Tested : Austin 1300 GT vs Triumph 1300 TC

There’s a lot of talk about premium small cars these days, but we’ve been here before. The Austin 1300 GT and Triumph 1300 TC are two that were playing the game more than 50 years ago…

But which was the best in 1970 – and what’s the preferred choice today? Keith Adams decides.

The Austin 1300 GT takes on the Triumph 1300 TC – both rivals, both built by British Leyland at the turn of the 1970s
The Austin 1300 GT takes on the Triumph 1300 TC – both rivals, both built by British Leyland at the turn of the 1970s

Best 1970s small saloons: Introduction

Ah, ‘GT’ and ‘TC’, two magical combinations of letters. Granted, they don’t mean too much on their own – well, maybe ‘GT’ does, but aside from referring to a cartoon cat far too clever for his own good, ‘TC’ is relatively meaningless – but apply them to a classic car and, suddenly, you’re into the realms of performance and the promise of lean, mean speed.

Two cases in point were British Leyland’s Austin and Morris 1300 GT of 1969 to 1975, and the Triumph 1300 TC of 1965 to 1970. Of the two, it was the 1300 GT that was the more cynical cash-in at the expense of the public, while Triumph’s 1300TC was just one of the myriad of confusing models that made up the eventual Dolomite range, without doubt one of the most bafflingly complex series of saloons ever to come from a mainstream British manufacturer.

Both cars offered the veneer of extra capability, together with an extra touch of glitz but, when it all came down to it, there really wasn’t that much being given away compared to what was already available within the families.

Austin 1300 GT details

Throughout the 1960s and into the ’70s, BMC’s 1100 and 1300 cars were permanently near the top of the list of British best sellers. There were always ‘performance’ versions in addition to the common-or-garden Austin and Morris variants, with badge-engineered MG and Riley models bringing a little extra pep to the line-up. But it wasn’t until the Seventies was about to dawn that livelier enthusiasts of Austin and Morris had their own car to get excited about.

Unveiled in 1969, the GT (with Austin or Morris badges at the front) was a complete change of character for the 1300. What had been a worthy but humble family saloon was now attempting to be a road-burner with looks to match. Special ‘alloy effect’ wheeltrims were fitted, along with a black grille, all the GT badges that British Leyland didn’t have space to paste on the Mini Clubman 1275GT , and that most essential of sporty add-ons from this era, a vinyl roof.

Colour schemes were flamboyant, except inside where black was the order of the day, a shade no doubt chosen to emphasis the extra dials that came with the car as well as stress this was a car that meant business. The twin-carb 70bhp A-Series engine was straight out of the MG 1300 – quiet all those of you at the back whispering ‘So what was the point then?” – and there was also slightly lowered suspension too. Or so British Leyland said. Actually, there wasn’t, but it sounded good at the time. Intended to attract buyers who wanted something a little different to what their parents were driving, visually at least, 1300GTs stood out from the crowd. Even if they didn’t accelerate away from them that quickly.

Triumph 1300 TC details

While all these GT shenanigans were going on, Triumph was part of the British Leyland empire but, early on in the BMC 1100/1300’s life, it had been a separately owned direct rival to Austin and Morris. The models which were emerging from Longbridge and Cowley at the time seemingly dictated that front-wheel drive was now the way to go for small cars and so Triumph attempted its own version in 1965.

The Triumph 1300 was the result, a trim-looking Michelotti saloon using a Herald engine and all-independent suspension. It was the first front-wheel-drive car from Triumph and a worthy competitor to what BMC was producing. The TC version, with its useful increase in power, came along in 1967, but proved to be very short-lived. When the formation of British Leyland brought Triumph and BMC under the same umbrella, rationalisation dictated that one of the 1300 models had to go.

It was the Triumph that lost the toss, although it was far from the end for the bodyshell. Triumph converted it to rear-wheel drive and it went on to form the basis for 1500s, Toledos and Dolomites, right the way up to 1980, long after the original BMC 1300 had ceased to be.

