Tuesday, October 27, 2009

1973 Austin Marina - A True Survivor

That's an actual ad for an Austin Marina. If you enlarge the graphic (click on it), you'll see that the first line says, "Because it is comprised of proven components like those in the best of British Leyland, the Marina is one of the most experienced new economy cars on the market today". In other words, this was a parts bin special.

Right up front I'll say that I'm well aware of the horrible reputations these cars have. That hasn't stopped me from writing about a car before...

The Marina was called the Morris Marina in most of the world. BL, knowing the the Morris nameplate had no value in the US, badged it the Austin Marina in North America.

The technology used in this car was old when it was new. Top Gear recently chose it as "one of the worst cars ever". They have no love for the Marina.

There are some good points to the Marina. Like the ad says, the engine is basically the same engine found in an MGB. While it's no rocket, it's a durable engine that takes well to a certain amount of modifications. A Weber carb and a mild cam will make a world of difference. It's not a bad looking car and with a set of Minilites and a good paint job, it can look almost sporty.

It's been written that BL's target when designing this car was the Fiat 124. In one way at least, it hit the mark. The Marina rusted as badly as any Fiat. That's what makes this car so remarkable. It still exists. Very few still do. The ones that didn't rust away were often used as donor cars; their parts scavenged for other sportier BL products.

The 1973 Austin Marina above has a claimed 26,000 miles on it. It has new tires, water pump, radiator and master cylinder. The seller is throwing in a NOS fuel pump. The seller says he's been using it as his daily driver for the past 2 years.

There is no logical reason to buy this car. But, if I had the room, I would. Every cat and dog I've ever owned was a stray; an animal no one else wanted. Each of them, with a little attention and love, became loyal, fun, enjoyable, lovable pets. I look at a car like this in the same way.
Located in Wilton Manors, FL, click here to see the Craigslist listing.

Top Gear Marina Videos:

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