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Is This Your Motor?

Eric Gibson

master brummie
The Atlantic broke a lot of records in the States.

The problem British car makers had post war was the road tax system based on engine size (horse power) they had no home market for the bigger cars that the Americans wanted because Brits couldn't afford to buy them and without a home market it was a non starter.

I remember the Austin Metropolitan, I worked on a few, frankly they were dreadful to drive. ;)
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
Ouch a harsh judgement on the A90 Austin Atlantic, car of my boyhood and so much more exciting than the other cars being produced at that time and this from a man who owned in quick succession a Standard Vanguard mk1 (!948 reg), 2 x Jowett Javelins (both 1948, but one with a Jupiter engine) and a 1946 VW Beetle, split rear screen and roller accelerator pedal 6v electrical supply, a knowledgeable mechanic thought it needed a new battery, so fitted a 12v one!!!!. Your comments on my other favourite Austin product the Nash Metropolitan. Unfortunately I always preferred American cars, in fact parked in our yard at this moment is a 1935 Chevrolet Master de luxe saloon.
Bob
Bob, that VW would be worth a lot of money today at least in the US.
 

Johnfromstaffs

Johnfromstaffs
Eric, while your point concerning the negative effects of the horsepower tax is relevant to the failure of the British car industry to promote exports to the USA, my view is that it is only part of the story. That system was replaced on 1/1/1948 by a flat annual tax rate of £12/10shillings (£12.50) per year, no matter what the car. Some of the tax burden was transferred to fuel. Now we pay both.

The British industry responded by doing not much at all, small bore, long stroke side valve engines persisted for years longer than they should have done, and even when replaced by more modern designs the manufacturers insisted on supplying seriously underpowered cars to the buyers here.

Given the choice, for a thousand mile drive in USA, of a rugged 3.5 litre Ford V8 or a Morris Minor with an 803cc 4cylinder engine I know what I would take! The American cars may not have been fuel efficient or good on twisting country roads, but they didn’t need to be.
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
Eric, while your point concerning the negative effects of the horsepower tax is relevant to the failure of the British car industry to promote exports to the USA, my view is that it is only part of the story. That system was replaced on 1/1/1948 by a flat annual tax rate of £12/10shillings (£12.50) per year, no matter what the car. Some of the tax burden was transferred to fuel. Now we pay both.

The British industry responded by doing not much at all, small bore, long stroke side valve engines persisted for years longer than they should have done, and even when replaced by more modern designs the manufacturers insisted on supplying seriously underpowered cars to the buyers here.

Given the choice, for a thousand mile drive in USA, of a rugged 3.5 litre Ford V8 or a Morris Minor with an 803cc 4cylinder engine I know what I would take! The American cars may not have been fuel efficient or good on twisting country roads, but they didn’t need to be.
John, my pride and joy when I came to the US after driving a Pontiac V8 was was a brand new Triumph TR4 red! I drove it home about 10 miles set the parking brake and the lever came off in my hand. After about two years I had to get rid of it, just was not reliable in cold winters. Then I bought an Austin America (a big mini) was great for about a year and a half, began to have gear box troubles. Some rocket scientist at BMC decided you could use the engine oil and transmission oil in both places. I switched over to Audi, VW & BMW. as much as I wanted and did try to buy British cars, they were not reliable mechanically or were the bodies sound. they did open the door for the American public & Honda, Toyota, Nissan and their derivatives walked right in and the rest is history. And oh by the way Renault did the same thing! My wife and I both drive Acura's mine is 12 years old and running strong, touch wood. My wife has a 19. So sad when we look back at all the wonderful history.
 

Eric Gibson

master brummie
My daughter in MD had a Ford Explorer when she first got posted to the USA , it was a very poor vehicle for reliability, had a couple of others with similar results then bought a Subaru Forester which was excellent, went everywhere without trouble even in feet deep snow when the big yank 4x4s were stuck.
For the last few years she and her husband have both run Hyundai Sonatas which have been trouble free.
https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=09+Hyundai+Sonata&form=IARSLK&first=1&scenario=ImageBasicHover
 

Johnfromstaffs

Johnfromstaffs
Between my father, father in law and me, we had two Wolseley 18/85S, an Austin 1800 Mk1, a Morris 1800 Mk 3, and two Austin Maxis. No trouble ever experienced with gearboxes, and with the exception of my f-i-l’s Wolseley, they all towed caravans. My pa’s cars were always looked after with very regular oil (Duckham’s 20/50) and filter changes and cleaning any grot off the magnetic sump plug. My f-i-l’s cars only got looked at when they broke down!

