Find of the Week: 1966 MG 1100

It was the top-selling car in the UK for years, but you've likely never heard of it. It's a practical compact that's also a classic. And even better, it's a classic that's affordable. It's our Find of the Week, a 1966 MG 1100.

The car started out as the creatively named ADO16. That stands for Amalgamated Drawing Office, project number 16. The ADO was the design and engineering department at British Motor Corporation. By the 1960s, BMC controlled nearly half of all British automotive output, operating with eight car brands, before growing and merging further, then imploding through the 1980s and 90s.

Back to the ADO16. The ADO16 followed the revolution that was the Mini. The tiny car that was so popular at the time that the automaker couldn't keep up. So the company wanted a car that was a size larger. One that could replace the ageing Minor with a little bit of that Mini formula.

BMC put Mini designer Alec Issigonis in charge of engineering. Issigonis wanted to develop a vehicle that took the Mini and added more features. BMC wanted him to add more profit, the tiny Mini brought with it tiny markups in the showroom and big complexity in the service department.

Instead of the simple styling of the Mini, BMC wanted something with a little more flair. So it turned to Italian design firm Pininfarina for the body that would become nearly as iconic as the Mini, and sell even more quickly.

The car launched in 1962. Typical for BMC, it would wear a staggering array of badges. It was sold as the Austin 1100, the Innocenti Austin I4, the MG 1100, the MG Princess, the Morris 1100, the Riley Kestrel, the Vanden Plas Princess, and as a Wolseley. And that's on top of the international versions that could wear even more names, depending on the country.

Most did get some changes, like the MG that is our find this week. It wears the classic MG grille in place of the larger and more open nose found on Austin versions.

The MG also got some extra luxury features. Like an upgraded interior with more upscale appointments. And the hydroelastic suspension that eliminated shock absorbers and provided a ride then nearly unheard of in a small car. It's like the original Mini's rubber cone suspension, but with the addition of a damping fluid that moved front to rear and balanced out the suspension between the corners of the car.

The performance wasn't exactly up to the American V8 competition. The small car used a 1.1L version of the BMC A-Series engine. Here, the four-cylinder made around 55 hp and 60 lb-ft of torque. Not exactly earth-shattering figures, but even with a driver, the car tipped the scales under one tonne. With a four-speed manual, the car was sufficiently brisk. Contemporary road tests praised the car's handling and found that it could maintain highway speeds easily.

The ADO16 eventually sold somewhere between 2.1 and 2.4 million units, topping the UK's best seller list most years between 1963 and 1974.

Our Find of the Week was originally a US-market car. So the steering wheel is on the correct side. It's the two-door sedan, which is the sleeker and sportier of the designs. 

The car has just 46,700 km on the odometer, and inside it has leather seats and wood trim, along with chrome bumpers and trim outside. The interior is delightfully simple, with nothing but the basic controls you need for operation. It's a pleasant surprise after the button and screen-heavy dashboards of even the most basic modern cars. The seller says that it's been fully serviced at an MG specialist garage and well maintained prior to that. More of a surprise for a car of this age, the seller is offering a one-year warranty.

If you're looking for an affordable, efficient, compact classic, then this MG 1100, for sale in Vancouver, BC, could be just the ticket.

British classic 8/1/2018 12:18:51 PM