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Austin 1100 Countryman cutaway

 

An ADO16 with barely a rusty panel in sight... you'd hope so, since it doesn't have many!

This Austin 1100 Countryman was one of many "sectioned" cars produced by BMC for use at various motor shows. The brief being simple, "to show potential customers and press the advanced features of the new models". It was believed that this particular cutaway vehicle was primarily designed for the 1966 Geneva Motor show, but research carried out during the cars latest restoration would suggest that the car was first used at the 1966 Earls Court Motor show.

The car has been carefully designed to show all the body lines, with just the minimal amount of metal.

Details such as the door handles, petrol cap, window frames and number plate fixing points are all carefully fitted in the correct position. To further illustrate the detail BMC went to, the car was originally fitted with 3 phase motors that operated the seats and one piece tailgate (a first for an estate produced by BMC!).

At some point in the 1990's, we were contacted by a family member who was working at the Heritage Motor Museum in Gaydon. It become apparent, that the BMIHT had no use for a cutaway car, and another ADO16 and wanted to know if the club could find a use for the vehicles. With such limited information, intrigue set in, and a visit to Gaydon was arranged for the following weekend.

This would be our first visit to the recently opened museum. It was a fantastic space crammed with hundreds of the British Motor Corporation's finest including, of course, products produced by the subsequent companies. We were lead into the workshops (an area not usually seen by the public) - and taken over to the cutaway car.

My initial impression was shock, despite being incredibly grubby the car was in a reasonably sound state. Everything was there, and more importantly everything was original. From cross ply tyres, to the original Lucas battery!

During the conversation, it became apparent that the vehicle had been stored under the plant at Longbridge until very recently when it was transferred into the ownership of BMIHT. But, due to the backlog in the workshop, and space constraints it was highly unlikely that BMIHT would see the project through. How could they neglect such a special car?

Collection arranged, the cutaway car was delivered to RPM workshops where a full restoration was undertaken. During the works it was discovered that unfortunately the original 3 phase motors were no longer operational - and therefore were removed, meaning the seats nor tailgate moved under their own power. The cutaway car made regular appearances at shows and for the rest of time it was on display at the Stondon Motor Museum.

On April 6th 2015 the Stondon Motor Museum closed it doors for the last time following rising costs and falling visitor numbers. This meant that the cutaway car needed to be moved to a new home. Members of The 1100 Club (Essex branch) were quick to jump in, and arrange storage facilities. It became apparent that the car would also need another restoration, so set about completing the work - with a view to a grand unveiling at the 2016 National Rally (which would also coincide with the models 50th anniversary).

The cutaway car (Skeleton) is now on permanent display at the Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum. Click here, to visit their website.

Whenever I see the car it reminds me of the engineering geniuses who must have worked tirelessly to build an exact skeletal replica, which ultimately would have a very limited shelf life...

 
 

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This page was last modified on Sunday, 02nd July, 2017 @ 01:01:00 CEST