Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

Riding on water

31 August 1962

From TIME magazine
Autos: Riding on Water
Friday, Aug. 31, 1962

Whether or not Britain goes into the Common Market, British automakers hope to capture a larger share of the expanding Continental market for cars.

Their most ambitious entry is British Motor Corp.'s new four-door Morris 1100, which is about a foot shorter than a Volkswagen. To smooth the ride on Europe's cambered roads, the Morris introduces a novel suspension system called "Hydro-lastic Suspension," after its two key components, rubber and water.

Set over each wheel is a springlike rubber cylinder filled with a "cocktail" of water and antifreeze. Thin tubes connect the front and rear cylinders. When a front wheel hits a bump, the shock compresses the front cylinder, which squeezes the fluid to the rear, expanding the rear cylinder. This lifts the tail slightly to "ride" with the bump. After the rear wheel passes the bump, the fluid returns to the front, cushioning the overall shock.

The Morris was designed by B.M.C.'s Alec Issigonis, who says: "My job is not to design fashion accessories or status symbols, but motorcars—things that travel as efficiently as possible from A to B. A car should take its shape from the engineering that goes into it."

The 1100 speeds up to 77 m.p.h. on a 48-h.p. engine placed up front. In Britain, its basic price is $1,372. When the car is exported to the U.S. in about six months, it will probably be sold under the sporty marque of M.G., another B.M.C. brand.

B.M.C.'s competitors are rolling out new racy models. France's Renault has introduced the R-8, which looks like a squared-off Dauphine but is roomier and quieter. It also costs more ($1,400 in France for the R-8, v. $1,000 for the Dauphine). Speeding to 80 m.p.h. on a 48-h.p. engine, the R-8 is faster than the Dauphine, has four sports-car-type disk brakes.

Germany's Opel, a subsidiary of General Motors, last week brought out its new Kadett, which is priced at $1,269, v-$1,245 for the small Volkswagen. The two-door Kadett speeds to 75 m.p.h. on a 46-h.p. engine, and. like the Morris 1100 and the Renault R-8, gets about 35 miles per gallon. It has a bigger luggage compartment than the Volkswagen, but no major styling or mechanical innovations. Up at VW headquarters in Wolfsburg. the Volkswagen people did not seem worried.

More news from the archive

Wed, 15 Aug 1962
MOTOR WHAT IS THE ADO16? Alec Issigonis, technical director of the British Motor Corporation and Charles Griffin, chief engineer,...
Thu, 16 Aug 1962
GLASGOW HERALD Back To Normal At Bathgate Work was back to normal yesterday at the British Motor Corporation factory at Bathgate where...
Fri, 17 Aug 1962
VEHICLE BUILDERS GO BACK TO WORK FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT BIRMINGHAM, AUG. 16 A serious delay in production at British Motor Corporation...
Fri, 24 Aug 1962
300 Strike At Morris Motors Factory FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT OXFORD, AUG. 23 Three hundred workers in the trim shop at the Morris Motors...
Sat, 25 Aug 1962
NEW CAR PRODUCTION STOPPED BY STRIKE FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT OXFORD. AUG. 24 The main assembly line of the new Morris 1100 at the British...
Fri, 07 Sep 1962
BMC - An Austin A40 is the first car to leave the newly completed CAB2 at Longbridge.
Fri, 14 Sep 1962
Leyland Chairman On Merger Benefits Sir Henry Spurrier, chairman and managing director of Leyland Motors, Mr Stanley Markland, deputy...
Tue, 18 Sep 1962
Decisions on whether or not to increase production of tractors at the British Motor Corporation's new plant at Bathgate, West Lothian,...
Thu, 20 Sep 1962
Changes In Leyland Motors Group Changes in the top organization of the Leyland Motors group are announced today following the Leyland-ACV...
Thu, 20 Sep 1962
BMC - Today the ADO23 MGB is launched.