Best 1970s small saloons: Character

The words ‘mutton’ and ‘lamb’ can’t help but spring to mind with the 1300GT. It is not a car that particularly lends itself to being jazzed up, and the racy, fashion-conscious features such as the wheeltrims and the vinyl roof sit rather oddly on the very Sixties-looking car. That may not be good news for your laughter lines, but at least this is a car that will make you smile every time you see it, because it looks slightly self-conscious, almost embarrassed, by what had been done to it.

The character doesn’t stop at the outside. On the road, it’s like an exuberant puppy – eager, straining at the leash, and quite unable to keep still for one moment, the latter thanks to its Hydrolastic suspension. Not a true GT car, maybe, but one that so badly, badly, desperately wants to be one and tries so, so hard.

Meanwhile, the Triumph is far more grown-up about things. It’s quite staid by comparison to the Austin 1300GT, like a scaled-down version of the Triumph 2000 saloon. The Austin is all high spirits, the 1300TC comes across as more restrained and dignified. It’s not, actually, once you get used to it, but on first appearance and drive, the Triumph is a car where the pace is deliberately set to be slower.

Best 1970s small saloons: Performance

Austin 1300 GT

These may be, ostensibly, performance saloons, but it’s not really performance that anybody who has driven a real GT would recognise. Granted, pit one against a standard model of the car it is based on, and the GT and the TC will have the edge, but out in the real world – particularly the real world of today – and that edge becomes very blunt very quickly. It’s not too much of a surprise to find the cars are very evenly matched…with almost identical engine sizes and power outputs, and very similar weights, they could hardly not be. Top speeds are the same and, on paper at least, the sprint to 60mph will be achieved around the 16 second mark.

Certainly, out on the road, the cars feel on a par with each other, although the revvy A-Series engine’s liveliness does make it feel like it has something of an extra edge over the Triumph. That may be the Mini effect working through, though, as most cars fitted with a chattery A-Series engine feel faster than they actually are – particularly if they’re front-wheel drive.

However, around town, both classics feel enthusiastic enough, and they’re less stressed at motorway speeds than most of their brethren, particularly the Austin. It can maintain 70mph or so without sounding like it is about to give up and die at any moment, and there’s still some useful extra in reserve at that speed – mind you, it’s noisy at this kind of velocity. At the other end of the scale, both cars are quite tractable at low speeds, with handy amounts of torque for driving around town.

Best 1970s small saloons: Handling and ride

Yes, there’s a big Mini thing going on with the 1300GT, and yes, that does make it extremely chuckable and enjoyable on bends. With sharp rack and pinion steering, the steering is responsive, and there’s an element of go kart in the way it treats corners. An anti-roll bar underneath keeps any pitchy behaviour to a minimum and is another factor in reinforcing a driver’s confidence when behind the sporty-looking wheel.

With its all independent suspension, the Triumph isn’t that far behind in handling terms, but it doesn’t quite have the same quality. That may be because it is the slightly heavier and wider car or just because the Austin’s wheels are closer to each corner. But the Triumph feels a little less sure of itself when attacking curves, and just a touch more prone to understeer. It’s there with the Austin as well, as it invariably is with most front-wheel-drive cars, but it seems to afflict the Triumph at lower speeds.

On smooth to moderately rough roads, the Austin’s Hydrolastic is fine. Well, actually, it’s more than fine, it’s excellent, giving almost hydraulic Citroën levels of ride quality. However, it’s when you get onto seriously undulating roads that the fun sets in. Because the car is under-damped, there is a lot of vertical bounce and, after it’s stopped being genuinely funny, it all starts to become a little tiresome. Still, it’s not the sort of movement that ever becomes genuinely unpleasant or jarring, and it is one of the things that helps define the 1300’s essential character.

Over on the Triumph, with its conventional springing, the ride is slightly harder, but far from uncomfortable. It has slightly better upholstered seats – with the Herald already in production, Triumph pitched its 1300 more upmarket – which do a good job of cushioning passengers from road impurities. There’s good feedback from the steering wheel and, overall, the Triumph feels the more convincing sports(ish) saloon. Still, that won’t surprise most Triumph enthusiasts. The Austin cossets you more, but also tries its darndest to make you laugh like you’re on a trampoline on bumpy roads.

