BMC & Leyland Show

It seems logical that the ample facilities at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon is the location for the BMC and Leyland show in the height of summer. The museum is world famous for its unparalled display of cars from BMC/BL’s vast array of cars, which include a section dedicated to Jaguar, Prototypes, film cars as well as the most notible cars of British heritage. Each brand, and in many cases specific models have their own owners club and they join together to display examples of the UKs most prolific car brand.

Anniversaries and milestones are common occurances these days, and this years event celebrated 60’s years of the Pininfarina connection with Austin, with all examples of the design schools examples of BMC cars on view. Not be outdone, the Mini celebrated 60 years of the original, although the Mini has it’s own following several original examples were seen on the day.

The last Morris to be badged with the Oxford name is one the first cars to be penned by Pininfarina for BMC. Enormously popular in its heyday, they were also sold as Austins, MGs, Rileys and Wolseleys.

Another Austin to celebrate an anniversary is the Maxi, 50 years after the first example left the Cowley. There was great showing of BL’s first family hatchback, each version covering its lengthy 12 years production run.

Austin Rover’s dominance as use as the UK’s favoured choice as Police patrol cars was over by the time this example was registered, but provided an excellent authentic period piece.

The often derided Allegro was also another well turned out model at the event, these roomy FWD cars were remarkably rust resistant and often provided simple no-nonsense transport for millions of people in the ’70s and ’80s.

This award winning Morris Marina was BL’s best selling car of the ’70s. This immaculately restored example belongs to the Ford Brothers, and is a rare example of the top of range Marina 2 series.

BMC cars can seldom be described as glamourous, but that is part of their appeal. The ‘Landcrab’ BMC 1800/2200 range is a strong, comfortable and roomy family car, which perfectly suits it criteria of its original design brief.

The still popular Mini is becoming harder to find in original product form, as the fun little champion is often subject to personalisation and modification. This 1984 25 edition model is very distinctive in it’s silver colour and decals.

Often seen as the sporting side of the BL brand, there was an impressive array of the Triumph TR cars, with one of the biggest TR7 collections of the year.

Technically a rebadged UK assembled Honda, the Triumph Acclaim was a turning point to returning the ailing BL brand back to profitability. Well made and engineered, these cars make ideal starter classics.

The BL story is fascinating for its huge variation and potential greatness. The Rover SD1 was a distinctive and graceful looking car, marred by industrial strife and a crumbling infrastructure.

The start of the development of making Land Rover a niche luxury brand, the Range Rover, despite it’s parent companies woes, was always well regarded and the original 3 door version is a bone fide classic these days.

Several overseas BL products were on display, with the Austin Apache from South Africa combining Triumph inspired Michelotti styling on to a ADO16.