Advert of the week : British Leyland

Keith Adams

Don’t let it be said that national stereotyping is a predominantly British pass time. This European effort (shown in Germany as well as, possibly, Austria and Switzerland) advertising the BL range in 1979 (why it’s still under the ‘Leyland’ banner is anyone’s guess) is a charming sideways swipe at the individuals that make up this fine island state of ours. In other words… it’s a light-hearting fun-poking exercise aimed in our direction.

The cars served up in this advert are the usual cross-section of what was BL’s sprawling and mis-matched range – spanning the Mini and the Jaguar XJ, and rather a lot between. However, look closely at the end of the advert, and you’ll see that part of the company’s line-up is the Innocenti Mini. In that respect, mainland Europe had one over on us – and you can imagine many an embattled English BL dealer would have given their eye-teeth for the opportunity to sell the pert little hatch.

Enjoy the advert.


Keith Adams


  1. Anybody know if the voice over is by Richard Gibson? (Herr Flick in Allo Allo). Super ad, though I wouldn’t want to be sitting on the back of that Range Rover!

  2. This wonderful ad was shown on German television, so it is surely the work of BL Germany. There are also brochures with the same theme. In fact it is the only BL or Austin/Rover advert I can remember ever seeing on TV.

  3. They missed out how British managers pocketed bonuses instead of investing in new products and British workers prefered standing on picket lines instead of assembly lines. These chracter traits where also evident in British cars of the time!

  4. allo allo indeed! listen carefully, i say this only once, very nice advert, shame there are no “britisch autoos” left to make adverts for…

  5. there must be examples of our European cousins’ ability to laugh at themselves? There was a French car advertised in the 20s or 30s (in France) with a delightful watercolour demonstrating how the owner and his wife/au pair/mistress might make use of all the space

  6. Fabulous, shame they dont make adverts about car like that anymore, they are very samey these days.Not individual like B.L.they really did have a lot of talent….

  7. I can remember another advert from 1976 where someone puts on a terrible French accent to say his Allegro is the best car he’s ever owned and a retired colonel tries to buy a Rover 3500.

  8. A rather good advert. Certainly a lot more clever than that for the GS!!

    I know I’m viewing in hindsight, as opposed to from a 1979 perspective, but the cars don’t look to be without appeal. Even the Allegro, in high spec form, looks quite attractive.

  9. Love it,
    The Herr Flick narrative, Croft and Lloyd would be proud.
    And how the SNP must love the mini reference.
    Hooray for the good old, bad old days.
    Thanks for a great ad,
    Post Brexit the Germans would love this………..hmmm.
    Go on MG have a go, get a sense of humour….. please do for gods sake, your current ads are awful.

  10. Hilarious, though it’s the sort of advert that would never be made now, as from a marketing point of view the target audience for an Allegro is slightly different than for Range Rover or Jaguar 🙂

    It’s also interesting what’s NOT included, the Marina, Maxi, Princess, the TR7 and any MGs.

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