Best 1970s small saloons: Cabin and controls

Austin 1300 GT dashboard
Austin 1300 GT dashboard

For the 1300GT models, British Leyland put effort into at least making the interior look different from the standard models, and it’s all rather handsome inside, if a little on the dark side. The neat-looking drilled sports steering wheel is a nice compliment to the three gauges set vertically into the dash, and the cabin of the car has a far more purposeful feel to it than other BMC1100/1300 cars. With almost a decade to get things right, the layout of the switchgear is much improved over previous incarnations of the range, and everything falls to hand easily.

There’s an impressive amount of space, as you’d expect from something penned by Alec Issigonis. Both front and rear passengers are treated to ample room to move around and, for such a compact car, five people inside is achieved surprisingly well.

Depending on your attitude towards BMC cars, the bus-like driving position, with the very high steering wheel, is either a plus or a minus. It’s not that ergonomic at first, but once you’ve got used to it, which doesn’t take any more than a few miles, it all becomes second nature. Still, some might still not be impressed about the idea of driving a pseudo-GT sports saloon as if it was a large passenger transport vehicle!

Triumph 1300 TC dashboard
Triumph 1300 TC dashboard

The Triumph concentrates more on luxury touches rather than trying to project a racy feel. With its wood panelling on the dashboard and the door tops, and the comprehensive instrumentation set into pod in front of the driver that vaguely echoes that of the Rover P5, the 1300TC is much more elegant inside. There’s no rev counter, which is a disappointment, but plenty of other things to look at instead, including the trademark Triumph ‘cheese segment’ warning panel that gives a good account of what is working and what has just gone wrong while you’re driving. The driving position is more conventional, with the wheel more vertical than horizontal, as it (almost) is in the Austin.

Good use of space is also an interior feature, with no transmission tunnel to get in the way of occupants. It feels very similar to the 1300GT in space terms inside despite the slightly larger exterior dimensions. Triumph chose to use slightly plusher, thicker seats rather than go for the maximum space possible as the Austin plumped for. And of course, there’s a bigger boot too. Speaking of which…

Best 1970s small saloons: Luggage space

There’s little contest in the competition to provide the most luggage space. Alec Issigonis may have been the master at creating interior space, but he wasn’t quite so adept at allowing room for luggage. The Austin’s boot isn’t small, but it’s not large either, and it’s certainly not as capacious as the Triumph, with its elongated rear section. There’s 11 cubic feet of storage space at the rear of the TC, with the spare wheel sitting in a well underneath so it doesn’t intrude. The Austin’s spare wheel also lives under the boot floor but, despite this, it still can only manage 9.5 cubic feet to the Triumph’s 11.

In real world terms, the Austin can manage several suitcases and/or other bulky items quite easily, but its sharply sloping bootlid is limiting. The horizontal top of the Triumph’s boot runs right to the end of the car, and this enables more, and bigger, items to be fitted in. However, the low loading lips of both, with the boot apertures going right down to bumper level, is useful and should ensure that few people have any difficulties getting items in the back, however heavy.

Best 1970s small saloons: Running costs

With a trusty old A-Series providing sterling service underneath the bonnet of the Austin, mechanical parts are plentiful and cheap. The engine that has provided motive power for so many British cars is well-served by specialists big and small and, although knowing the Mini, Minor or MG Midget part number that also corresponds to your Austin may be necessary when ordering, there aren’t likely to be any problems finding all the bits needed to make an Austin 1300 GT start, stop and everything in between.

Body panels are a trickier issue, but once you know where to look and don’t mind a little bit of searching if you don’t, then it’s all out there somewhere. However, if you want your 1300GT to remain a cheap ‘n’ cheerful classic runabout, then it will be important to keep on touch of the rust issue. BMC 1100/1300s are quite notorious for rust, with the British Leyland-produced cars among the worst offenders, and it’s one of the few aspects of the car that you might find yourself having to devote serious expenditure to if it gets too bad.

With its engine derived from the Triumph Herald and many parts shared with the later Dolomite, the general spares situation for the 1300TC is quite good as well, although there are less parties out there catering for it. As with the ‘other’ 1300, it is panels that are likely to be more of a problem than the grubby bits that go underneath. Commonality and standardisation can be terrific bonuses sometimes.

