Tag Archive: mg rover


William Richard Morris, later Lord Nuffield, (1877 – 1963) , was running his own bicycle repair business. In 1909, he created Morris Garage (MG) for repairing bicycles, cars as well as he was dealing in the sale sale of cars – Wolseley, Humber, Singer and Standard cars.
In 1912, he decided to enter in to manufacturing cars and founded Morris Motors. Morris Motors manufactured cars by sourcing components, engines, gearboxes from other manufactures.

A 1913, Morris Oxford car –

The car was named as Oxford after his hometown and came to be known as “Bullnose” in view of the design of the radiator grill.
In 1927, Morris Motors acquired Wolseley Motor Company.
In order to meet the competition from Austin 7 model of Austin Motors, Morris Motor company introduced the Morris Minor in 1928.
Few more small car designed follow from Morris Motors, Morris 8 being one them.

A 1936 Morris 8

By 1935 , Morris Garage (MG) has transformed itself in to a separate car company, mainly involved in making re-bodies Morris cars as well converting Morris cars to sports versions. MG Company was integrated in to Morris Motors in 1935.

In 1952, a major merger between Austin Motors and Morris Motors created the British Motor Corporation (BMC).

Sir Alec Issigonis , a well known Automotive Engineer, was recruited back in to BMC and given the task of creating a small car. This project led to the creation of Morris Mini Minor in 1959.
The Morris Minor had many path breaking design innovations, some of which  were –
  • Front wheel drive
  • Transverse mounted engine
  • Radiator on left to use engine driven cooling fan, where the fan was pushing air on to the radiator
  • A boot lid which opens downwards to increase space
  • Sliding windows so that the inside of doors can be used as storage space
  • Rubber cone suspension instead of springs

The Mini became one of the most famous marques , next only to Model T.

The Oxford range of cars continued to evolve and were produced in India by Hindustan Motors.

A 1948 Morris Oxford MO aka Hindustan Fourteen in India –

A 1950 Morris Oxford II aka Hindustan Landmaster in India –

A 1956 Morris Oxford III aka Hindustan Ambassador in India –

The Morris Motors went through a series of mergers and take overs – In 1966 merger of Jaguar and BMC created the British Motor Holdings(BMH). In 1968 Leyland Motors and BMH merged to form British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC). In 1975, BLMC was renamed as British Leyland (BL). In 1986 , BL was renamed as Rover group.
In 1989 , the Rover group was purchased by British Aerospace and later, in 1994, sold off to BMW. In 2000, owing to financial difficulties, BMW sold the Rover brand to a consortium who named the company as MG Rover.
In 2007, Nanjing Automotive group purchased the MG brand.

The Morris Motor Logos –

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In 1877, John Kemp Starley (1854 – 1901) and William Sutton (1830 – 1888) created the Starley & Sutton Company to manufacture Bicycles. They were concentrating on making the bicycles safer to ride as compared to the “Penny-farthing” bicycles of those days. In 1883 , they introduced tricycles and were selling those tricycles under the Rover brand name.

In 1885 they introduced the revolutionary Rover safety bicycle and can be considered as the father of the modern bicycle. A 1889 Rover safety bicycle –
In 1889, after the demise of his business partner , the company was renamed as J. K. Starley & Company.  In 1896 , with the bicycle business at its peak, the company was renamed as Rover Cycle Company. Starley also experimented with electric cars unsuccessfully and did not pursue further.
After the sudden death of John Starley in 1901 , Harry Lawson (of Daimler) took over the reins and steered the company towards motorisation – Motorcycles in 1903  and later cars in 1904. An 1903 Rover Motorcycle
Rover continued in Motorcycle business till 1925 after which production creased.
In 1904, Rover introduced their first motorcar. A 1905 Rover car
Rover became the well know British marque , across the world and continued to make famous car. In 1905, the company was renamed as Rover Company. Some of the famous cars of Rover are –
A 1910 . Rover Six
A 1929 , Rover Light Six
A 1940’s Rover P3
A 1950, Rover P4 “Cyclops” – third light in the grill –
A 1960 , Rover P5
In the 1950s , Rover experimented with gas turbine engines and introduced the Rover Jet1, unsuccessfully.
In 1948, inspired by the U S Army’s Willy’s Jeep, Maurice Wilks built  the Land Rover literally from the parts of a discarded Willy’s Jeep. Owing to steel shortage after the war and abundant availability of aluminium from aircraft construction, the body was made of light weight aluminum. The paint was military green as this was available in abundance after the war. One of the earliest Land Rovers built based on a Willy’s Jeep , a 1948 Land Rover

