On the whole the motoring press gave BMC/BL Australia the thumbs up for their 1100 successor.


  • Great new OHC engine
  • 0 to 60mph 15.3 seconds
  • top speed 90mph
  • speedo spot on accurate

1500 & NOMAD

At the same time the 1500/Nomad hit the showrooms in June 1969, Wheels Magazine hit the news stands with a pre-release road test of both models.

The report explains how the design is was compromise because the new car was based upon the existing Morris 1100 body shell (for cost reasons) and missed out on features such as flow through ventilation incorporated into the UK models.

The cost savings were spent on the new 1.5 litre over head cam engine and 5-speed gearbox - a decision Wheels applauded, describing the engine as "excellent, smooth, flexible and willing".
The cable operated gearbox was not liked by the testers but it was noted that the linkage was undergoing modifications for production.

Other changes noted were the "cropped" tail lamp fins, flush door handles, wider grille and bonnet bulge (to fit the bigger engine).

On the inside there was a strip speedo, flush fitting door handles and soft window winders - but Wheels was most delighted that the Indicator Switch had been redesigned removing the warning lamp from the end of the stalk and placing twin green arrows on the instrument panel, directly below the  fuel and temperature gauges. New Indicator stalk

Disappointment was expressed at the omission of reversing lights, the windscreen washers still being plunger operated, wipers only single speed and the heater/demister not fan assisted.

Wheels concluded that the new engine gave a refreshing lift to performance, the Nomad version was a very useable station wagon and overall the new range was very acceptable apart from the cable gear linkage.

Gear lever knob showing 5 speed shift pattern O/D 5 front wing sticker Take five for the

When Wheels evaluated the 5-speed Morris 1500 in November 1970 they were very impressed and explained that the car was originally to have twin carbs, stripes and be called "GT5".  But instead, a "Luxury Pack" option was introduced which, for an extra $60, provided bucket seats, carpets and soundproofing, but no mechanical mods - apparently it seemed faster and sportier anyway... 

The test crew could not believe how different the car seemed to the one they tested the previous year... much discussion centred around its new found sporty nature - despite it sharing identical lower 4 gear ratios and engine specifications to the earlier car. The Luxury Pack goodies were declared partly responsible.  The carpet and its thick underfelt did a much better job of damping engine noise than the rubber flooring of the standard models. 

This lower noise level encouraged more vigorous use of the engine, while the new bucket seats (rated as very good) were much more comfortable and encouraged the driver to drive harder than did the bench seat of the standard car.  To complete the analysis, the 5th gear apparently allowed the driver to draw further upon the ultra safe handling of the Hydrolastic suspension.