles for the Morris Marina, which the well-known Wilmot Breeden company which supplied British Leyland, were also used on the same Lotus, the Land Rover Discovery and Reliant Scimitar GTE and GTC just to mention a few.

But how many of you out there knew the parts sharing covers a much wider array of vehicles? If you have had exposure to the commercial/Public Service Vehicle (PSV) industry for a number of years like I have, the eagle-eyed parts spotter can uncover some weird and wonderful places for well-known pieces of trim and parts – often in the most unlikeliest of places.

In the list below,  we give you the vehicle and what it’s donated to other vehicles. We have avoided things like the Jaguar XJ220 sharing its rear lamp units with the Rover 200 (R8) – we all know that, and I’m sure the list isn’t exhaustive, but I’ll start you all off with the following. Feel free to fill in the blanks in the Comments section. We are sure you’ll find some of them quite surprising and one or two are from other marques, too.

Freight Rover Sherpa

Freight Rover Sherpa/Leyland DAF 200/400 Series: Lighting

Replacing the sealed beam 7in units on the Freight Rover, these Lucas square halogen items are also spotted on the original 1989 Land Rover Discovery and Seddon Atkinson 2-11 and 3-11 truck ranges launched in late 1986. A nifty little fact to share with you involves the connection between the later K2 and onwards Sherpa and the Seddon trucks. They were both from the pencil of Tom Karen – Chief Stylist and Managing Director of Letchworth-based Ogle Design.

Jaguar XJ: Interior door release handles

These items found their way into the ERF E and EC truck ranges and also the bulk of Foden’s trucks from the mid-1980s. The only difference is the powder-coated satin black finish rather than chromed.

Austin Maestro 1.3L

Austin Maestro: Lighting

Once again, as with Freight Rover, designed and supplied by Lucas, these Homofocal slim lamp units were fitted into the 1984-launched Leyland Roadrunner and remained standard fitment until 1998.

Ford Cortina Mk4: Lighting

The Mk4 launched in 1977 and the major reskin for 1980 – and known as the Cortina 80 – saw Ford donate its headlamps to the then all-new Cargo truck range that was introduced in 1981.

Ford Escort Mk4 interior

Ford Fiesta Mk3 and Escort Mk4: Heating and ventilation components

ERF launched the new EC-Series truck in 1993 that broke new grounds being the first UK-built truck to be more than 80% recyclable at the end of its life. The Ford Escort Mk4 donated the dashboard air vents (above) and, for the 1996 interior facelift, the EC-Series gained the heater control knob assembly from the Fiesta Mk3.

Metro, Maestro and Montego: Ventilation components

The Roadrunner was heavily updated for 1991 becoming the Leyland-DAF 45 Series. Along with the new, improved soft feel to the dashboard came the usage of Austin Rover’s fresh air vents on the cab passenger side. For the record though, the previous air vents had come from none other than the Triumph Acclaim.

Rolls Royce Silver Spirit: Lighting

Donated its headlamp units to the Leyland Royal Tiger Doyen.

Triumph Dolomite: Switchgear

The beloved Triumph Dolomite featured a hazard warning light pull switch that was smack bang in the middle of the instrument cluster. You’d find the same Lucas=sourced component, albeit mounted in a different place, on earlier Leyland Tiger coaches and the Bedford TL range of light – medium trucks.

Triumph Dolomite dashboard

There are many, many more – feel free to name some more in the Comments below and we’ll add them on to this page!

Mike Humble


  1. An ADO16 interior light lens new from a Nuffield dealer fitted my 1961 Ford 107E perfectly, replacing the yellowed original and doubling the light output. Still had to turn it on manually though, no door switches.

  2. The Esprit borrowed heavily. The rectangular dash warning lamps as per the “Fasten Belts” lamp on the Dolomite. Also the switches were the same as the Princess. Interior door handles from the Maxi and the ashtrays from the Jaguar XJ.

  3. Aston Martin used the mazac/chrome plated Metro/Maestro/Montego exterior door handle (Willmot/Rockwell) LDV Sherpa used 90/110 exterior door handle (PMC). P38a used Volvo 440 exterior door handle (Huf). Jaguar XK and first XF used Volvo exterior door handle.(Huf). Defender used Rover 200 (SD3) pre face-lift interior release handle I think. Freelander 1 used the R3 Rover 200 exterior door handle (ADAC) they didn’t fit because they had been modified to match an incorrect panel and were machined for the life of the vehicle. Big problem when the tools went to China in 2005!

  4. The 1988 Aston Martin Virage used a Ford Fiesta Key and lock – why is my question would you use a cheap product on an expensive car?

    • You need a lock, you need a key. The investment cost is huge, and not affordable for such a low volume manufacturer. The Ford part was not a cheap part! It was a high volume high quality part. AM had to buy the best parts they could from a volume manufacturer that was prepared to sell to them… The steering lock was probably the important bit.
      More recently the key has become an important bit of jewellery and AM are no strangers to this!

      • Mhalliwe, they were one of the worst locks out there! They were certainly the worst lock in the Ford back catalogue, with the Sierra and Granada not using it, just the Fiesta, Escort and the Transit. The cost difference, if my memory is still working, was about £3. When you are making a supermarket you don’t buy the cheapest lock, and probably easiest to break into, do you? Well as Chris Gardner said, yep they do!

