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?
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brakes and curved side windows, instantly making rivals such as the Triumph Herald and Ford Cortina look hopelessly outdated.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.