Thursday, 30 April 2009

BMC are Alive and Well

We tend to think of BMC vehicles as being very much, over and out.

Any BMC cars still on the road are viewed as classic collectors items for enthusiasts and what was once quite an average car, usually turns heads, even if its only because its still moving and hasn't rusted away.

Human nature being what it is, we seem to have an affinity with the past and a soft-spot for anything reminding us of the good old days.

Surely, this is the secret of the success of TV programmes like "Life on Mars" and "Ashes to Ashes".

BMC is far from dead, however.

In Doctor Who style, it regenerated into a number of other companies, with the original passing on.

Through manufacturing licence arrangements, factories sprung up worldwide, making BMC vehicles for the overseas markets.

Leyland Australia struggled on until 1975, Maestro's were built in Bulgaria for a brief period in the mid nineties, the Mini was built in Chile for a while, many models were built in New Zealand until the late 1970's and South Africa built their own version of the Morris Marina until the 1980's.

However, BMC also struck a deal with Turkey and the Turkish version of BMC was established in 1964 in Izmir.

Austin and Morris vehicles were manufactured in Turkey for the Turkish market and in 1966, BMC started to grow and got stronger each day, by adding trucks, tractors and engines to its product line.

Now they are a vast company and still trade under the BMC name.

Interestingly, they also built a version of the B-series 1500 and 1800 diesel engine (used in the Leyland Sherpa van), which is still seen in narrowboats today.

I believe that these are no longer produced, but Calcutt Boats still offer reconditioned ones:

BMC in Turkey now produce some very tough trucks and it was a joy to see the BMC badge again, plus some very nice looking landrover variations.

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