THE MINI MAG. Volume 2 No.10
  October 2000

Vol.2 Home Page | Index Page

From The Production Line.
With Nairn Hindaugh.
Nairn worked for BMC in the 60’s. Here is another article from his memorabilia.

Partner Collector.

Stephen Dalton wrote in the last issue about his collection of the internal magazine to BMC dealers called Partner. All motor manufacturers had their Parts and Accessories divisions publishing magazines aimed at promoting their activities. GMH's efforts were known as Accelerator, and were on the same sort of level and quality that BMC's Partner was on. As Stephen points out, they were started in late 1959 and produced on a 'needs' basis, rather than a regular periodical. Many of them were devoted to a new model, while others were slanted towards seasonal needs, such as a Winter edition aimed at selling heater and demisting units.

The first one in my collection is Number 3, issued in April 1960, but it wasn't until Number 9 in April-May 1961 that the Morris 850 made it's presence felt.

This issue was devoted almost entirely to information about this vehicle including specifications, maintenance, body parts and service. There is a complete listing of body parts and their numbers, where and how to jack the things up on a service station hoist, special lubricants for the driveshafts and suspension struts, a list of fast selling items such as fan-belts and so on.

The BMC Transistor Radio was also promoted; one of its features was the lack of a vibrator which may have caused disappointment in some circles.......

Number 11 (Summer Issue 1961) promoted the 'Penny-a-Mile' Morris 850's achievement in a crossing of the country. Again, there were service notes for the Mini, particularly the brakes and ignition, as well as a parts list for the final drive system.

Numbers 12 and 13 dealt with the introduction of the Morris Major Elite, Austin Freeway and Wolseley 24/80, so there wasn't much on the Mini. However, in Number 14, October 1962, among the tips for adjusting Freeway gearshifts and altering the seat movements on the Elite, there is an article about the Luxury Look you could achieve for your 850. By forking out nine pounds seventeen shillings and sixpence, plus tax and fitting (that's \$19.50 in those days or about $350 in today's money) you could fit a Polished Burr Walnut fascia, which apparently came from England. It featured two glove-box openings for access to the entire parcel tray. Every present owner of a Morris 850 will want one and every new owner too!

I remember the Mini Van we had as a press car in Melbourne in 1964 was fitted with one, which looked slightly incongruous.

Number 16 in October 1963 featured the 997cc Cooper specifications and a description of the differences to an 850. A further list of 850 body parts accompanied a feature on suitable accessories, such as a bonnet lock control kit, door handle scratch guards and plastic etachable air vents. These fitted snugly onto the outside window which allowed it to slide shut, but forced air into the car's interior. They could be had for 3 a set. Tips on how to cope with adjusting Freeway and 24/80 auto trannies as well as explaining that you didn't have to remove the rear sub-frame on an 850 to change the petrol supply pipe. (This will be featured in a future edition of MiniMag).

A must also for anyone who wanted to make their 850 or Cooper stand out was a perspex sun visor and a body moulding and anodized panel kit. For ten quid you could have the flash on the sides in either gold, red or silver.

Miraculous Morris 1100 and 18 to the Mini-van, already covered by Steve. Number 19 in October 1964 promoted the new BMC Car Conditioner available for fifteen guineas (that's 15/15/-) which would deliver fresh, cool air in summer, heat in winter and de-mist all year round. Your best-ever bargain in Mini-Motorists' search for year-round comfort, so the dealers were told. For 12 you could let the light into your Mini-van. These new glass sides could let people see what you were selling (and presumably see if it was worth breaking in and knocking off) as well as letting see the driver see more of the road around him. He would have to be going sideways to achieve this, but then that's how a lot of Mini-vans were driven in those days.

Number 20 of March/April 1965 covered the introduction of the Mini De Luxe. It gave the usual list of fast moving parts as well as its salient features. Much of it is a comparison with the 850 still in production and the Cooper, which was soon to be replaced by the S, covered in Number 21 as in Stephen's story.

This is where my collection stops as well. I don't remember what happened with Partner, but I would love to get my hands on the ones which would have covered the 1800 release. However, I have another run of News letters which the Parts and Accessories Division of British Leyland issued. The earliest I have is Number 117 of November 1970, and they run up to #148 in late 1974, by now called Parts News. They took on a different and cheaper appearance, being just A4 sheets with a staple in the top corner.These cover the various introductions of Minis, such as the Clubman range in #125 and the Californian Moke in #131, both undated.

I will cover some of the gems found in these publications in future Mini Mags, as there is some very valuable information in them. They were never intended to be made available to the general public, but just a cheap and cheerful means of conveying fresh data to the dealers. Many were kept in binders and by the look at the run of later well-thumbed issues I have, were often used as reference.