austin 1300


Austin America 1300 | 1968

The Austin America: a joint design effort between Pininfarina and Sir Alec Issignios, designer of the Mini. It was built in the UK by the British Motor Corporation and badged as the ‘America’ for export to the USA. The America was imported for 4 years with the aim of stealing some of the VW Beetle’s marketshare, but it quickly gained a reputation for being unreliable. The trouble was that the engine and transmission sat on top of one-another and shared the same oil sump. So when one of the two failed it usually led to the demise of both. This is one of the last few left on the road, defying the odds some 4 decades later.

Austin America, street-parked in Alamo Square. San Francisco, CA.


BLMC SRV5, 1974. The Google “Sticky Bonnet” patent reminded me of this British Leyland safety car based on the ADO16 Austin/Morris 1300. It featured a spring-loaded (rather thinly-padded) pedestrian-catching cage which was activated in the event of an impact. It would be raised from its dormant position atop the front bumper in order to prevent the accident victim from secondary impacts in a rather more basic way than Google’s patented method