The Austin Princess/Morris 1800 was, I think, a pretty good-looking car, with a roomy fastback design and some sleek lines. Sure, it may have seemed like it was built by a horse wearing boxing gloves who just smacked his head into a low-hanging metal sign, but still, I think it has its charms. What I don’t really associate it with are the never-ending sand dunes and punishing heat of the planet Arrakis, only home of the spice melange in the known universe, also known as Dune. And yet, for some reason, that’s where British Leyland Decided to shoot photos of the car for the brochure!
Really, I can’t think of a car less suited to the brutal deserts of Dune. The 1800 was only FWD, didn’t have that much ground clearance, and it’s sure as hell not getting anywhere in the sand on those tires! Plus, that rhythmic pulsing of its either 1.8-liter straight four or 2.2-liter straight six is sure to attract a massive sandworm, and who needs that kind of hassle?
So why then did British Leyland’s marketing people go through the considerable time and expense to load an 1800 HL on a Guild Heighliner and make the trip? I’m not sure, but I did find this clip of a British Leyland executive, swimming in his tank of Lucas Magic Smoke, talking to their ad agency:
Huh. I’m not sure if that clears anything up, but it’s good information to have.
(okay maybe I added the sandworm)