1971-1980 MOR­RIS MA­RINA

Good-look­ing, re­li­able and sim­ple to work on

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Top Ten British Cars To Save Now -

Mari­nas have re­ally hit the rar­ity but­ton thanks to a com­bi­na­tion of rust and a his­toric lack of de­sir­abil­ity. Nicely styled – the Coupé looks es­pe­cially good – Bri­tish Ley­land’s first ma­jor launch re­lied on tried-and-trusted com­po­nents, which trans­lated into rel­a­tive re­li­a­bil­ity and good spares avail­abil­ity to­day. There was (once) a wide se­lec­tion of mod­els to choose from, from the hum­ble 1.3 to the perky 1.8TC, with an MGB-spec B-se­ries en­gine un­der the bon­net. We shouldn’t for­get the highly prac­ti­cal es­tate, ei­ther, though it ap­pears that most peo­ple have…

The fact that the Mor­ris Ma­rina Club and Ital Reg­is­ter calls its magazine Un­der­steer does tend to sug­gest that the han­dling of early 1.8s was no­to­ri­ously iffy, but it is pos­si­ble to tame it to­day.

The Ma­rina may not have blown the Ford Cortina away, but the car mar­keted as hav­ing ‘beauty with brains be­hind it’, sold well and was grad­u­ally im­proved, cul­mi­nat­ing in the Ital in 1980.

BUY­ING TIPS

The sills rot at both ends and the car­nage tends to spread to the floor­pan, whee­larches, front wings and A-posts. Check the door bot­toms, too.

Gear link­ages can wear, like­wise their mount­ings, to­gether with the anti-roll bar bushes (where fit­ted), prop­shaft univer­sal joints, clutch slave cylin­der seals and gear­box syn­chromeshes.

A- and B-Se­ries en­gines suf­fer from worn valve guides and pis­ton rings. The later O-Se­ries used in some later cars needs cam­belt changes ev­ery 40,000 miles or so.

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