BMC 1100 and 1300: An Enthusiast’s Guide – Book Review

BMC 1100 and 1300 - An Enthusiast's Guide by James TaylorThe British Motor Corporation’s (BMC) 1100 and 1300 model range was amongst the most successful in the Corporation’s history, selling more than 2.1 million of all types between its introduction in 1962 and its demise in 1974. Worldwide, the BMC 1100 was sold under eight different marque names and in two-door saloon, four-door saloon, two-door estate, and five-door hatchback forms – and very nearly as a van as well. In Britain, it was the country’s best-selling car between 1962 and 1971, being beaten just once (in 1967) by the Ford Cortina.

The BMC 1100 and 1300: An Enthusiasts Guide by James Taylor looks at the design and development of a model range that at the time confirmed BMC as a pioneer of new automotive ideas and had a profound impact on other manufacturers. It covers not only the full standard model range, but special conversions, cars built abroad, and owning and running the cars today.

BMC 1100 and 1300 Cutaway

The well-written and researched chapters include a development overview, a look at the core models of Austin and Morris, the Estates, the sporting models of MG and Riley, the luxury models of Wolseley and Vanden Plas, and then the variants that were licensed and built overseas. The final chapter in the book contains advice on buying and owning an 1100. This book is very much a guide in that it details the varying  types of cars, their similarities and differences, and the operation of them. There are ample photographs, both color and black & white, to illustrate and add to the narrative.

Between The Story of the BMC 1100this book and The Story of the BMC 1100 that came out  in 2012, it is nice to see some attention being made to these forgotten cars. The book by book by James Taylor is for more a guide in the traditional sense while No, they may not have the glamor of other British cars such as the Aston Martin or Jaguar, nor the everyman icon status such as the MGB, but these were important top selling cars in their days. And, to those of us who collect them, they are fun and interesting time machines that deserve preserving.

Title – The BMC 1100 and 1300: An Enthusiasts Guide
Author – James Taylor
Publisher – The Crowood Press
Publication Date – November 2015
Pages – 144

Bournemouth and the BMC 1100 – A Video

As an added little bonus, here is a clip of Bournemouth in the South of England, from sometime supposedly in the 1980s. There are two reasons this video is relevant to the BMC 1100 discussion. First, just try to count the number of BMC 1100s you see in the clip – driving by, parked alongside the road, or hanging out at the shore.  Second, my own 1100, Catherine the Vanden Plas Princess 1100, was originally delivered to Bournemouth and spent her entire life there until being transferred to the USA. So, this is her original home. It is very possible that she is either in this video somewhere, as there is at least one VDP 1100 shown, or parked just out of site on a side street or car park.


Michael Carnell
Editor at Just British

Michael Carnell is the editor and founder of the Just British Online Motoring Magazine. As a lifelong British car enthusiast, he has owned or driven British cars of all ages from Austins and MGs to Jaguars and Triumphs. He currently owns a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 1100 and a 1977 MGB. But there is always room for more - no matter what his wife says.