Home » Drive Without Rhythm And You Won’t Attract The Worm: Cold Start

Drive Without Rhythm And You Won’t Attract The Worm: Cold Start

Cs Duneallegro

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)

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31 Responses

  1. I owned one of these for a few months when I was doing study abroad in New Zealand. It was the utterly gutless 1800. it couldn’t haul itself uphill. It wasn’t good on fuel. If you sat in traffic, it would overheat because it didn’t have a cooling fan. It did have a very comfortable ride, though.

  2. I will not drive the 1800.
    The 1800 is the joy-killer.
    I will face the 1800.
    I will let it drive past me.
    When the 1800 has gone,
    there shall be nothing.
    Only better vehicles will remain.

  3. It is by will alone I set my Morris in motion.
    It is by the juice of Petrol that the Morris acquires speed, the engine emits smoke, the smoke becomes a warning, it is by will alone I set my Morris in motion.

  4. I like the Princess with the big Peugeot-like headlights, that one up there with the small round ones and the lifted “exclusive” nose reminds me of the way they ruined the AMC Pacer design. Just keep it clean and beautiful.

    It actually had an impressive almost french looking ground clearance, judged by modern standards at least.

  5. “…that rhythmic pulsing of its either 1.8-liter straight four or 2.2-liter straight six…”

    …for your safety will not continue without interruption long enough to attract any sandworms.

  6. I thought the sandworm was a nice touch, but with or without the sandworm, the Austin ad makes more sense than the unintelligible talking vagina in the glass case. I see they made a remake of Dune. I didn’t see the make and now I won’t see either, now that I can’t unsee it.

    Also, you could get the Austin with an inline six ? Cool.

  7. Okay Jason, Now I’m curious. Did David teach you about Lucas Magic Smoke or did you learn on your own? I’m hoping for a small ego feed here, so I really hope you answer.

  8. It might have been a fastback, but it wasn’t a hatchback. It had a trunk, because BL management decreed only the Maxi should have a hatch as it’s USP.

    Good old BL. Never change.

    1. I googled the rear view, it indeed makes no sense. Outline of a hatchback but no 5th door, small(er?) access of a sedan but not the extra space that an actual sedan would create. This really makes no sense.

    2. I had the Ambassador version of this. Lovely plushy velour seats, fabulous Avocado green with the black vinyl roof, and the amazing turbine wheels.

      It was nicknamed ‘The Ambastador’ because it was a massive pain in the arse. It either wouldn’t start, or kept dieselling for 5 minutes after you switched it off, depending on how you twiddled the ignition advance and what swear words you used whilst doing so.

      I kinda miss the old brute.

    1. Despite a one-dimensional performance, Sumner’s Feyd was the most memorable character in that version.
      Director-“OK Sting, in this scene you’re wearing the metal boner bag, you emerge from the smoke, and Kenny’s gonna be flying around you in circles, laughing maniacally”.

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