It’s a story that we’ve been wanting to write for a while. Whilst planning and researching for this page, we came across an article that appeared in the September 1962 edition of the US magazine Automobile Engineer.
It’s fairly long, but, comprehensive read.
In view of the considerable success of the ADO 15 vehicles, which have been introduced in the last three years by the British Motor Corporation, it has been obvious that a range of larger cars of similar layout, designed by the same team, headed by Alec Issigonis, would follow. This now-familiar arrangement – a transversely installed, in-line engine built integrally with the transmission unit; front-wheel drive and a long wheelbase; independent suspension, with rubber springs and small-diameter wheels offers considerable benefits in terms of road-holding, performance, fuel economy and the ratio of the interior to overall volume of the car. A factor that has contributed to both the excellent road-holding and the high efficiency in terms of space utilisation has been the use of Moulton cone-type, rubber springs for the road wheels – they occupy a relatively small space by comparison with that required for orthodox steel springs, and their progressive-rate characteristics can be brought closer to the ideal than could those of the conventional springs.
The larger car now introduced, the ADO 16, is to be known to the general public as the Morris 1100, and it is described later in this issue. From the technical viewpoint, its most interesting feature is the ingenious system of hydraulically interconnected rubber springs — also of Moulton design – which are hardly less compact than those of the ADO 15. The standards of road-holding and ride afforded by this layout have already been the subject of wide acclaim. The layout, termed the Hydrolastic suspension system, was developed through the collaboration of three organisations – British Motor Corporation Ltd. Moulton Developments Ltd, and Dunlop Rubber Co. Ltd. In each car there are two separate, identical systems, one for the left- and one for the right-hand pair of wheels: there are no levelling mechanisms, pumps or accumulators, and no need for adjusting headlamp angle to compensate for vehicle loading; the two systems are pressurised by the weight of the car. The cost is said to be comparable to that of an orthodox springing and damping system on a car with all-independent suspension.