With engine sizes, power outputs and aerodynamics all similar, both cars return similar fuel consumption figures. As you’d expect from small, low-powered cars, they’re economical both around town and out on the open road, so petrol costs aren’t something you’ll need to concerned about at all, however expensive the pumps get.

And shame on you if you take either of these cars to garages for anything but the most complex of jobs. They’re both very easy to work on without too many specialist tools, with the 1300GT sharing a lot of the Mini’s qualities of being able to take apart and then put back together again. It’s just that the there’s a lot more room to work in, and you won’t skin your knuckles quite so often.

Best 1970s small saloons: Verdict

The Austin 1300GT is just so British Leyland that there’s no way we could leave it behind and drive home in the far more sensible Triumph – despite the latter being objectively the better car. With the lairy colour scheme, the slightly ill-judged attempts to sex up the image, and those vital touches such as the vinyl roof and the cheap and tacky looking wheeltrims, it is a car where fun could never be that far away.

It feels like an oversized Mini and has similar handling traits and the Hydrolastic suspension varies between totally brilliant and utterly inept, depending on the road surface. The Triumph feels like quite a serious car, whereas the Austin was something that made you laugh a lot more. In the long term, we suspect we’d find the Austin far more entertaining… and really, isn’t that what most of us are looking for with a classic car?

Especially, ahem, a GT…

Best 1970s small saloons: Ratings

Scores out of 10

Austin 1300GT Triumph 1300TC
Cabin and controls
Luggage space
Running costs


Austin 1300 GT Triumph 1300 TC
Engine 1275cc 4-cyl OHV 1296cc 4-cyl OHV
Power 70bhp at 6000rpm 75bhp at 6000rpm
Torque 74lb ft at 3250rpm 75lb ft at 4000rpm
Gearbox Four-speed manual Four-speed manual
Maximum speed 93mph 93mph
0-60mph 13.9 seconds 15.9 seconds
Economy 27.0mpg 27.0mpg
Fuel tank 8.0 gallons 11.8 gallons
Brakes Disc/Drum Disc/Drum
Steering Rack and pinion Rack and pinion
Dimensions 3727mm x 1533mm x 1346mm 3937mm x 1568mm x 1372mm
Weight 862kg 915kg


Keith Adams


  1. With regards to the 1300GT, plus the MG 1300 MKll and the short lived Riley 1300 Mkll, is that these cars were fitted with a detuned Mk3 Cooper S engine, this never seems to get mentioned. The differences being that the 1300GT didn’t have the 510/542 cam fitted, the carb needles were different and it used a distributor with a vacuum advance, but importantly it did have the ‘S’ head, plus a close ratio gearbox. I bought a 1300GT when new and having previously owned a Austin 1300, the peformance was noticibly different with a reduction of over 3 secs to 60. They were a great little car, very comfortable and with excellent road holding, what a shame this car wasn’t continually developed, it could have been today’s Golf, but as we all know we got the dreadful ALL AGRRO – end of story!

  2. I had two 1300 GTs, both with engines bored and stroked out to 1430cc giving around 125bhp, lowered, shocks + anti-roll bar at the front and variable bump stops plus stiffer anti roll bar at the back, 13 inch wheels with 185×70 tyres, bigger front disks and fibreglass front bodywork.

    They could out accelerate most cars on the road up to 60, revved up to 8,000, topped out at around 115mph, but still looked pretty stock – real ‘Q’ cars! And they returned around 35mpg.

    Great fun!

  3. I did read a test in Motorsport from 1972, with an Austin 1300 GT, and they reckoned the top speed was 96 mph and over 30 mpg was possible on most journeys, better than in this test( although the car was new then, not 45 years old, where things like this will deteriorate with age).
    The 1300 GT always sort of reminded you of that nice looking, pleasant girl at work who seemed inoffensive enough but a closer look revealed she was quite sinewy and was a black belt in karate, ie far more powerful and devastating than she looked from a distance.

    • That’s a good observation from Glenn! My brother once owned a Morris 1300GT (H reg in burnt orange). I remember as a passenger it felt pretty fast with good acceleration, I think in external appearance it was as sporty looking as the MG version too.

