Saloon cars are not particularly well catered for as a classic self drive hire vehicle. We think this is a shame, as it means that the opportunities for a family to enjoy a classic car experience without the logistical and financial burdens of owning one are rather limited. We wanted to address this.
Our experience with the ADO16 (as the1100/1300 range was called when on the drawing board) made this the first and most logical choice for the start of our self drive hire fleet. We acquired our first 1300 over 30 years ago and have owned examples of the marque ever since, including fully restoring three of them, with a fourth now well on the way to completion. We therefore know the vehicle very well indeed.
After the design layout of the ADO15 (better known as the Mini) was decided upon the thoughts of the design team at BMC turned to a larger vehicle. They therefore began in 1958 to sketch out what was to become the 1100.
The first 1100 was launched in August 1962 badged as a Morris. A sporty MG version was added 2 months later, with an Austin variant being introduced in September 1963. Wolseley, Riley and Vanden Plas models were to follow. The range was given a facelift in October 1967 (creating the Mark 2) and was further revised in 1971 (Mark 3) with production finally finishing in 1974.
Like the Mini, the 1100 is front wheel drive. It featured “float on fluid” hydrolastic suspension and came with modern rack and pinion steering and front disc brakes at a time when the competition was still lagging behind in technical terms. This makes it an ideal car to hire for those who have either never driven a classic vehicle or have not been behind the wheel of such a car since it was the family runabout.
We have two Austin 1100’s available for hire. Both carry an F registration plate. One is a very late Mark 1 vehicle, while the other is an early Mark 2. There are a number of differences to the bodywork and trim but otherwise they are identical and very much drive the same. To make it even harder to tell them apart they are both painted Connaught Green.
DJK is the older of two cars, having been registered in October 1967. We have owned it now for just a little over 25 years. Over that time it has received a full restoration which has included the changing of many body panels plus fitting of a replacement engine and gearbox and rear subframe. Recently we have added Isofix brackets which enables child seats with integral seat belts to be used in the rear of the vehicle.
Over the autumn of 2016 the car benefited from a comprehensive schedule of maintenance work to keep it in top mechanical order. This has been undertaken by the team, who within the 1100 car club, are the acknowledged experts for this range of vehicles.
This is the latest addition to our fleet and has been with us since July 2016. The car was first registered in March 1968 and had covered only 54,000 from new when we bought it. In truth we were not looking for another car but this one was so good that we could not walk away.
UYF has been fully restored in recent years. We have a comprehensive file and photographic record which shows the high standard of the work, which was clearly done regardless of cost. Being such a low mileage vehicle it is remarkably rattle free for a 49 year old car and drives almost like new.
Three inertia seat belts have been fitted in the rear of UYF, which has enabled us to take our children safely to many car and steam shows since the vehicle arrived with us.
Following restoration, the car was little used. We have re-commissioned him. During spring 2017 he has also enjoyed the attentions of the team who worked on DJK last year and is in fine order, ready to enjoy a summer providing pleasurable driving experiences to our valued customers.