Monday January 8, 2018
As a younger classic enthusiast, one of my favourite books was the World Car Catalogue, not least because of its array of overseas-built British cars. Here is a sample of just ten such vehicles:
10) HYUNDAI CORTINA
In February 1968, Hyundai signed an agreement with Ford to assemble the Cortina Mk. II from kits dispatched from Dagenham. Over the next 14 years, the plant in Ulsan would continue to build the Mk. III, Mk. IV and Mk. V – and in 1983 their new Stellar would combine a Mitsubishi engine with Cortina underpinnings.
9) INNOCENTI IM3/J4/J5
Early 1963 saw the launch of the third BMC car to be made by the Milanese firm Innocenti, the first two being the Austin 40 “Farina” and the 950 Spider, which was based on the Austin-Healey Sprite. The new “Innocenti Morris IM3” was heralded by this frankly terrifying advertisement and compared with the UK model, it had the twin-carburettor MG engine, an interior luxurious beyond the dreams of many a British ADO16 owner and slightly modified nose. In 1964 the IM3 was joined by the more Spartan (and single-carb) Austin I4 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA6GaEDajZw - and the Italian 1100/1300 was made until 1974 when it was replaced by the following.
8) INNOCENTI REGENT
This has to be possibly the rarest version of the Austin Allegro, lasting 18 months in production, despite some very clever publicity - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxYjCHGzXGs and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHz4c9Gla-Y. Not even a starring role opposite Franco Nero in the vigilante drama Il Cittadino si rubella could tempt Alfasud and Fiat 128 owners into an Innocenti dealership. N.B. The name change to “Regent” was because Allegro means “drunk” or “merry” in Italian.
7) TRIUMPH ITALIA 2000 COUPE
Or, a TR3A chassis with Michelotti styling built by Vignale of Turin, resulting in an incredibly elegant and exclusive GT. Only 327 Italias are believed to have been made between 1959 and 1962 but although the asking price was high, few could disagree with the brochure’s claims of ‘Italian bodywork at its best, British tradition in sports car engineering at its finest’.
6) AUTHI MINI/MINI COOPER
Authi, or Automoviles de Turismo Hispano Ingleses, was established in 1965 as a partnership between the British Motor Corporation and NMQ of Pamplona as a means of manufacturing cars in Spain and thereby avoiding heavy import duties. Minis were built between 1968 and 1975 and in 1973, Authi introduced its own version of the Cooper which at 160,954 ptas were cheaper than the rival SEAT 1430 or Renault 8TS. But of course, the standard 1000 did not lack for charm - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7-e2XBXk2Q
5) STANDARD HERALD/GAZEL
The Hindustan Ambassador (aka the Morris Oxford Series III) is probably the most famous British car to be made in India, but for 17 years Standard Motors Products of Madras constructed the Herald. From 1968 the Mk. III version sported a locally-designed four-door body and by the end of the decade, there was even a five-door estate car. The 1971 Gazel boasted new styling and rear suspension a la the Toledo and production continued for a further seven years.
4) LEYLAND MARINA 6
Take one 1974-vintage Australian manufactured Marina, power it with a locally designed 2.6 litre straight six engine and equip it with a three on the floor gear change and cross-ply tyres. However, the ‘Leyland Marina 6’ completely failed to appeal to Holden Torana owners – or virtually anyone else.
3) MINI MOKE
From 1980 to 1993 the Portuguese-built Mokes were associated with the smart set of the Algarve. The early models were assembled from BL-Australia kits but by the middle of the decade, the Moke had acquired a distinct identity. The final examples were made under the auspices of Cagiva, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer.
2) AUSTIN MINI MK.3
One of the most intriguing cars in the 23-year long history of South African Minis, the Mk.3 debuted in September 1969 and combined the tail of the Wolseley Hornet/Riley Elf with the nose of the British Mk. III. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing car in the world – it certainly is ‘different’.
1) ENVOY F-SERIES
1960 saw the debut of a re-named and lightly facelifted Victor F that was sold via Canada’s Chevrolet-Oldsmobile outlets – Pontiac-Buick dealers carried its griffin-badged stablemate and so the Envoy was a cunning method of maximising GM’s sales. Its success resulted in over a decade of Anglo-Canadian Vauxhalls, including local market versions of the Viva HA and HB.