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  Chilean market


The MG 1300 was produced from 1969 until 1974. The main reason that the glass fibre body was proposed to be used was car manufacturers were required to use at least 55% national or South American parts on cars.

It wasn't an easy journey trying to get British Leyland interested in making the MG 1300 in glass fibre, as they were unsure of the "logistics" to the exercise.

The problem with using fibre glass to make the car, was that it wasn't as rigid as steel therefore reinforcing injected fibre glass was used to strengthen the body shell. The only downside to this was that the overall weight of the car would be increased.

Glass fibre being injected to make the body shell stronger.

Even the internal "panels" would have reinforcing fibre glass injected into them. This stopped body flex when a door was open, or when the car went over a bump.

Once the prototype was finally built - after taking three months - which was twice as long as originally hoped for. The vehicle was fitted out with the 1275cc power unit, and trim it was taken for a test drive. The only noticeable differences were that the car lacked welding seems. Other than that it performed well, and didn't lack in quality of its UK steel versions. The engines and other vital mechanical parts from shipped from Britain, which in terms of percentage of outside products in the car was 35%.

The axe came down on September 11th 1973 when the factory was closed by the Chilean government. Why didn't British Leyland in the UK look at production in a similar material? Was the cost and overall strength the two factors that stopped production?

The finished article! If you saw this driving past you wouldn't be able to tell that it wasn't made out of steel.


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