Monday, May 30, 2011

Cars aspiring to be posh

Making a posh version of a basic car is curious marketing non master stroke mostly by British car manufacturers. They took their basic car and made it grander and hoped to sell them at a premium price. I don't think it was very successful and the designers produced some very odd cars.

The first example looks kind of familiar. It is a Wolseley Hornet made in about 1961 and yes, if you focus on the front of it, you can see it is a Mini. It was originally propelled along by a tiny 850cc motor. I used the word propel advisedly. I doubt it could pull your hat off.

Next up is the Panther Rio, essentially a Triumph Dolomite. It was very expensive car, costing something like three times as much as the car it was based on. The target market was Rolls Royce buyers who wanted something a fraction more modest. Although it was recognised as a good car, no one wanted to buy it. Fail.

A Morris 1100 with an MG badge stuck on it. There may well have been some mods, but it was still a Morris 1100.

A Mayflower. Not much street cred in the name but I doubt street cred suited its target market. I don't mind its styling, from the front at least. It was to appeal to Rolls and Bentley buyers but failed to do so. A Top Gear presenter suggested that it was the ugliest car of all time.

For mine, if you want an ugly car, you can't go past this Austin Allegro Vanden Plas. It makes the top 100 ugliest car list. Here's what I think happened. The first car was under construction.
'Hey boss, the grill wasn't delivered.'
'It's ok lad. There is one from something else over in the corner. Whack that on.'
Hence the car that grew around the grill.
I suppose there is a photo on the net of the rear of the car, but I have just had my breakfast.


  1. Providing "premium" products that are essentialy the same is a standard price maximising stratergy which is alive and well.
    Visit your nearest Starbucks to see it in action, all those variations at all those prices, when the cost of ingredients and time is practically identical. Although I guess instead of making the cars really ugly they could have just added some whipped cream.

  2. I remember the Morris 1100. A friend of my mum's had one and offered to teach me to drive. 2 lessons later and the company he was working for moved on and of course he went too. End of lessons. No one else offered and I was too shy to ask. so I got my little scooter, a Suzuki 50cc, got my licence and was happy. Never did learn to drive a car.

  3. BDG, I suppose what manufacturers now do is have many different models. I never darken the doors of Starbucks. I am a Melburnian and we take our coffee very seriously.

    Cheap enough to buy a scooter now River. Bet you will spread a bit wider on the seat than you used to.