BMC ADO 16 (1100 – 1300)


Bernard Vermeylen



The BMC ADO 16 (Austin Drawing Office 16) Morris 1100 car was revealed to the international motoring press on 15th August 1962, a larger and worthy companion to the BMC Mini which had been launched in 1959 to worldwide acclaim. Both designs were the work of Alec Issigonis and featured transverse engines with the gearbox in the sump, driving the front wheels, groundbreaking technology at the time which has been universally adopted since, though not the gearbox in the sump. A further revolution was the suspension; the Mini had progressive springing by rubber cones, the work of rubber technician Dr. Alex Moulton which, together with rack-and-pinion steering, was responsible for the Mini’s incredible road-holding. The larger Morris/Austin 1100 series cars were fitted with a developed version named “Hydrolastic”. Suspension was still by Dr. Moulton’s rubber cones, but associated with a chamber filled with water and antifreeze and incorporating damper valves, which was connected to similar rear units via pipes and was a form of self-levelling. A unique solution to the problems associated with large differences between laden and unladen weights in small family cars.

Bernard Vermeylen’s fascinating book, with English and French text, studies the design, technologies and development of Issigonis’s and BMC’s hugely-successful ADO 16 design, which lasted for over 10 years and evolved from the Austin/Morris 1100 to the 1300 cars, which in turn were built in a bewildering variety of badge-engineered makes; Vanden Plas Princess, MG, Riley Kestrel and Wolseley, as well as being licence-built in Italy (Innocenti), Spain (Authi), Australia (Nomad), New Zealand and South Africa (Apache). BMC themselves produced GT versions, Traveller and Countryman estate cars and a variety of different spec. models for various markets.

Most of the illustrations in this book take the form of images from factory brochures and press photos, detailing the many changes BMC made to the ADO 16 in the decade it was in production. Specifications of different models, paint colours and sales prices are all listed in Bernard Vermeylen’s book, it is as comprehensive a survey as is possible and particularly interesting for the details published on the many export and licence-built variants of BMC’s 1100/1300 cars.