After leaving the collected minds of DTW hanging mid-air for a bit, I am going to reveal the mystery car of earlier in the week.
DGatewood got as close as anyone could be expected by proposing BMC 1100-1300 almost immediately. Thank you to all who offered their views on the subject. It was a much more interesting discussion than the mystery car deserved to generate.
Reasons why the car could be so readily identified from its rust brown underside are to do with the suspension system and, as I reckon, the peculiarly obvious and exposed exhaust system. It makes me think of an otherwise beautifully planned house that has a toilet and bathroom tacked on at the side because to incorporate it would ruin the arrangement of all the rest of the rooms.
That exhaust is probably dangling there because the engineers had no easy way to tuck it in among the other elements without reworking every single one. That makes the exhaust akin to an irksome left over sum after a lot of mathematical procedures have been performed.
So, do we think the engineers should have tidied it and tucked it up into the other components or was it a good compromise to leave it as we see it? I feel also that the floor of the car would have had a ridge running down it had the exhaust duct been raised. It has to be either side of that suspension sub-frame and where it is now looks like the wrong side of the sub-frame….
It takes rather a long time to upload these digital photos to WordPress so I have had time to consider the Austin 1100 as never before. These cars were once as common as Golfs are now.
We haven’t said a lot about this type of car here and I realised that it is not so easy to discuss (for me, at least). The Austin here is to modern car design what Geoffrey Chaucer is to modern English, or at least what Elizabethan English is in relation to modern English.
It is quite tricky for me to assess the form language. I would need to look at the cars from the 1950s more systematically so as to make sense of the elements on the ADO16. However, I can get this far: the round headlamps are a given: all lamps were round in the 1960s and that sets up the wing profiles; the rear lamps are more like a free design decision and fit in with a) the tail end of the tail fin era and b) allow a wider boot and lower bootlid. The glass house shows the standard form of the day regarding angles of the front and rear screen. The boot is vestigial and in line with the C-pillar making this a two-volume car (radical at the time) but verging on the almost rather conventional now.
The bonnet line is quite straight as per almost every saloon car of the day. That front screen to bonnet angle is the archetype that radical cars like the Countach blew into the dust.
And so we turn to the details, the equivalent of Elizabethan words we don’t use any more like “whereto”, “tidings” and “grammercy”. The grille panel takes up as much space as a grille panel can be expected to and is given character by those undulose chrome bars (undulating forward and rearward with respect to the vehicle’s long axis). The chrome window surround has a quarter light at the front and that little wedge of filler on the rear side of the side glass. Was that styling or a bodge?
The car must have been designed by people who had certainly seen but not fully understood the work of other designers (who were in the same position). The fact car designers now can take a step back from their work and see the meta-principles lends a professionalism to their output but also a sameness. Odd as the ADO16 is, it was one among a host of odd cars, created before design became self-conscious.