Skip to comments.Government Motors 1975
Posted on 11/26/2009 5:40:27 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
Government Motors 1975
America should learn from Britains disastrous takeover of its biggest auto company.
PETER MARLOW/MAGNUM PHOTOS
Striking became a way of life for British Leyland autoworkers during the seventies.
After the Second World War, the United Kingdoms newly elected Labour government resolved to build of Britain a New Jerusalem. It nationalized the commanding heights of the economy and inaugurated the cradle-to-grave welfare state. By the 1970s, the UK faced an economic crisis unrivaled since the Great Depression. Shabby and hopeless, Britain had become, in Henry Kissingers words, a tragedy of a nation, reduced to begging, borrowing, stealing.
British Leyland, Britains largest automaker, faced bankruptcy in 1975. Fearing that its collapse would leave a million workers unemployed, the Labour government nationalized it. The company remained a ward of the state for 13 years. During that time, the British taxpayers invested 11 billion poundsthe inflation-adjusted equivalent of $22 billion todayin a company whose only sign of life was a willingness to spend that money. Though the British economy recovered, British Leyland did not.
If this story sounds troublingly familiar to you, you appear to be nearly alone. Few of the policymakers currently nationalizing the American auto industry seem to remember the British experience, and fewer still seem to have learned anything from it.
(Excerpt) Read more at city-journal.org ...
That's, like, history dude!
Obama has no interest in history, particular English history!
Anyone else see that episode of Top Gear where the presenters drive some of the “best of the worst” of British Leyland’s offerings?
They also had one on Top Gear where they tested Russian and eastern European commie era cars. The showdown had Jeremy in a commie BL Austin Marina versus a Russian accented James in a Lada to see which commie car would win.
Clarkson, who I generally do not like because of the fat American and bush cracks to make his BBC bosses happy, ripped commie workers at BL. He said they spent more time on strike than making cars.
I owned a 76 MG. Every part that fell off of that car was of the finest British craftsmanship.
Throw in the electrical components from Lucas, Prince of Darkness.
The three positions on a Lucas headlamp switch:
yes the cars were crap, but in fairness most of them were designed pre-nationalization. the allegro, marina and the princess being the biggest turds. The montego which was designed during nationalization was actually a pretty good car and I had a couple of them as pool cars when I worked for Jaguar. And don’t get me started about how bad those cars were during the 80s
Hey, that's not funny, I have a Jaguar... my parts are much more expensive...
I had a bright orange Allegro. I actually drove it to a local inspection garage and when it surprisingly passed I asked the owner how much he would give me for it.
300 quid and a long walk home. One of the best decisions I made in my life.
Yeah, I’ve seen the “British Leyland Challenge”. I think my favorite part was on the rough-surface test track, where the entire door fell off Jeremy’s Rover. The part where they filled the cars with water and then drove them while breathing through snorkels was quite entertaining, too.
the all-agro was based on the austin 1100/1300 series. in redesigning it they made the car heavier and with less interior room. truly a lose-lose, it’s only claim to fame was a 5 speed transmission on the 1500 and 1750 engines.
To be honest, these types of things coming from foreigners do not really bother me... in fact, I wish that all those who feel the same way but live in the USA do the same as Clarkson... and live abroad. :)
In Britain's past, see America's future.
Mom and dad bought a BL Triumph Spitfire in the mid-'70's, and it was a handsome but unloveable blend of tradition and unreliability. The fuel pump went out almost immediately, and was from then on replaced at alarmingly short intervals (by an OEM part of finest British craftsmanship) until one day a Japanese-made pump was installed... that one worked perfectly and was on the car until they
found a sucker sold it. The electrical problems alone made dad and I wonder how in the world the RAF managed to fly anything across the Channel, let alone do it at night.
I will admit that it was most convenient to be able to tilt the hood up and sit on a front tire to work on the engine- a very considerate feature on a vehicle that needed so much work on the engine.
I had the 1100. I also remember having to re-gap the points every 300 miles. If you happen to forget the car would definitely remind you!
Didn’t it also take 50 weight oil. I can remember changing the oil once and put 10 w 30 in it. Every morning when I started it up it would fog the entire estate.
I think I still have a Chilton’s manual. A must if you own any British Leyland automobile.
I bought a new MGB in 1977. Fun car for drivng the backroads of Kentucky and W.Va. Between the Vapor locks, incomplete wiring harness (no left rear turn signal) bad stereo, and other defects it was a trade off.
I didn’t have it long enough to totally fall apart as I dozed off diving it one night. The cops woke me up with a tailgate emblazoned with CHEVROLET a few inches from my face.
Thanks for the ping, Slings.
Hubby had a 67 Sunbeam when I met him. He sold it to a friend of mine, and he has regretted it ever since.
It was a neat little toodler, but it used to break down every time he loaned it to his younger brother. Of course, not many cars could survive being loaned to his brother in those days.
I think pretty much everything over there used 20/50 during that time. not so sure about now, I haven’t lived there for 20 years and I guess a lot has changed. the worst car I ever owned there was an alfa romeo guilietta, the oil control rings had failed and it was blowing vast quantities oil out of the crankcase dip stick hole. I rigged a piece of hose to it and routed it to a catchment bottle in the engine bay. after every journey I would pour the contents of the bottle back into the engine. I used to refer to it as a “semi-dry sump” engine.
Somewhat misleading, snce it fails to mention that between the end of the War and 1975 Britain had spent more years under a Conservative than a Labour government. And Attlee's Labour government of 1945-51 didn't create an impoverished nation - it inherited a nation utterly bankrupt by the War. Its failure (and that of its immediate Conservative successors) was not to create a template for economic recovery, as German governments, from an equally dire beginning, were successfully doing at the time.
You’re welcome. My father had an MG for a while; he spent far more time working on it than driving it.
Yes, MGs. Another bf had one. He was 6’6” and weighed 250, so it was a riot to watch him unfold himself from that tiny car. Bf just before him was 5’4” and weighed 135. He had a huge GTX.
Oh. Sorry I brought an American car into the thread. Don’t throw me out, K?
Britain still made some good cars in the 70’s, some very good cars. Jensen’s, the Mini, Lotus, Triumphs....
The Jensen Interceptor:
Triumph Spitfire 1500:
Clarkson, who I generally do not like because of the fat American and bush cracks to make his BBC bosses happy..
UNTRUE. Clarkson is a loose cannon, he certainly does NOT say and do things to make anyone happy.
He’s an equal opportunity insulter too :)