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Morris Ital (1980 - 1984)

Last updated 7 March 2013


Model Timeline

July 1980
Morris Ital launched

The Longbridge drawing office headed by Harris Mann soon completed a neat facelift, which changed the look of the frontal aspect of the car (without any front panel changes) and transformed the rear view of the car, incorporating a higher boot-line and large Euro-standard wrap around lights.

Despite the long-held belief that Ital Design was responsible for the revised styling of the new car, it was somewhat less involved in the process – simply handling its productionisation. Of course, the story soon got out that the Morris Ital was actually the work of Giorgetto Giugiaro and, as one insider has subsequently said: ‘…why spoil the story with facts, we thought!’

Being limited to a £5 million budget, BL’s facelift went no further than these few, albeit distinctive, cosmetic changes. Apart from the deployment of the new A-Plus engine, which was shortly due to see service in the Austin Metro, there were no major engineering changes. The new engine may have afforded the Ital 12,000-mile service intervals, but it was certainly not enough to lift the car’s chassis from a level of sub-mediocrity – and the car’s humble origins were all-too apparent for everyone to see.

May 1981
Ital 2.0HLS Automatic introduced

September 1982
Ital range lightly revised

The L and 2.0 litre models were dropped and the HL and HLS were replaced by the SL and SLX models. Front suspension was changed to telescopic front dampers across the range and parabolic rear springs were also fitted, together with additional soundproofing and improved trim.

February 1984
Morris Ital production ceased

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