        • Daveh. That CAPS lock on the Sierra/ Granada was a total disaster with a serious security flaw. As I said the column lock was probably the driver, though they also wanted a skin mounted door lock. Those Nieman locks were much of a muchness at the time, not great for corrosion but OK, and typical. I do know the engineer responsible if you really want to know…….

  5. I can improve on the Virage, DaveH: the seven figure McLaren F1 has door locks from a period Daihatsu van!

    Meanwhile, although being solidly Triumph based, the 4-cylinder Bond Equipes used tail lights from the HA Viva SL90, and the 2 litre model had the tail lights from the PB Cresta.

    The 2 Litre also had bumpers from the Triumph 1300 (modified at the front), headlight and bonnet trims from the Mk.1 2000 and door handles from the Spitfire Mk.3

  6. Eighties Bristols, probably the most exclusive and rarest of British luxury cars, used tail lights from the Bedford CF van, which looked cheap on such expensive cars.

  7. It wasn’t just Leyland lending out, it was Leyland borrowing in. Jaguar borrowed from GM all the time. Power steering pump, ac compressor, TH400 transmission… even little bits like the roll bar brackets apparently. It wasn’t just GM. Series III XJ6/XJS and similar period RR have door mirrors straight off a Jeep Grand Wagoneer, but with different plastic plinths to get the angle right. The Series II cars had different chrome mirrors, also off an AMC Marlin…. Which shares its transmission with the early Jaguar V12 automatics before switching to the TH400. in USA only our Series III XJ6 had side marker lamps off an MGB. I think the XJS door handle ended up on the MG RV8. Where were the RV8 headlights from, some sort of Porsche I think?

  8. Rolls were another one. The Shadow had GM transmission, Hydramatic or the Turno Hydramatic, while the suspension was licensed from Citroen.

  9. I had a TVR Griffith 500, it had Upside down Vauxhall Cavalier Mk3 rear lights, Cavalier switchgear, Ford sierra brakes, Ashtrays from a Mini, and I think the seats were retrimmed Ital/BL items. not to mention the Rover V8 engine is a high state of tune.

  10. The end parts of the Vauxhall Victor FA bumpers were popular with coach body builders.

    Rover SD1 rear lights were used on a few sports cars.

    The BL era interior lights were used for many years in Rovers.

  11. The Sherpa 400 Series chassis cab (and Convoy etc derivatives) used the Leyland T45 rear cab windows – and they sit so well that it must surely have been planned from the outset?
    Discovery 1 used rear lamp units from Maestro van

    Discovery 2 used door hinges from Rover 800 Coupe (which were very strong to cope with the huge Coupe doors)

    Getting more fundamental, Lotus 5 speed box from Eclat/Elite era used gear train from Austin Maxi – worked perfectly well in an inline RWD configuration…

    Panther DeVille used Maxi/1800/3 litre doors. Kallista etc used MG Midget doors and windscreen (as did some of the Brooks Stevens pastiche cars – Excalibur?). Ginetta G10 used MGB windscreen. There must be dozens more.

    Don’t think you can count things like GM/Chrysler/Ford etc engines and transmissions as they were offered widely across the industry as package deals. Component companies associated with major car makers, Delco etc. also sold as widely as they possibly could across all marques, rivals or not!

    • The Sherpa 400 used the complete rear panel from the narrow version of the C40 cab, which was the one used on the Roadrunner

  12. As the article states, lots of stuff was found in the PSV world in this way.

    The MCW and later Optare MetroRider minibus had Ford Escort Mk III headlights and indicators….with rear lights from the cabriolet!

    Marshall C37 bus bodies used Mk III Fiesta headlights and indicators

    Various Plaxton bodies from the Premiere to the Pointer and President appear to have later found their rectangular headlights used in the “new” Rolls-Royce Phantom back in 2003 – they’re certainly the same shape and size!

    Northern Counties had a range of double deck bodies marketed variously as Countybus and Palatine I which shared headlights with the Mk2 Ford Transit.

  13. I can’t for the life of me believe that I didn’t see the Maestro headlights on the Leyland Roadrunner. They looked like they were designed specifically for the Roadrunner because they fitted the design perfectly.
    Also, I believe that the taillamps on the 1978 Volkswagen Transporter Type 2 Van were the same units used on the Mercedes 208 and 308 Bremen Vans.
    The Fabulous MG X Power SV had Fiat Punto headlamps and Fiat Coupe taillamps, as well as the Ford Mustang 4.6 litre V8.
    The 1990s Dennis Sabre Fire Truck used Ford Cargo exterior door handles and steering wheel. The indicator lenses are familiar as well but I can’t place them.
    I may be wrong, but have the later ERF E Series and the Scania 2 and 3 Series got the same headlamps ?

  14. Used to drive a Mk 1 Mondeo Estate, pulled up behind an Aston Martin DB7, noticed it had the same door locks as my Mondeo, I was impressed my diesel load lugger had Aston Martin parts, my friends weren’t convinced when I told them!

  15. The Lotus Esprit not only used SD1 rear lights but also used TR7 and then Sherpa front indicator/ sidelights, as did the Excel. The Peter Stevens Esprit also used Sherpa sidelights initially but rear lights were Renault GTA units (which he had seen when watching Howard’s Way).

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