- British Motor Corporation
Infobox Defunct Company
company_name = British Motor Corporation
fate = Merged
British Motor Holdings(BMH)
foundation = 1952
defunct = 1966
location = flagicon|UK, Longbridge,
The British Motor Corporation (BMC) was a UK vehicle company, formed by the merger of the
Austin Motor Companyand the Nuffield Organisation(parent of the Morris car company, MG, Riley and Wolseley) in 1952.
BMC was the largest British car company of its day, with (in 1952) 39 percent of British output, producing a wide range of cars under brand names including Austin, Morris, MG,
Austin-Healey, Wolseley as well as commercial vehicles and agricultural tractors. The first chairman was Lord Nuffield (William Morris) but he was replaced in August 1952 by Austin's Leonard Lordwho continued in that role until his 65th birthday in 1961 but handing over, in theory at least, the managing director responsibilities to his deputy George Harrimanin 1956.
BMC's headquarters were at the Austin plant at
Longbridge, near Birminghamand Austin was the dominant partner in the group mainly because of the chairman. The use of Morris engine designs was dropped within 3 years and all new car designs were coded ADO from "Austin Drawing Office". The Longbridge plant was up to date, having been thoroughly modernised in 1951, and compared very favourably with Nuffield's 16 different and often old fashioned factories scattered over the English Midlands. Austin's management systems however, especially cost control and marketing were not as good as Nuffield's and as the market changed from a shortage of cars to competition this was to tell. The biggest selling car, the Mini, was famously analysed by Ford Motor Companywho concluded that BMC were losing £30 on every one sold. The result was that although volumes held up well throughout the BMC era, market share fell as did profitability and hence investment in new models, resulting eventually in the merger with Leyland Motor Corporation.
At the time of the mergers, there was a well established dealership network for each of the marques. Among the car-buying British public there was a tendency of loyalty to a particular marque and marques appealed to different market segments. This meant that marques competed against each other in some areas, though some marques had a larger range than others. The
Rileyand Wolseley models were selling in very small numbers. Styling was also getting distinctly old fashioned and this caused Leonard Lord, in an unusual move for him, to call upon the services of an external stylist.
The compact Farina model bowed in 1958 with the
Austin A40 Farina. This is considered by many to be the first mass produced hatchbackcar: a small estate version was produced with a horizontally split tailgate, its size and configuration would today be considered that of a small hatchback. A Mark II A40 Farina appeared in 1961 and was produced through 1967. These small cars used the "A-Series" engine.
The mid-sized Farinas were launched in 1958 with the
Wolseley 15/60. Other members of the group included the Riley 4/68, Austin A55 Cambridge Mk. II, MG Magnette Mk. III, and Morris Oxford V. Later, the design was licensed in Argentinaand produced as the Di Tella 1500/Traveller/Argenta. The mid-size cars used the "B-Series" straight-4engine.
Most of these cars lasted until 1961, though the Di Tellas remained until 1965. They were replaced with a new Farina body style and most were renamed. These were the Austin A60 Cambridge, MG Magnette Mk. IV, Morris Oxford VI, Riley 4/72, and
Wolseley 16/60. These mostly remained in production until 1968, with no rear wheel drivereplacement produced.
Farina also designed a large car. Launched in 1959 as the Austin A99 Westminster, Vanden Plas Princess 3-Litre, and
Wolseley 6/99, it used the large "C-Series" straight-6engine. The large Farinas were updated in 1961 as the Austin A110 Westminster, Vanden Plas Princess 3-Litre Mk. II, and Wolseley 6/110. These remained in production until 1968.