 

Land Rovers continued to make vehicle with ladder frame till recently, when they shifted to monocoque construction.
Owning to financial difficulties,  post the 1960s, the Rover company changed many hands.
In 1967 , Rover Company was taken over by Leyland Motor Corporation and integrated as Rover – Triumph division. In 1968, Leyland Motor Corporation merged with British Motor Holdings to become British Leyland Motor Company(BLMC)In 1975, BLMC was nationalised  to form British Leyland (BL). In 1978, Land Rover was made as a separate brand. In 1981, in an internal reorganisation, Austin Motors and Rover Company were merged to form the Austin – Rover group.
A 1984 Austin Montego. This car was made and sold in India as Rover Montego by Sipani Motors.
In 1986, the parent company , British Leyalnd was renamed as Rover Group. The Rover group was taken over by British Aerospace in 1989 and later sold off to BMW in 1994. In 2000, in view of financial difficulties, BMW sold off the Rover brand to a consortium who named the company as MG Rover, the MG brand coming from the Morris Garages and Morris Motor Company.
A 2004 MG Rover –
Further , in 2007 , Nanjing Automotive Group of China purchased the MG brand and SAIC of China purchased the product rights of Rover car but not the Rover brand. The Land Rover brand was purchased by Ford and integrated in to their Premium Automotive Group (PAG), along with Jaguar. In 2008, Tata Motors of India purchased Jaguar – Land Rover from Ford. Currently the Land Rover brand is with Tata Motors. In China, SAIC makes Rover cars but cannot use the Rover brand name and hence these cars are being sold under Roe We brand.
The Rover Logos
The original Rover logo is of a Viking ship.

Land Rover Logo –

Austin Rover Logo –

MG Rover Logo –

Roe We Logo (China) –

 

 

Frederick York Wolseley (1837 – 1899) was working in a Sheep shearing company in Australia. Wolseley invented a mechanical shearing machine powered by a gasoline engine and in 1887 formed the companyWolseley Sheep Shearing Machine co, in Australia. He hired Herbert Austin as the chief of manufacturing in his company. In 1893 , Wolseley moved his company to England.
Herbert Austin was more interested in motor cars than sheep shearing machines and in 1896 made the first Wolseley motor car – a three-wheeled motor car.
In 1897 , he made the second Wolsely car, named Wolsely Autocar No 1. While he demonstrated the ability manufacture cars, these early versions were not very successful.  In 1900, Herbert Austin created the first four-wheeled Wolseley car and in 1901 , the company Wolseley Tool & Motor Co was formed.
After the death of Frederick Wolseley , Herbert Austin had frequent difference of opinion with the company directors and left Wolseley to form his own company – Austin Motorsin the year 1905. In 1905 , Wolsely and Siddley Auto car company joined together to make cars underWolseley – Siddley brand. A Wolsely – Siddley tourer.
Some of the famous Wolseley models were Wolseley  25 and theWolseley  6/80, a British Police car.
Wolseley Logo –
Over its lifetime , Wolseley changed many hands –
In 1914, the company was renamed as Wolseley Motor Co. In 1918 , Wolseley enters Japan through a joint venture with Ishikawa Ship Building & Engineering co to manufacture and sell Wolseley cars.  This compnay , in 1949, becomes Isuzu Motors.
In 1927 , Wolseley was acquired by Morris Motor co under the Nuffield organisation. In 1952 Nuffield organisation acquires Austin Motors and is renamed as British Motor Corporation (BMC). In 1956 , BMC is renamed as British Motor Holdings (BMH). In 1969 BMH and Leyland Motor Corporation joins to form the British Leyland. In 1986, British Leyalnad was renamed as the Rover group and later MG Rover.
In 1975 , the Wolseley brand was discontinued. Currently the Wolseley brand is with SAIC(Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation)  , China which acquired MG Rover group.