Home » The Questionable Choices Of The Austin Marina Brochure: Cold Start

The Questionable Choices Of The Austin Marina Brochure: Cold Start

Cs Marina1
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I just want to start this by noting that I have a genuine fondness for British cars, even British cars of the 1970s, which I suppose may be thought of as the nadir of British cars. I even owned one, a 1973 Reliant Scimitar GTE. But, they were, of course, crap, and the Austin/Morris Marina is often considered the Crap of the Crap, and this 1972 brochure has at least one part that, to modern eyes, is kinda hilarious, in a crap perspective. Let me show you.

I mean that image up there, of the two Marinas in what looks like an unpleasantly damp field in front of the Tree of Eternal Discomfort, that’s already not great. But then we get treated to this:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Cs Marina2

I mean, I get the idea; Austin was part of the greater British Leyland juggernaut, which included Land Rover and Triumph and MG and Jaguar, all proudly represented up there, all carmakers with gobs and gobs of character and soul and legendary cars and, yes, some pretty crappy reliability reputations, especially in that era.

So, a cynical jerk with a Cold Start that’s already late could, possibly, see this and think oh man, there’s an endorsement: a car with the quality of Land Rovers and Triumphs, MGs, AND old Jaguars! But without the style or charm? Sign my ass up!

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Cs Marina3

But then I’d see you can shove a Basset Hound in the trunk of one and I’d feel like a jerk.

 

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Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
11 months ago

The nadir of UK car making extended well into the 1990s with e.g. Rover Sterling.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
11 months ago

It was shit like this that made reasonably intelligent people lose their marbles and vote for Thatcher. Just sayin’…

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
11 months ago

This reminds me of a saying which I’m sure I heard on Mystery Science Theater 3000: “Never remind people about a good movie in the middle of your crappy movie.”

Steve Harris
Steve Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Bob Boxbody

Yep, it was MST3K, only I’m not sure those were good cars. I say this as a Landrover owner.

Bobfish
Bobfish
11 months ago

Getting serious “shunned in the breakroom” vibes from the Leyland family shot. Couldn’t have them in a semi-circle facing the Austin, have them all awkwardly avoiding eye-contact. Perfect.

Last edited 11 months ago by Bobfish
Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
11 months ago

“..the Austin/Morris Marina is often considered the Crap of the Crap…”

As the current owner of an Austin Allegro I strenuously object to this mischaracterization of the Marina.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

I had an Allegro once (around 1992 iirc). You had to yell at people not to try and open the glove box, cos if they did, the entire dashboard fell off. It did, more or less, go, stop and turn round corners and only cost me thirty pounds though.

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
11 months ago

The dog is expressing disappointment in the only way he can. The kid is a bit more articulate and in midsentence (“You shoulda bought a Datsun 510…”)

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
11 months ago
Reply to  Nlpnt

Wow, you must predict the future because a Datsun 510 is featured in a Shitbox Showdown a day after this article (I happened to be reading older articles)

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
11 months ago

To be fair, if you’re shooting an ad in England, isn’t it pretty likely the ground will be “unpleasantly damp?” And take that poor dog out of the trunk! Probably the kind of person who sticks their dog in the overhead bin on an airplane, too.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
11 months ago

And people laugh at Soviet cars

Dsa Lkjh
Dsa Lkjh
11 months ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

In soviet Russia cars laugh you.

I may be doing that wrong.

Anyway, given the choice between a Marina and any random Lada I’d take the Lada.

Steve Harris
Steve Harris
11 months ago
Reply to  Dsa Lkjh

Steady on now! A friend of mine owned a Lada Riva, and it was an epic shitbox.

I mean, the Marina was terrible, but Lada’s were on a different level.

Richard Truett
Richard Truett
11 months ago

I actually bought an (ab)used ’73 Marina back in the 1980s when I lived in Daytona.
It was a horrific piece of shite. Even the plastic was rusting.
The engine was from an MGB, a 1.8-liter. But it had just one carb, which you know, goes against Deuteronomy 10.3:1 “And God proclaimed there shall be 1 carburetor for every two cylinders.”
But that wasn’t the worst part. The car had a three-speed Borg Warner Type 35 transmission, a rough shifting rear-end clunk-inducing piece of toad excrement.
And then there was the suspension, which was not far removed from horse-n-buggy technology.
Did it have any redeeming features?
Yeah. The interior was kinda OK, comfortable seats, decent visibility, good heater.
I ended up extracting the powertrain and putting it into an MGB GT, where, surprisingly, it worked really nicely.
To sum up: Here was a dumpy looking British subcompact that came along at the perfect time, in a fuel crisis. And it struggled to get 20 mpg. And it failed.
And that’s my Austin Marina story.

