What is the ADO16? Well for many it is an Austin 1100 regardless of what badge it carries, and it is project number 16 from the Austin, or is it the Amalgamated Drawing Office – no-one really knows but there’s no shortage of people with a strong opinion; never uncertain but often wrong!
You’d need to know your ADO16 models well to recognise that this car is actually not an Austin but rather a Morris 1300 Super Deluxe…
…Ian and Dawn bought the Morris in 2013, from the second owner who had owned it since 1973. At the time it had covered just 36,000 miles, the majority of which had occurred in the first 2-years of its life. Very little has needed to be done to the car although there is a plan to remove the engine to attend to a slightly weak third gear synchromesh and play in the gear change; at that time the engine bay will also be repainted.
The Morris is finished in Bedouin with an Autumn Leaf interior. It is a very late Mark II model with some interesting original features; the Mark III heater control panel had for example already been introduced, the oil filter warning lamp had already been deleted whilst UK law had demanded the introduction of a steering lock and so a chrome blanking disc appeared on the fascia where the ignition was once located. Ian reminds us that in the days of British Leyland these were far from straightforward changes, British Leyland management could not simply make a change – everything had to be approved by the all powerful Trade Unions who needed to be satisfied of changes in timings of everything on the production line!
The ADO16 features hydrolastic suspension; it’s essentially fluid suspension and fluids don’t compress so when a front wheel hits a bump and is pushed up, the rear wheel is pushed down and the car remains level. On cornering a car rolls onto its outside wheels, with hydrolastic suspension the fluid doesn’t compress and so the suspension becomes stiff – what with front wheel drive, and precise rack and pinion steering one can understand why Howard Moore considered the ADO16 an excellent handling car…
…under the bonnet the ADO16 features the A-series engine, the same as used in the classic Mini and it’s a highly tuneable unit as witnessed in the original versions of the Mini Cooper. Finally there’s the look of the 1300 GT, it has 1970’s bad-boy appeal, and it’s a car that just looks cool.
So, along with his friend Martin Vickers, Howard devised a plan to build a Mini beating, stage rally car! It was actually Martin who built and developed the car, and he navigated for Howard…
2002 – Killarney Historic Stage Race
3rd in class behind two examples of the Mini Cooper S
- Gearing was too high with off road tyres, 4th gear not used
- Suspension too soft for bumpy Irish roads
2003 – Ypres Historic Rally
1st in class – a true Mini beater!
- Suspension was okay on the smoother Belgian roads
2004 – Ypres Historic Rally
- Snapped driveshaft – this led to custom competition driveshafts being sourced from Jack Knight Developments.
Martin emigrated to Germany and the car sat in storage for nearly 10 years but then Howard’s nephew, also named Martin, recommissioned the car for the 2013, Isle of Mull rally – Uncle and nephew went to race…
2013 – Isle of Mull Rally
- The Austin ended up on its side in a shallow river!
The Austin was eventually sent to RABsport, who did some fantastic work and managed to repair the damage without replacing any panels but the engine had gone into another historic rally car. Martin Moore (the nephew) had fond memories of the Austin so he ended up buying it and although it sat with a friend for some while it did finally get painted and came to Martin last year. Since then Martin’s built another engine for the Austin and he just about finished preparing the car in time for this show – ahead of its next adventure!
The Austin & Morris 1300 GT models were an inspired creation by British Leyland although not everyone realises that the engine was nothing new – with 9.75:1 compression the 1275cc unit boasted 70bhp @ 6,000rpm and 74 lb ft at 3,250rpm – no doubt aided by the lcb exhaust manifold and larger bore exhaust. And, there was a close ratio gearbox to help exploit the A-series engine but both the MG & Riley 1300 Mark II models had been fitted with this performance engine. What British Leyland did was create a package, a 1300 GT package, that was modern and stylish – who wouldn’t want one!
Chris is probably the most prolific collector of ADO16 examples in Wales – this 1970, Austin 1300 GT was bought by him at the height of the Covid lockdown in 2020 when he found himself with plenty of spare time – actually the car wasn’t quite complete but Chris saw it as something of a project; most of the bodywork had been restored and the Austin was in primer.
Chris is soon to send the engine away to have it re-bored and to have the cylinder head skimmed. As for the interior and trim, some was missing but Chris has managed to address most of that, so it really is a restoration in progress!
The Earls Court Motor Show of 1965 saw the launch of both the Riley and Wolseley 1100 models – these would join the various other ADO16 models available, in release sequence, as either Morris, MG, Austin or Vanden Plas; it was an impressive line-up especially when one considers the numerous paint and trim options available for each marque…
…Ian’s car is finished in a particularly unusual duotone colour combination – Island Green and Toga White was available from launch but was removed from the colour chart as early as January 1966. It’s a combination that Ian was attracted to in late 2016 when the Wolseley appeared on eBay looking very sorry for itself – it had been sat for nearly 20-years and was in need of some serious attention! Ian had always been into the Mini, he’d never owned an ADO16 but like many had fond memories of his Dad’s Austin 1100 Mark II and its fascinating strip speedo!
It transpired the Wolseley was from a deceased estate and on obtaining the registration documents Ian discovered he’d become just the second owner of a car that seemed to often sit and not be used – the Wolseley was built in November, 1965 but not despatched to its supplying dealer, Victoria Garage in Swindon, until October, 1966 when it was registered to its first owner 3-days later. Why was the Wolseley at the factory for nearly a year, could it have been a display car?
When Ian acquired the Wolseley it was a non-runner but last year he had the original engine rebuilt; it needed to be re-bored and the crank also had to be ground but it’s now been run in and is ready for normal service. In truth, the Wolseley has been the subject of a rolling restoration previously running on a donor engine with various body repairs happening from time to time, such as last winter the front valence, the offside lower wing and the offside sill.
Just last week the Wolseley was in the paint shop whilst plans for later this year include the veneer on the dashboard and perhaps even the carpet – more importantly this is a car Ian intends to keep for the duration; there’s nothing quite like wafting along on an A-road, seeing the speedo flutter at 60mph!
The ADO16 was launched 60-years ago, in August, 1962 as a Morris 1100 but just 2-months later came the MG 1100 and there was something rather traditional in that the MG 1100 really was a sportier version of the Morris.
This MG 1100 was first registered in March, 1966 to Dr Patricia Archer, a medical illustrator in Caterham, who owned the car until her death in 2006. It was then entered by her nephew into auction at BCA Blackbushe. At the time the MG had only covered 27,000 miles, finished in the special order colour of Black with a Terracotta interior and complete with Dr Archer’s original finance agreement, it was in excellent condition throughout.
The current owner Adam found himself outbid on the MG at that first auction but 12-months later the MG re-appeared in the BCA catalogue – having registered a telephone bid Adam found himself successful but then 2-years his business was going through a difficult time and the MG had to be sold; initially finding a new home with an elderly gentleman from London. However, he was suffering ill-health and 12-months later the MG went to a Mr. Edwards. Then in 2020, Adam happened to be flicking through a classic car magazine at a motorway services and was amazed to see the MG advertised for sale and following an email exchange with Mr. Edwards agreed on a purchase!
Now displaying 33,000 miles, the MG is still in very original looking condition although the second owner did replace the carpets with pale grey to we’re addressing that at this year’s show. There are some other minor cosmetic matters that Adam will be attending to later this year and then Patsy, the MG 1100 will be in fine fettle.