Our Cars : Keith’s 1300 gets some attention

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.

Keith Adams


  1. Good to hear Keith’s A1300 is still alive & kicking. I will always have affection for the ADO16, it was one of the first cars I remember from childhood. I still think my brother’s Morris 1300GT was one of the best looking cars he owned.

  2. Still one of the world’s great cars – and dare one say it, possibly greater even than the Mini?

    • Agree. Less compromised than its little cousin. Just s shame BMC let it wither snd die, instead of refreshing it.

      • Exactly, giving it some decent rustproofing early on & a reskin in the early 1970s could have helped things.

  3. Fond memories! Had several in our poverty stricken youth. Remember taking a beige one down to the south coast on a hot summer’s day. We had to keep stopping and let everything cool down a bit – she was very tired and had ‘ends’ ratting and the oil light was on most of the time. She got us there and back though – bless her,

    • My first car in orange with GT wheel trims loved it had MG metro style interior made from offcuts from the longbridge sewing room (ex apprentice) but terminal clutch judder killed it

  4. A friend’s mother used to collect us from school in her mk3 dark green four door. It was a late model and I had no idea at the time that they were still being made. They had essentially been around my whole life at that point. Lovely little cars and in so many ways superior to the intellectually redundant cars we endure today.

    • This what happens so often on these threads. Each successive comment gets increasingly rose- tinted, and then it happens. The subject of the piece, from many decades ago, is declared superior to present day cars. Let’s keep it real guys.

  5. @Standhill, its called nostalgia. Its what keeps this site going. I had a 1300 as my first car forty years ago. Yes it was fun to drive but it was also very rusty underneath and turned out to have severe mechanical issues too. In short it was the proverbial pig in a poke bonnet. But I still miss it, kind of!

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