There were so many BMC gearbox in sump cars, from Minis to the 1800s, that I don’t see the design as being flawed. The most unreliable of our cars from that era was my Mum’s Triumph Dolomite 1850, there always seemed to be some minor faults needing fixing.
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
I recall my dad’s gearbox failing in his Austin1100, a big double bearing on the mainshaft in the gear box. The swarf from the bearing cage got pumped around the engine and ruined the oil pump, big ends and journals.

I have a feeling that he bought a reconditioned gear box and was told it was a common problem with the 1100’s. He sent the engine to have the cranks reground and new shells etc.

I am not sure if car unreliability was just down to poor design, lack of investment or technological developments. I suspect a bit of both.
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
My daughter in MD had a Ford Explorer when she first got posted to the USA , it was a very poor vehicle for reliability, had a couple of others with similar results then bought a Subaru Forester which was excellent, went everywhere without trouble even in feet deep snow when the big yank 4x4s were stuck.
For the last few years she and her husband have both run Hyundai Sonatas which have been trouble free.
https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=09+Hyundai+Sonata&form=IARSLK&first=1&scenario=ImageBasicHover
Eric, it is no secret that the transplants made all the US car makers better it was a survival issue. I’m not a Ford person but the Explorer is now a very reliable car. When it first came out, the earlier models were rushed (put together) to get into the market. As a supplier I helped develop the fuel delivery system which involved emissions. Ford had a saying, quality is job 1, my guys added that design is Job 10 With Ford!
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
Between my father, father in law and me, we had two Wolseley 18/85S, an Austin 1800 Mk1, a Morris 1800 Mk 3, and two Austin Maxis. No trouble ever experienced with gearboxes, and with the exception of my f-i-l’s Wolseley, they all towed caravans. My pa’s cars were always looked after with very regular oil (Duckham’s 20/50) and filter changes and cleaning any grot off the magnetic sump plug. My f-i-l’s cars only got looked at when they broke down!

There were so many BMC gearbox in sump cars, from Minis to the 1800s, that I don’t see the design as being flawed. The most unreliable of our cars from that era was my Mum’s Triumph Dolomite 1850, there always seemed to be some minor faults needing fixing.
John, I also believe that miles driven in the US market were higher, average miles per year is 12 to 15,000 (not now with COVID). There might have been a lot of BMC cars with gearbox in sump, that is not done now. The lubrication for the two applications is very different.
 

mw0njm.

Brummie dude
Between my father, father in law and me, we had two Wolseley 18/85S, an Austin 1800 Mk1, a Morris 1800 Mk 3, and two Austin Maxis. No trouble ever experienced with gearboxes, and with the exception of my f-i-l’s Wolseley, they all towed caravans. My pa’s cars were always looked after with very regular oil (Duckham’s 20/50) and filter changes and cleaning any grot off the magnetic sump plug. My f-i-l’s cars only got looked at when they broke down!

There were so many BMC gearbox in sump cars, from Minis to the 1800s, that I don’t see the design as being flawed. The most unreliable of our cars from that era was my Mum’s Triumph Dolomite 1850, there always seemed to be some minor faults needing fixing.
Wolseley 18/85S loverly engine. i took one out a damaged land crab car.did a few mods and put the lump in my sherpa van.
20/50 oil was £5 gallon then (coma) i changed the oil every month. now we use 5-30w @£25 it gets changed every 6 months
 

Johnfromstaffs

Johnfromstaffs
My average miles up to ‘08 when I retired were about 25,000 and in the mid 70s about 30,000, but it was then a new car every two years.

My 2 1/2 year old Mercédès has just turned over 8,000!
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
Wow that extraordinary high. Were you doing sales or marketing reprentation? I worked for what was then the largest filter company Producing in US, U.K., Germany, France and India and we tracked miles driven by region fastidiously and never saw normal (whatever that is) mileage that high without the car being used for business!


My average miles up to ‘08 when I retired were about 25,000 and in the mid 70s about 30,000, but it was then a new car every two years.

My 2 1/2 year old Mercédès has just turned over 8,000!
 

Johnfromstaffs

Johnfromstaffs
50 mile return trip to the office at least, much further if visiting for meetings, my main account was about 260 miles return, would do that in the day leaving home about 5.30am, getting back about 7.00pm.

