1974: Austin Marina as reliable as a Triumph TR6, as powerful as a single-carb MGB!

The Morris Marina sold in large numbers in the United Kingdom during its 1971-1980 production run, with sales approaching the 1.5 million mark. That's not much less than the production of the Chevrolet Vega, another affordable rear-wheel-drive economy car that later came to symbolize many of the ills of its time. But American car shoppers during the Malaise Era had an alternative to the Vega: the extremely cheap Austin Marina (so badged because most American car shoppers were vaguely aware of the Austin brand but had never heard of this Morris outfit), which featured all the passion of the English coupled with the unmistakable build quality of British Leyland.

It's not possible to talk about the Marina without stopping for The Piano Drop Discussion first, so here it is. No, the Marina wasn't a very good car, even by the very accepting standards of its time, but we should respect British Leyland for making an effort to sell this car in the United States. At least one Austin Marina has survived to become a successful race car, so there was a happy ending.

Some Marinas were sold here, just as some Fiat Stradas sold here a few years later. The magazine advertisement proves that BL took its best shot on the other side of the Atlantic.

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