* MG TD 1949-1953
Morris Oxford(Series MO)1948-1954
Morris Six MS1948-1953
* Riley RM series 1945-1955
Wolseley Oxford Taxi1947-1955
Austin A40 Somerset1952-1954
Austin A40 Cambridge1954-1958
* Austin A90 Westminster 1954-1968
* Austin Metropolitan 1954-1961
Austin Lancer(Australia) 1958-1962
* Austin Princess IV 1956-1959
Austin A40 Farina1958-1967
Austin A55 Cambridge1959-1969
* Austin 1100/1300 1963-1974
Austin 3-Litre1967-1971 Austin-Healey
Morris Major1958-1964 (Australia Only)
* Morris Mini-Minor 1959-2000
* Morris 1100/1300 1963-1974
* Wolsleley 1100/1300 1965-1973
BMC Project Numbers
Most BMC projects followed the earlier Austin practice of describing vehicles with an 'ADO' number (which stands for 'Austin Design Office'). Hence cars that had more than one marque name (eg Austin Se7en and Morris Mini Minor) would have the same ADO number. Given the often complex badge-engineering that BMC undertook, it is common amongst enthusiasts to use the ADO number when referring to vehicles as a single design (for example, saying 'The ADO15 entered production in 1959'- this encompasses the fact that when launched, the ADO15 was marketed as both the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven). The ADO numbers used were as follows:
*ADO6 Austin FX4 Taxi
Austin A40 Farina
Austin A55 Cambridge
*ADO10 Austin A90 Westminster
*ADO20 Mini MkIII and Clubman
*ADO26 Austin_Healey 3000 MkIII
*ADO31 MGA 1600
*ADO34 Pininfarina design for 2 seat roadster based on
*ADO37 Vanden Plas Princess 3 litre
*ADO41 Austin-Healey Sprite MkII
*ADO47 MG Midget MkI
*ADO50 Mini Cooper and Cooper S
*ADO53 Austin A110 Westminster
*ADO59 Morris Minor 1000
*ADO66 Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre R
BMC Commercial Vehicles
Most BMC era commercial vehicles were sold as Morris but there were sometimes Austin equivalents. Radiator badges on the larger vehicles were often BMC.
Car based light vans
*Morris Z-series ¼-ton (
Morris EightSeries E) 1940-1953
*Morris ¼-ton O-Type (
Morris Minorvan) 1953-1971
*Morris Cowley MCV (
Morris Oxfordvan) 1950-1956
Austin A30van 1954-1956
Austin A35van 1956-1968
Austin A35pick-up 1956-1957
*Morris ½-ton (
Morris OxfordSeries III van) 1956-1962
*Austin A55/A60 van 1958-1972
*Austin A55/A60 pick-up (Australian built) 1958-1972
Austin A40 Farinavan (export only) 1961-1967
*Austin K8 1948-1954
*Morris LD 1952-1968
*Morris J2 1956-1967
*Austin/Morris J4 1960-1974
*Morris LC4 1952-1954
*Morris LC5 1954-1960
*Morris FV-series (Series I) 1948-1954
*Morris FV-series (Series II) 1954-1955
*Morris FE-series (Series III) 1955-1959
*Morris FG 1960-1968
*Morris FM 1961-1968
*Morris WE 1955-1964
*Morris WF 1964-1981
*Morris FF 1958-1961
*Morris FH 1961-1964
*Morris FJ 1964-1968
BMC agricultural vehicles
With the merge of the Nuffield and Austin interests, the
Nuffield Organisation's tractors became part of BMC.
In the 1950s and the 1960s, BMC set-up twenty-one plants overseas, some as subsidiaries, and some as joint ventures, to assemble their vehicles.One was
British Motor Corporation (Australia)who were established at the Nuffield Aust site on the one time Victoria Park horse racetrack in Sydney. This facility went from a marshalling area for fully imported Morris cars (Austins were up until then being assembled in Melbourne, Victoriafrom an earlier Austin Motors establishment), to a facility for making CKD cars, to the total local fabrication and construction of vehicles, engines, and mechanicals.cite book
title=The British Motor Industry 1945-1994
author=Timothy R. Whisler
publisher=Oxford University Press
Denmarkwas a particularly strong market for BMC products in Europe. In the post-war period, the Danish government closely regulated exports and imports to maintain the country's balance of trade. High-value imports such as cars were heavily taxed. Britain bought large amounts of agricultural and meat produce from Denmark, and in response British cars were subject to a much lower import tax than cars from other countries, making BMC products very popular in the country until the 1970s, when these regulations were relaxed.
The end of BMC
In 1966 BMC and Pressed Steel merged with Jaguar Cars to form
British Motor Holdings(BMH). In 1968 there was a further wave of mergers in the British car industry, and BMH merged with the Leyland Motor Corporation(LMC) to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation(BLMC), the original BMC mass-production, and MG sports car products being brought together into the "Austin Morris" division of the new organisation. In 1975 BLMC was nationalised and became British Leyland Limited.
BMC (Turkey), a Turkish commercial vehicle builder, originally set up by the British Motor Corporation to build their designs under license in the 1950s, began exporting its vehicles to Britain, This saw the return of the BMC brand to British roads for the first time in over 40 years.
* Bathgate Lorry Plant
* [http://www.austinmemories.com Austin Memories]
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