  4. Thought the 70 hp Austin 1300 GT had a 0-60 of 14 seconds rather than 15.6 seconds?

    Understand it was significantly heavier than the Mini and featured a detuned 1275cc Cooper S engine, yet TBH it compares rather unfavorably against the 82 hp 1294cc in the Simca 1100 TI had a 0-60 figure of about 11.59 seconds and 104-105 mph in spite of the Simca 1100 Ti being heavier than the Triumph 1300 TC at 935kg..

    Would the tuned 83 hp Twin-Carburetor engine in the MG-badged Authi Victoria that never reached production have improved matters for ADO16 or would other changes have been required to make it into a hot hatch precursor (sans the hatchback)?

    • At the same time other sites claim the MG 1300 mkII was capable of a 0-60 of 12.9 seconds and top speed of 95 mph, while the 75 hp SImca 1100 Special (1204/1294) had a 0-60 of 13.23 seconds (1204cc) / 12.65 seconds (1294cc) and top speed of 96-98 mph.

  5. A workmate ran an Austin 1300 GT in the 1970s, his comments were that the car was capable of crisp engine performance after being serviced but would slip out of tune within a few hundred miles until the next service, he also had recurrent issues with the exhaust downpipe being repaired by welding or brazing.
    The 1300Gt did it have a single downpipe or a double (2 into 1) downpipe for the exhaust arrangement?
    His experience seems to be typical for a care of the 1970s with contact breaker ignition distributor and carburettors prone to losing balance of airflow.

    • The 1300GT had a 3-2-1 manifold. These were very sensitive to correct fitting of the clamps and would crack if fixed too tight. We had the same problem with the Austin 1800 S at the time. That it went out of tune so quickly seems unusual, but naturally cars of that period need servicing more often. One thing often forgotten by owners of cars with SU carburettors was to check of top up the damper oil in the carb – leading to bad pick-up on acceleration.

    • How long would you expect a non-electronic ignition system to stay “in tune”? The service interval suggested to check it perhaps as often as every 3000 miles or more frequently, adjust at 6000 miles and replace at 12,000 miles.

  6. Whatever we think now the GT did look sporty at the time, the Triumph looked dumpy and frumpy and virtually the same as the non TC version. I would think the GT outsold the TC 10 to 1, GT’s were everywhere, you never saw that many Triumph 1300’s around of either spec. and I worked near Canley at the time.

  7. I really liked both the MG1100 and Riley Kestrel I thought with their distinctive grilles were a cut above their Austin & Morris siblings,to me the 1300GT just didn’t cut the mustard with the garish colours and the wheels that looked like they came from from Halfords, the new grille wasn’t that great and the splattering of GT badges over the car didn’t add to the cars sporting image either. A hint of what was to come for BL

    • Fair comment Ian. As mentioned previous, my brother had an orange 1300GT in early 70s and looking back, to me at age 16 it was a sporty looking car in the trendy colours of that era. It certainly stood out from the plain ADO 16’s. In comparison, I find todays crop of SUV’s look boring and hideous – must be an age thing with me!

    • Different days. When I was a lad I had a young uncle who was very into his motors. He was an avid reader of Hot Car magazine, a pile of which I would inherit when he was done with them. They were chock full of ads for naff accessories of the sort applied to the 1300GT. Wheel trims, vinyl roof kits(can you imagine?), louvred panels that fit over the rear window a la Lamborghini. All hideous judged by today’s standards but very cool back then.

  8. My MG1300 was great fun, and the gear change worked well for me, even though it was like stirring a stick in a bowl of marbles. The boot capacity comparison is slightly unfair as an astonishing amount of soft luggage could be stashed under the rear seat, presumably the same with the 1300 GT.

    • Loved my 1300TC,1968 in metallic Gunmetal. Quick enough by the standards of the day and noticeably so compared with much on the road at the time.Less ostentacious and refined looking than the flashy GT and much more of a ‘gentleman’s sports saloon’. Rust around the front turret tops at four years old and a tendency for big ends to be service items – but perhaps that’s connected to me feeling that it was quite quick and free revving…

  9. Back in the day I was selling all the stuff you speak of – including ‘Rally Seat Covers’ that had the padded bolster, 10” steering wheels, Cibie lights and Paddy Hopkirk Rally jackets and everything in between. Some may laugh today but of course it was all very serious at the time. Equally, I suppose in 50 years time they will be laughing at our pathetic hybrid cars……
    Life and times….

