Development History

Title: History
An early Nomad prototype at the Longbridge factory in England.

By the mid sixties it was clear that the Morris 1100 was losing some sales to its rivals with larger, more powerful engines.

With the initial production problems out of the way, work was obviously underway on the 1100's successor.

As well as a larger engine, the new range was to include a 5-door body style, just like the new Renault 16 - infact BMC imported the first Renault 16 into Australia, before Renault themselves!

Line drawing of the Nomad In Britain, when the 1100 range was updated in 1967, the 1,275cc engine became available and cars with the larger engine were known as "1300".

In Australia the 1,275cc engine became available around the same time - but Australian cars thus equipped were known as "Morris 1100 S". The 'S' version sold well indeed, proving that more power was the answer to boosting sales. This was was to be an important consideration when designing the replacement for the 1100 series.

A Nomad prototype spotted during testing in 1968 - note 1100 door handles and no grille badge By now the design for the 1100 replacement was being finalised. The new range was to take the Australian 1100 body shell as a basis.

The sedan acquired the cropped tail lamps of the British 1100 Mark 2, all versions would feature a ribbon-speedo fascia similar to the Austin 1800, and the manual transmission models would be powered by the new 1.5 litre OHC E-series engine and cable gearbox developed for the British Austin Maxi.

Many other unique features were engineered locally including "letterbox" door handles (not featured on this 1968 preproduction prototype pictured left), larger grille, front turn indicators and bulbous bonnet (to accommodate the taller engine).

Releasedmid year, the new range became known as the Morris 1500 series. An encouraging 5,518 of the OHC engined cars were sold in the first 6 months.

Because the automatic model retained the 1,275cc A-series engine, it was given the "1300" tag - but was otherwise identical to the manual models.

The 5-door version was called the Morris Nomad - presumably because the seats could all be folded down to form a bed that nomadic types might sleep on during their travels...

So that makes four distinct models:

  1. The Morris 1500 OHC
  2. The Morris 1300 Automatic
  3. The Morris Nomad
  4. The Morris Nomad Automatic

    Nomad boot badge

O/D5 sticker1970 The big news was an expanded model range released in mid-year. The manual models could now be ordered with either the 4-speed gearbox or the new "O/D 5" 5-speed.

Plus: the sedan can be ordered with the "Luxury Pack" option which includes bucket front seats, moulded carpets, woodgrain finish dash panel & gear lever knob and on the outside, stainless steel strips along the sides.

Over the first 12 months the Nomad accounted for almost a quarter of sales (which was beyond BMC's expectations) and despite a 5% price premium over the sedan, demand for the Nomad exceeded BMC's capacity well into 1970.
The Bureau of Statistics has recorded a combined total 10,004 registrations for the year consisting of 8,379 OHC engined cars and 1,625 automatics making the manual cars five times more popular than the automatics.

Interestingly, the Luxury Pack was very popular with almost 60% of the OHC sedans being so equipped.
However, the 1300 sedan, which was 10% dearer to begin with, saw only around a third of buyers opt for the Luxury Pack.


Full page newspaper ad for the final clearance sale

A few changes are made at the start of this year to comply with the Australian Design Rules for 1971, including a single speed booster fan for the heater/demister. Sales of the OHC cars reach 5,087 with 1,612 Automatics. Production ceases at the end of the year and the factory retools to produce the Morris Marina due for release mid 1972.


Line drawing of Morris 1500 (rear) The end of the road. Before the production line was closed at the end of 1971, a stock pile of 2,100 cars was built up pending the arrival of the new E-series engined Morris Marina which was not due until April. All the stockpiled cars had compliance plates dated 12/71 to avoid any need to comply with the additional design rules introduced from January 1972.

1,515 manual cars and 625 Automatics are registered during the year and a final 30 cars in 1973.