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BMC 1800 & 2200

BMC 1800 & 2200 Published: 30th Aug 2013 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

BMC 1800 & 2200
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BMC's 1800/2200 is quite a tasty family-sized classic saloon


Landcrab was the nickname given to the BMC 1800 thanks to its notable performances in rallies. Thanks to the 1800’s strength (claimed to be the strongest shell ever made at the time) the car proved it’s worth on the rough stuff and would have won the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon but for an accident, leaving that other unlikely hero – the Hillman Hunter – to take overall if not moral victory.

However, we’re more interested in it as road car. Essentially the 1800 – 50 next year – was bigger brother to the 1100/1300 ranges. Another from the hand of Mini creator Issigonis, he took Mini principles to extremes, and one reason why the 1800 was so practical yet sold so disappointingly. Worst still Isigonis’s trademark that served the Mini well was carried over to the 1800 and the interior was unbelievably stark as a result.


ADO 67 as it was known was fact it was little more than a stretched Austin 1100’s living quarters. Mechanically the car was advanced as they came back in the 1960s; transverse drive train and harnessed by the Hydrolastic suspension. Powering the 1800 was a derated single carb MGB engine.


In typical BMC practice there’s the standard Austin and Morris examples and a luxury Wolseley 18/85 which at least boasted a more acceptable cabin look as well as more speed.

When the MkII was launched in ’68, automatic and much needed power steering were on the options list. A mild facelift cheered up the looks and the car’s gearing was improved to counter over-revving.

There was also 1800S which was virtually MGB-powered but this gave way four years later to the six-cylinder 2200, basically a Maxi engine but with two extra cylinders that went into the later ‘wedge’ Princess.


Despite boasting a MGB-derived engine, the 1800 was never a driver’s car but Hydrolastic worked better in the larger body than it did with the bouncy Mini or 1100. The 2200 with its Australian engine is much smoother although the penalty is an Aussie-like thirst for the amber nectar.

The bus-like driving position does the driving experience no favours. Where the smaller Maxi (which used the 1800 doors to save money) scored over the 1800 and 2200 was the fitment a fifth gear.


The most rust-prone version is the last of the line MkIII, thanks to its thinner steel. The areas most likely to have corroded are the sills and jacking points. There’s an inner sill as well as an outer, and a common practice is to rivet on a cover sill. The best way of checking is to jack car up and listen for cracking or to see if filler falls out.

If the sills have started to corrode there’s a good chance that rust is in the floorpans, so lift the carpets to check. Other rot spots to be wary of include the headlamp surrounds and the seam between the front wing and the front panel. Subframe rust isn’t so prevalent like the 1100.

Although the six-cylinder engines are less stressed than the B-Series units, they don’t last as long. They overheat, because the radiator isn’t up to it. The B-Series engines can be quite noisy, sounding tappety even when set up properly. The 1800 is fitted with a carbon clutch release bearing, which doesn’t take hard use too readily. At least the clutch on a six-cylinder car can be renewed with the engine in place.

The Landcrab’s suspension system shouldn’t give any problems as long as the displacers are pumped up every five years or so. Contrary to popular opinion, the problems don’t lie with the displacers – it’s their hoses that give up. The owners club can help here,


At the top end up top £3000, although Bocking Garage (01535 274999) has an 18/85 said to be “lovely” with power steering and is asking £4950 for it. Average cars are £1500 or so and projects just a few hundred and worth that for spares.



If you’re after a truly family-sized classic that also brings back childhood memories – then yes!

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