Stephen Bierce
Stephen Bierce
11 months ago

Is that kid in the back seat of the basset hound photo holding another basset hound or a morbidly intense mood of regret and loathing?

Lokki
Lokki
11 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Bierce

Found the English Major

ES
ES
11 months ago
Reply to  Lokki

Porky Hooten, is that you?

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
11 months ago

It looks like they went to an event where people park in a grass lot, waited for everyone to leave and snapped a pic of the cars that couldn’t make it out of the parking lot because they wouldn’t start. You can even see the empty spaces where other more reliable non British Leyland cars once sat.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
11 months ago

Centering your shitbox in a photo with an array of better cars behind it certainly is a choice. As is using another photo to demonstrate your car’s potential for animal abuse.

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
11 months ago

That first pic is what I envision camping to be like in Britain – parking out in a damp field with no interesting landmarks or animals that can kill you (unless you worry about getting trampled by sheep). I remember talking to a German colleague about wildlife in Germany, and he told me (in a kind of weirdly proud way) that there were no animals there that could kill you. I replied “that sounds boring”.

Dsa Lkjh
Dsa Lkjh
11 months ago
Reply to  Boxing Pistons

We have poisonous snakes in the UK, if that helps? And scorpions. And recently a dog was killed by a wild boar.

Plus the lack of guns makes for some really inventive serial killers.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago
Reply to  Dsa Lkjh

There’s scorpions in England? Scorpions only live in the driest part of the US, and I think the driest part of the UK is eleven times wetter than that.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
11 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Yeah, we have tiny little ones live in the south east.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
11 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Some scorpion species prefer moist, forested environments. Uroctonus mordax, for example, is found in the western, generally wetter, parts of Washington, Oregon, and California, says the Pacific Northwest geologist who occasionally engages in field work.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mike Harrell
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  Dsa Lkjh

Venomous snakes.

Poisonous = you bite, you die
Venomous = they bite, you die

Dsa Lkjh
Dsa Lkjh
11 months ago

I’ve learned a thing!

Thank you!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  Boxing Pistons

That’s why all these outdoor shoots had a welshman on staff to keep the sheep busy.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
11 months ago

I was hoping the dog in the trunk was option or something.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
11 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Trunk Dog. The less successful precursor to Trunk Monkey?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW8iAVwt_Yc

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
11 months ago

It’s the British way – instead of beating you with a lead pipe like the Trunk Monkey, Trunk Dog looks at you sadly with disappointment and makes you re-evaluate your life choices.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
11 months ago

I needed that laugh this morning!

Lokki
Lokki
11 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

No, but he is there to show off one of the car’s optional accessories, the patented British Leyland trunk safety system for dogs:

The Bassinet

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
11 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Yep, it’s the “Feeling of British Weather” option, along with the horn that plays the “sad trombone” noise.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
11 months ago

It wasn’t super bad, just rushed to market, full of outdated technology and mostly underpowered, like the Ford Pinto or the Chevy Vega.

At least it didn’t come as a super sad depression inducing 2 door sedan, like it’s competitors the Ford Escort and Vauxhall Chevette. That coupé shaped GT in brown with the white tyre stripes is a cool car 🙂

The MGB and the E-Type looked a little long in the teeth at that time. The more boxy TR6 and Land Rover 88″ held better up to the seventies.

Last edited 11 months ago by Jakob K's Garage
Penguin Pete
Penguin Pete
11 months ago

The worst thing about the Marina, putting aside how similar the suspension and driveline was to a ‘48 Morris Minor, was that they didn’t stop there. The Marina was face-lifted into the truly awful Morris Ital.

There was apparently a South African market straight six Marina, which I’m sure wasn’t actually quick but might have still been an adventure given how basic the suspension is.

Chronometric
Chronometric
11 months ago

And just off frame, a falling piano.

Chronometric
Chronometric
11 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric
Last edited 11 months ago by Chronometric
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