It’s been a quiet year for my Austin 1300. After the joy of getting it in 2021, this year has been rather overshadowed by the arrival of an Audi 80 CD on the fleet. You see, the Austin, as lovely as it is, is cosmetically challenged, while the Audi, with just 20,000 miles on the clock, is as fresh and usable as the day it came out of the factory.
So, it’s been sat undercover, resting up during this year, while the 80 has been basking in the heat of the classic car summer show season. But a recent trip with my son to where the ADO16 is stored had the covers pulled off – and, before you could say Jack Robinson, he was turning the key, and firing it up. Fitting, given it’s the BMC 1100’s 60th birthday…
Now, considering this car had been parked up for months, that’s quite an achievement – most of mine wither and die after a week’s inactivity.
As soon as I set eyes on it, I can’t help but smile. It’s a reminder of simpler times, when cars could be 12ft long and still accommodate a family, while travelling along a British A-road at 60mph was something to savour, not endure. The Limeflower paint isn’t perfect, and if the sun’s not out, it looks quite dour and muddy, but it really doesn’t subtract from the undoubted rightness of the design. I love it.
My son loves it too. He’s 23, and other than seeing ADO16s in period TV and film, his only real connection is through me. But, despite that, he loves the way it looks – and, thanks to me now being classified as a collector by dint of the number of cars I have covered by my insurer Hagerty, he’s insured to drive it. And as a result, this had us bring the car back to my place, with him behind the wheel.
Seeing the car on the road being driven by someone else, is a sheer pleasure. As well as loving the way the ADO16 looks, it looks great in motion. It floats and bobs along the road, whereas most modern cars bludgeon them into submission. More than that, though, it sits four square and looks thoroughly stable. In my rear view mirror, I could swear I saw him grinning.
Anyway, now it’s home, he’s happily working away on it. Compared with his Audi A6, the 1300 is simplicity itself, with everything accessible. Heck, the wiring diagram could fit on the back of a cigarette packet.
Jobs to do are finally being done. The new carpet set is going in, it’s getting a full service, and the exhaust is being rehung with the proper brackets, rather than the steel cable I used. More excitingly still, I expect there will be a working stereo in it soon (although I adore the way it sounds, so possibly won’t use it).
In addition, he’ll probably end up fixing the temperature gauge. I really should stop leaving things to chance! I really need to find a local garage prepared to take him on as an apprentice mechanic.
- Concepts and prototypes : Austin Montego Estate (LM11E) - 17 February 2024
- Concepts and prototypes : Austin Montego (LM11 saloon) - 17 February 2024
- The converters : Creech Mystique (BMC 1100 Hatchback) - 14 February 2024