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08/07/2010 1153

Rover - M1

The British motor industry has had a history that has possibly had several common themes running down through it. Firstly a reputation for technical innovation and secondly more sadly a reputation for the commercial in the ability to take advantage of aforesaid technical innovation.

It is the latter that we’re looking at, at the moment with a brief look at the Rover M1. The Rover Motor Company has an interesting history in that he seemed to the from feast to famine and back again on a regular basis.

Firstly there would be technical innovation and success stories such as the so-called stopgap Land Rover which saved the company bacon in the tough early post-World War II years of government control and rationing. It was this non-nonsense extremely basic but immensely robust and ultimately extremely successful vehicle that really kept the cash flow going and allowed the company to look seriously at other potentially commercial projects.

So what was the M 1 and why was it never built? Well first of all the M1 or the M-Type as it was known was actually meant to be a two seater car with fold down rear jump seat’s. Possibly indeed I would say almost definitely ahead of its time production began work on the car seriously in May 1945.

The rationale behind the project was and the initial research felt that the M1 was perfect for the new climate that was emerging in post-war Great Britain.
To most onlookers it was obvious that petrol would remain in short supply for many years and that the knock on effect was that this would automatically create a large market for more efficient cars with low fuel consumption.

There was considerable excitement within the company at the prospect of a new car that was as they felt at the time, perfect for the climate off to World War II and would strongly boost Rovers fortunes.

Sadly as in the case of a great many projects the economic climate changed and changed for the worse. Things were obviously not going to pick up as quickly as everybody had thought and production problems started to mount. Firstly they were minor issues such as getting the tuning and manufacturing dies in place for the production lines and then a steel crisis added to the difficulties.

The final nail in the coffin came with British government policy at time which was for a grand vision of rationalisation within the motor industry. The idea here was one car one company and so the board of the road for mode to company decided sadly, to scrap production on the M1.

The Rover Motor Company will soon to lurch with Austin and Morris to form British Motor Holdings in 1966 and ultimately leading to the British Leyland motor Corp. in 1968. Within such a conglomeration and variety of brands small individual projects stood absolutely no chance of commercial viability and henceforth the Rover M1 was lost to the world for good.

Sadly the British disease otherwise known as the inability to successfully run large motor companies ground to a halt in the 1990s with effectively the last Bastion of the British car industry, the Rover group going into receivership.





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