Out now: the Autocade Yearbook 2024
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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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William Morris, later Lord Nuffield, built his first car in 1913 and his company soon became the largest automaker in the UK. One of its landmark models was the Morris Minor of 1948, a car that had the potential of being a world-beater if management had got behind it as Volkswagen’s had with the Käfer. Morris merged with its rival Austin in 1951, forming the British Motor Corp., which for a time was the world’s second largest manufacturer of cars, selling the revolutionary Mini. However, in the BMC years, Austins and Morrises were mostly indistinguishable. In 1968, with the formation of British Leyland after the merger of BMC with Leyland, management decided that Morris should represent conventional engineering, while Austin should occupy a more high-tech niche. The Marina was the result of this and while commercially successful at the beginning, it was old-fashioned and quickly dated in the face of competition from cars such as the Ford Cortina Mk III. It proved to be the beginning of the end, with the successive Morris Ital the last passenger car wearing the brand, and an Austin Metro-based van the last Morris soon after.

q.v. Austin, Wolseley, Riley, Mini


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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024