  10. I’ve always rather liked the GT, to me it looks sporty in the way the MG1300 never did – to me its upright grill looked a bit old fashioned and “middle aged”, fine for a VDP or Wolseley, but not for something aimed at a younger 1970s crowd. When BL brought back the MG badge for the Metro, it was the 1300GT which was its real ancestor – bright colours, and plenty of badges to let everyone know!

    The Triumph 1300 is a bit staid looking, just like the larger 2000 it was much improved after its facelift, when it became the 1500 and the Dolomite.

    • My brother was about 26/27 when he had his Morris 1300GT, So he qualified as 70s younger crowd? I don’t recall him having any problems with it, though he used to change cars fairly regularly. It looked identical to LWL335H above

  11. Loved the 13GT great cars for there day worked on them and Red-line trucks as an apprentice .Always wanted one but never got one sadly as mentioned earlier a million miles better than any Allegro

  12. I agree about the MG1300 being a good-looking car (for the times); it was one of the few BL cars I would’ve considered owning in the late 70s. The normal 1100/1300 and most other Morris/Austin models seemed very much an old man’s car in those days; the Triumph 1300 and Toledo also fell into that category.

    • The Toledo and Triumph 1300 were like the Acclaim and Rover 213 of their day. Came from the factory with a tin of Werthers Originals in the glovebox and a tartan travel rug on the parcel shelf! One of my schoolmates had a Toledo. Horrid thing, not helped by being brush painted Russet brown. It had originally been that sort of magnolia colour. Presumably repainted to hide the rust.

      • Keith did say they were totally different , and I am sure he was right – they were aimed at completely different markets, with the 1300GT being brash and vulgar and, frankly, rather lacking in quality, whereas the Triumph was quite subdued, with a definite air of quality about it, much more akin to the Vanden Plas 1100/1300 which was the outstanding version of the ADO16

        • @ christopher storey, there was a brash attempt to move the ageing Austin 1300 GT into the seventies with the choice of a furious orange paint scheme and a black vinyl roof. Still prefer them to the nasty looking Mark 1 Escort Mexico of the time, which always looked like some boy racer had been let loose on an Escort Super. However, the Triumph 1300 TC is a class act like all small Triumphs of this time.

          • The Mexico now worth many times more than even the best 1300GT. I’d happily have either in a garish 70’s orange or yellow. I really like the style embellishments, speaking as a child of the 70s when all the best cars had vinyl roofs!

  13. Dads final company car was a Toledo – it was a pool car as his Mk 1 Cavalier had been delayed. As a child I liked the woodwork inside, and it was much comfier than the Viva estate that preceded it.

  14. I thought the 1300 GT had a single Carburettor engine, like the Clubman 1275 GT and later MG Metro, so no problems with carburettor balancing? The earlier MG 1100 had the twin carb set-up. Always liked the MG 1300 (I think the 1300 GT would be a close second for me) because it is an MG and has the traditional three dial dashboard, I believe the MG 1100 retained a “Strip” speedometer. My father was in the motor trade during the 70’s so we had lots of Austin, Morris & MG variants and I can’t remember a bad one out of any of them, but by the 1980’s the cost to repair the inevitable rust killed most off. The Triumph looks like a more “grown-up” car, but is technically interesting (Triumph made a 4WD rallycross version). If there is anybody out there with immaculate versions of either the Triumph or 1300 GT who wants to give them away, please I’m your man!

    • The GT had twin carburettors as did the MG and Riley (always a sporty marque) and all 3 were identical as far as i know and in the same warm state of tune. If i remember correctly the Wolseley 1300 also had twin carburettors but was in a lesser state of tune (presumably due to a different camshaft). The Princess 1300 was single carburettor only.