My last company car was offered to me to buy at just over 4 years old, 103,000 on the clock.
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
50 mile return trip to the office at least, much further if visiting for meetings, my main account was about 260 miles return, would do that in the day leaving home about 5.30am, getting back about 7.00pm.

My last company car was offered to me to buy at just over 4 years old, 103,000 on the clock.
John, sounds like some of the crazy things I did! My old company car is still running (I don’t have it) a Toyota Sequoia V8 Is still running 247,000 miles on the clock a little over 6 years old.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Wow that extraordinary high. Were you doing sales or marketing reprentation? I worked for what was then the largest filter company Producing in US, U.K., Germany, France and India and we tracked miles driven by region fastidiously and never saw normal (whatever that is) mileage that high without the car being used for business!
When I worked for the finance company and cars were kept for 2 years, my mileage was about 70,000 miles over the two years, but then I was moved to another arm of the business and in a Fiat Strada, I covered 97500 miles in 18 months and the sort of drives I did were typified by the following two days.
Monday left home in Barnstaple 0530hrs, went to Exeter, Frome, Banbury, just south of Coventry, Wolverhampton and then to Pwllelli. Overnight their, then after running a day long training course, Pwllelli to Hereford via Newtown. The rest of the week was Hereford to Pembrokeshire via Cardiff and Swansea, all over Pembrokeshire and Carmartenshire and home leaving Cardigan at 1530 and arriving in Barnstaple at 2245. Dome week and I did one like that about every four weeks. My cars over 20 years with the company were a Viva HB, Morris 1100, three Hillman Avengers (One badged Chrysler) a Viva E, another Avenger, a Fiat Strada, Morris Marina Coupe, and then Astras.

Bob
 

Eric Gibson

master brummie
We had a customer who was the all UK rep for a spectacles company, he ran the mid range Austins, A50/55/60,and changed every year, he was due a new car but as usual there was a strike on.

So he bought a Morris 1000 to carry him on until the Austin became available, brought it in for service every Saturday morning, did 46,000 miles in six and a half months, we asked if he ever slept, he said "yeh, in the car.":)
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Back to the original idea behind this thread..... Below are my father's pre-war and wartime cars. Obviously I know whose they were at one time - but they all went on to have other owners later and, with one exception, they had had other owners previously.

His first car after lethal motorbikes, a Morris Cowley, OP 585, photographed Croydon Road, Erdington, 1929

Cowley.jpg

Traded in, May 1934, for a black 1932 Morris Major (6-cyl, 13.9 h.p.) , OJ 577, photographed South Devon, ca 1935. The only family memory of this car relates to a persistent smell of bad eggs, probably emanating from the battery.

Major.jpg

That traded in, 1937, for a black 1936 Ford V8, again photographed South Devon 1938. The number plate is obscured by a reluctant two-year-old having his first (and last) riding lesson. But it was COH 619. The horse rider has just one memory of being in the back of this car but not that particular occasion.

V8a.jpg

Disaster at around that time, probably 1937. But car later restored to new after about three weeks and continued to serve. Photographed at Cutler's Garage, Streetly.

V8b.jpg

But then, you should have seen the other bloke! (A coming together at the Queslett Road and Chester Road (Moorcroft) crossroads one night on the way to the flicks - probably the Kingstanding Odeon - my father, sister and brother, thankfully uninjured, as was the inebriated Vauxhall driver. No seat belts in those days. Hence the V8 windscreen).

Vauxhall.jpg

V8 traded in for new black (what else?)10 h.p. Ford Prefect, FOK 535, early 1940, probably one of the last cars to be sold in Brum before they stopped manufacturing. Acquired on the grounds that petrol supply was clearly going to become difficult as and when the war hotted up and a big car was not the thing to have. Photographed here in 1943. Dad had a necessary user's petrol ration and so the car (unlike many others which were laid up for the duration) served him loyally throughout the war and for years afterwards.

Prefecta.jpg

And again, looking a bit battered and corroded (but at least showing its registration number), in around 1947. I have many memories of that car, from its arrival to its departure, including all its long journeys which, in those days, were a somewhat more challenging adventure than today's. The car couldn't be replaced until 1952 because the car trade was a racket until around 1952/53 when supplies started to become available to those not "in the know".

Prefect.jpg

Very doubtful if any of these ever cropped up anywhere else, but you never know....

Chris

(Additional information added 6th August 2020)
 
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