Buy­ing Guide: How to find the best BMC 1100/1300

Love the Mini but find it too cramped? Then how about one of its plus-sized close sib­lings in­stead?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling - WORDS Richard Dredge PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Magic Car Pics

The Mini has be­come a cult car since its launch in 1959, but the BMC 1100 and 1300 haven’t – and that’s helped keep prices low. Yet the Mini pro­vided the tem­plate for BMC’s suc­cess­ful ADO16 range of sa­loons and es­tates that were the UK’s favourite cars through­out the 1960s. All of the Mini’s best points are in­cor­po­rated into the 1100’s de­sign, and there’s more space into the bar­gain. It drives vir­tu­ally as well and when it comes to com­fort, you’ll strug­gle to find a car of sim­i­lar size with a bet­ter ride. So why aren’t 1100s and 1300s as revered as their smaller sib­lings?

The first de­riv­a­tive of the 1100/1300 range to be seen was the Mor­ris 1100, which made its de­but at the 1962 Earls Court mo­tor show. Co­de­named ADO16, it fea­tured a trans­versely-mounted 1098cc A- Se­ries en­gine, front-wheel drive, Hy­dro­las­tic sus­pen­sion, front disc brakes and curved side win­dows, in­stantly mak­ing ri­vals such as the Tri­umph Her­ald and Ford Cortina look hope­lessly out­dated. Here was a car that of­fered supreme com­fort lev­els, great han­dling and un­beat­able pack­ag­ing, all in one in­ex­pen­sive ve­hi­cle. While there was lit­tle choice at first, it didn’t take long for more ver­sions to join the range of­fer­ing greater lev­els of lux­ury or sporti­ness. In time there were also 1300 and es­tate ver­sions, of­fer­ing even more prac­ti­cal­ity and us­abil­ity. Ul­ti­mately the range would in­clude MG, Ri­ley, Wolse­ley and Van­den Plas edi­tions along­side the big-sell­ing Austin and Mor­ris de­riv­a­tives. More than four decades after the car’s demise, most of the re­ally ropey 1100s and 1300s have been scrapped; the stan­dard of cars avail­able is higher than it has ever been. In­deed there are some su­perb ex­am­ples around and while val­ues aren’t as low as they were, this is still an em­i­nently af­ford­able clas­sic.

‘All of the Mini’s best points are in­cor­po­rated into the 1100’s de­sign’

You can have any en­gine you like in an ADO16 – as long as it’s an A-se­ries – 1098cc or 1275cc.

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