Brooklands Austin-Morris Day – March 2010

Just in case one (excellent) event on a sunny day was not quite enough for the motoring enthusiast, in the interests of entertaining myself and the readers of this website, I attended a second! The Brooklands Austin-Morris day marks the start of a series of themed events at the historic home of British motor racing. It represents a chance for the lovers of what used to be Britain’s biggest selling marques to show off their prides and joy, and is an event I have now attended for three years. In the past, it followed a return from Geneva, but this year it fitted into the diary as I needed to be at the London end of the M4 ready for a client meeting early on Monday morning. As the Goodwood Breakfast Club meeting lasted into the early afternoon, it was about 13:45 when I reached Brooklands, and whilst few of the display cars had departed, they were being re-assembled for a parade around the grounds and a massed photo on the banking.

Although there were probably more Morris Minors than all other cars put together, there were in reality a wide variety of models to see, some more original than others.


A huge variety of these cars dominated the event, with examples of Moggies from the early 1948 cars right through to the final 1971 cars, and 2 door, 4 door, Traveller, Tourer and Van body styles all much in evidence. Many were less than original, but there were some nostalgic reminders of the Royal Mail and GPO liveries aomg the display cars.

A mix of everything from Austin Seven, to the larger Six models, and a few early Morris cars as well.

Sir Leonard Lord’s riposte to the Minor, this car was that bit smaller, but proved popular in its day nonetheless.

Austin’s family car for the mid 1950s – complete with its 1200cc engine. Plenty of space for all the family though! This car is a regular at this event and is in beautiful condition.

It always surprises me how few of these Farina styled cars show up, as this was a popular car in its day. There was just one early car at the event.

This car was the star of the show last year, and this time was tucked away rather more discretely. Designed for the US market, where it bombed thanks to a weedy engine for its substantial kerb weight, successors are a rare sighting these days. Very much a car of its time (1948).

BMC Badge engineering at is zenith, with Austin Cambridge, Morris Oxford, Riley, MG and Wolseley versions of the mid-sizer on offer all in a design styled by Pininfarina that looked awfully like the Peugeot 404 and Fiat 1800. The early cars, launched in 1959 sported the then fashionable fins, whereas the196s facelift not only saw larger and more powerful engines, but a reduction of the now dated styling feature to something more restrained.

AUSTIN 3 litre
Last year there was a solitary example of this spectacularly unsuccessful car at the event, and close examination revealed it to be in very poor condition. The same car was in attendance this year – so it has clearly survived the temptations of scrappage (!) – and there was a rather better second example on show.

Britian’s best seller for many years in the 1960s and 70s, rust has claimed most of these cars, but a few have survived to remind us of both space efficiency and how basic family motoring was 40 years ago!

A lone representative of this range was this Ital Van

Certainly not to everyone’s taste, even when new, this Vanden Plas model was in rather nice condition.

Two examples of the “Wedge”. The Pageant blue car is a Series 2 1700HL, and looked to be rather well cared for. The Oyster coloured car had the E Series 2200 engine and was actually in desperate need of some urgent attention to its paintwork. A perfect example of how brilliant design had some flaws (no hatch) and how terrible (or at least inconsistent) build quality stopped us producing a British world beater (again!).

A very tatty “W” reg car was the oldest (and indeed one of the very first of what once was a popular British small car), along with examples of the later cars, as well as a rather well cared for MG Metro.

Yes, there is an Owners Club for the Maestro and Montego these days, and two examples of the former were at the event. One was an early car and the red one was one of the Ledbury cars. These were assembled from CKD kits in Bulgaria in the mid 1990s and a batch were imported to the UK. Whilst I would probably not like to go back to driving one of these cars, I could not help noticing just how roomy they are inside for comparatively compact external dimensions. Not all progress is an improvement, even if we have learned rather lot about build quality!

There were a few MGs, too, including this MGA 1600.
This lovely car turned up in the middle of the afternoon. It’s not a BMC car, or even British…. a Hudson Terraaplane from the 1930s, but no-one would begrudge its appearance. Fabulous!

Also parked up outside, but that is because this car lives at Brooklands, was this fantastic Bentley 4.5 litre.

Perhaps something of a minority interest event, this, but for those who want a reminder of when British cars were prevalent on our roads, an interesting day out, especially when blessed with the spring sunshine as it was this year.
2010-03-08 20:38:42


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