  15. I think the 1300GT was an excellent makeover of a car which had become very familiar. I also think it’s right to say that the 1100/1300 was not near the top of the sales charts it was at the top for most of its production life. The Cortina needed three versions before it took the top slot (apart from a single year). We all know the BMC/BL made some terrible cars so I think we should celebrate one of the few that was actually competitive.

  16. I remember reading that the 1300 TC was in dire need of another gear and that at 70 mph the engine was revving far too hard (seemingly just to achieve good acceleration figures). Also, I have to say, the Triumph engine dates back to the Standard 8 and my impression is that it was even more old fashioned than the ageing `A’ Series engine. This impression was strengthened by a neighbour’s Spitfire engine suffering a catastrophic failure (rod coming loose at high revs). He drove it more sedately after that incident. Don’t remember for sure but I believe it wasn’t even the longer stroke 1500 engine.

    • The Triumph engine was in fact really quite sophisticated, and its head with 4 inlet ports was very much more advanced than the siamese port A series . It was also in my experience a good deal smoother than the A series . The suggestion of ” dire need of another gear” is very typical of the ignorance of journalists of the modern age where we have become used to extremely high gearing, mainly as a consequence of turbodiesels . The gearing of both these cars was entirely typical of their era

      • Interesting that the Triumph had an 8 port head but the bottom end was not that great, especially the 1500 still retaining 3 main bearings.
        Also on the 1300s the thrust bearings used to go, allowing excessive crankshaft end float.
        I agree that the Triumph 1300 sounded a refined unit in general though.
        Did the Triumph engine have siamesed bores like the `A’ series ??
        With respect high gearing has been appreciated for many years, cars were fitted with Overdrives in the 50s / 60s before 5 or 6 speed gearboxes became available.
        We may have to agree to differ on some points !!

        • Overdrive was the fifth gear of its time and popular with Rootes, who fitted it to their Sunbeam models and top of the range Arrow cars, and could be found on the Vauxhall VX 4/90 and big Triumphs. It made driving larger cars more relaxed at high speed.

          • As far as I recall. the VX4/90 FD & FE were available with overdrive as an option, but not the earlier FC101… though Powerglide auto was available on that. The final run out VX4/90 had a 5 speed Getrag gearbox

        • You are correct that overdrive was an option on a few cars in the 1950s. I recall that the Standard Vanguard II was probably the first to use the Laycock de Normanville OD, followed very shortly by the Jaguar mark VII and the rest of the STI range including, incredibly, the Standard 8 !
          Rootes followed later in the 50s with the Rapier and Hawk/Super Snipe . BMC followed a different route with Borg Warner OD on the 3 litre cars. But the plain fact remains that top gear motoring in cars of under 2 litres was usually with gearing which gave between 15 and 16.5 mph/1000 rpm, and in some cases ( the 803cc BMC cars for instance)a good deal lower than that

  17. Isnt comparing the 1300GT with the Triumph 1300 a bit like comparing a tarted up Ford Focus with something like a Mercedes A Class? Probably just as good – but not likely to be compared by prospective buyers

  18. I’m not sure why the Triumph engine was considered ‘better’ than the A Series, especially after hearing the Triumph engines’ usual big-end rattle on start-up. I’m sure I recall there was an recommendation (probably unofficial) that their crank bearing shells were replaced every 12000 miles !

  19. We’re any modifications made to the hydrolastic suspension on the 1300GT? I have got it in my mind from somewhere that the fluid flow was restricted compared to regular ADO16s. Is that right, or did I dream it?

    • Correct. The pressure was slightly lowered to give lower ride height and the damping was raised in addition by reducing the flow between the units. Both helped to reduce the vertical bounce. My family had a very (very) late MkIII 1300 from new, which never had that soft vertical bounce of the MkII and earlier cars – probably the suspension settings from the GT were taken on (or just assembled from whatever parts were left).

  20. My dad had a Triumph 1300, it was a step up from our previous Fords. Not in performance but nicer interior. Ours went thru two gearboxes in three years, so it was sold. I think that specific somewhat unique Triumph gearbox configuration was ever used on any later Triumph.

  21. Interesting that you mention the ‘vertical bounce’ on undulating roads; the ADO 16 is the only car in which I have ever been travel-sick, and I was driving at the time! That and the steering wheel angle has put me off them for life.

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