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  Austin America


The Austin America was launched in 1968 as the replacement to the aging MG Sports Sedan. However, the MG ceased production in mid 1967, which would have meant there was void that required filling, and for a short time the Austin 1100 was exported to the US.

Dealers wanted BMC to come up with a car that fitted in with the American needs, and would compete with the extremely popular VW Beetle.

BMC chose an advertising slogan that would work in their favour. They chose "The perfect second car" as their slogan. Dealers were now armed with the selling aids, and not forgetting of course the cars.

The Austin America as launched in 1968. I like the fact that the front seats have headrests fitted, even though you had to tip them forward to allow passengers to get in the back!

Just over a year after the launch of the America, British Leyland made some modifications to both the interior and exterior of the car.

The traditional ADO16 over-riders were replaced incorporating a black rubber section in the middle. Side marker lights introduced on the front wings. British Leyland also threw in a Leyland badge at no extra cost.

Internally the traditional two spoke steering wheel was replaced with a three spoke alloy one (as fitted to the 1300 GT models). The ignition switch was moved to the steering column where it would now also act as a steering lock. The large headrests, fitted in 1968 models, were replaced with smaller ones taken from an MGB.

Changes making the America better? Rubber inserts on the over-riders was a good idea just a shame it wasn't carried across and used on UK models. I wonder if the advertisers were going to use the Australian slogan "It floats on fluid"? After all it is parked in shallow water...

In October 1970 the America underwent a few changes, some of these were to meet new laws, others could be classed as cost cutting. The grille was changed to incorporate a Matt Black centre with "America" scripting fitted to the right hand side. New style side marker lamps were fitted incorporating a reflector. The wide stainless steel side trims were replaced by a smaller stainless steel trim fitted with a rubber insert.

The seats were mounted on runners making access easier for back seat passengers. The dashboard was given an overhaul and the black crackle finish of earlier versions was replaced with a mock wood finish.

New emission laws in certain parts of the US meant the engine had modifications to it to make the emissions cleaner. Crankcase vapours and petrol vapours were stored in a charcoal filter until the engine was next run, when they were burnt.

The America for 1971, yet months later the America was dropped. It reminds me of a Mk3 UK version. The modifications, well they were just tacky...

In September 1971 the Austin America was axed, by this time the Marina had been in production for a few months, and the transition was fairly unnoticeable.


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