The BMC & Leyland Show, held in the grounds of the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, Warwickshire, has become a regular fixture on the Classic Car shows calendar. Good weather ensured that there was a good turnout of both exhibitors and visitors to this year’s event. I thoroughly enjoyed photographing some outstanding historic cars and chatting with some of the owners.
I was particularly impressed with the ‘Abingdon Works’ collection of Austin Healey, MG and Mini competition cars on display, well done David Scothorn for assisting in getting all those cars together. It was also good to catch a glimpse of such notable competitors as Tom Coulthard, Brian Culcheth and Roger Enever who were in attendance.
As most readers know, BMC and its successor, British Leyland, encompassed many different British marques which had been founded in the early years of the twentieth century. The (British) Daimler and Lanchester motor companies were among the founding members of the British Motor Industry. These two marques came, in 1968, to British Leyland via British Motor Holdings, the name given to the entity that had added the Jaguar Group, owners of Daimler and Lanchester, to the BMC empire. It was great to see examples from these illustrious companies on display at this show.
Here are some photographs of cars which particularly caught my eye –
– Austin A40 Sport
– A40 Sport ‘Project’ – At the time these photos were taken this car was for sale –
– Austin A 90 Atlantic
1949 – 52 Austin A90 Atlantic
– Austin 3 Litre
1967 – 71 Austin 3 Litre (ADO 61)
– Austin Apache
1971 – 77 Austin Apache was built by Leykok (a BL subsidiary), South Africa. A very rare car in the U.K.
– Austin/Nash Metropolitan
1953 – 62 Austin/Nash Metropolitan. Built at BMC’s Longbridge factory mainly for the U.S. market where it was badged as Nash or Husdon Metropolitan.
‘Abingdon Works’ Competition Cars
– Austin Healey Sprites
Austin Healey Sprite Mk. I raced and rallied by Alec Poole – 1962 – 64. Rebuilt in 1965, this Mk I Sprite to be fitted with a 1275cc engine and Minilite wheels. Still being campaigned
1962 AH Sprite Mk II, one of four “Works” cars entered into that year’s Sebring 3 hours race. This car was driven by Pedro Rodriguez.
c.1962 Austin Healey Sprite Mk II. As with a number of Sprites, this car was shipped to DHMCo., Warwick (hence the ‘WD’ registration) immediately after leaving the production line at Abingdon. At Warwick, it would have had “performance” parts and other accessories fitted before being handed over to its new owner. This car has been enjoyed by a number of “Club” racers and inevitably been subject to various levels of restorations during its long life.
1967 Austin Healey Sprite Mk. IV “Streamliner”. One of ten alloy-bodied cars built by DHMCo. with the idea of encouraging BMC/BL to put this design into production. This particular car, after being sold by DMHCo. to a private customer was campaigned by Richard Budd. Another great looking Sprite.
This “original” John Sprinzel Sebring Sprite PMO 200 is currently owned by Paul and Sharon Woolmer. “Original” is a difficult word to use for a car that is around 60 years old. It has been rebuilt on a number of occasions but retains many of the original components of the JS car first registered with this number. Replicas have been built even carrying the same registration number and owned by JS himself. Whatever, a really lovely car i.m.o.
– Austin Healey 3000s
1964 AH 3000 Mk III “Works” rally car driven by Rauno Aaltonen/Tony Ambrose to 1st. place in the 1964 Liege/Sofia/Liege Rally.
1965 Austin Healey 3000 Mk III. “Works” Rally Car. Driven by Timo Makinen/Paul Easter to 2nd place in that year’s RAC Rally.
1961 Austin Healey 3000 Mk I “Works” Rally Car. Driven By Peter Riley/Tony Ambrose to 3rd. place (1st in GT category) in that year’s Acropolis Rally.
1962 Austin Healey 3000 Mk IIA. “Works” built for private owner – Umberto Pizzagalli, Innocenti’s resident engineer at Longbridge.
– MG Competition Cars
Ex John Milne MG Midget Coupe. This car was owned and prepared by the Abingdon Competitions department and loaned to John Milne to campaign, successfully, in predominantly Scottish events. The company sold the car to John for £100.
1959/60/61 MGA Le Mans car. Built originally as a tourer converted to a Coupe for the 1960 race where it won the up to 2.0 Ltr. Class and came 12th overall. The car retired in both the 1959 and 1961 races.
1999 Mini Cooper Classic. There were several on display at this show, all in excellent condition. A very desirable car for all of us who “grew up” on Minis. I must confess that it seems that I was left behind by the spate of Mini specials that were introduced by the Rover Group towards the end of this model’s life. Seeing these cars made me do some research and I am more confused than ever!
1963 – 66 Bristol 408 V8
Daimler SP 250
Innocenti (BMC cars made in Italy)
1960 – 69 Innocenti 950 Spider, based on Mk I Austin Healey Sprite.
1965 – 68 Innocenti 950 Coupe. Very rare, only around 500 built.
1997 – 2006 Jaguar XK8 Coupe
A Patriotic (a la Austin Powers) XK8 roadster driver making an exit.
1947 – 53 Jowett Javelin.
1948 – 71 Morris Minor ‘Panda’ (aka’Noddy’) Police car.
1932 Riley 9 Tourer
1957 – 65 Riley One Point Five four-door saloon. Only 19,568 Riley versions were built; 103,394 of its sister car, the Wolseley 1500, were made. They both shared the Morris Minor/1000 floor pan, suspension and steering.
1978 – 81 Triumph TR 8 (V8)
1936 Wolseley 12 – 18 Series 2
That’s all folks, I hope that you have enjoyed looking at the photos and reading the captions. Until next time…..
I would like to give credit to Martin Ingall for providing information, via his website – www.sebringsprite.com, on the Austin Healey Sprite cars referred to above. Also, to all those car owners who had the foresight to tape information about their cars onto the windscreens or side windows of their cars, it makes life so much easier for people like me.
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