The 6 cylinder Austin Freeway sedan and station wagon,
were released in April 1962. These
cars were developed by BMC Australia to counter the growing
popularity of the new 6 cylinder rivals from the US, namely
the GM Holden and Ford Falcon.
Both these cars featured
6 cylinder motors, while the Austin's had, until now,
made do with a 1622cc 4 cylinder engine.
It is interesting to note that BMC had already determined
that Australia deserved (in fact needed) a larger displacement
engine. While their cars were near identical to those
sold in the UK, the Australian cars had the B Series 1622cc
engine fitted 2 years prior to their UK cousins, who had
to make do with the 1489cc motor.
Rather than design an entirely new 6 cylinder motor, BMC
simply added an extra two cylinders on the existing 1622cc
engine - bringing the capacity to 2433cc. The engine was
then coupled to an adaptation of the metropolitan 3 spd.
Changes to the radiator and bonnet were required to fit
the larger engine in, as were improvements to the suspension.
BMC continued its tradition of creating vehicles from
the parts bin of others, using rear fins taken from the
Riley, and an interior taken from the Morris Oxford.
The Freeway did not sell in the quantities BMC had hoped,
because both Holden and Ford released lower and very much
more modern models in that year. The Freeway also suffered
early reliability problems, with number 5 and 6 bearings
not receiving oil, with the usual disastrous results.
Although rectified. a lot of the damage had been done.
Please note: The vehicle pictured is the Wolseley
24/80 - a near identical cousin to the Austin Freeway.
The Wolseley differed in that its wheelbase was approx
1" longer, and of course it had the usual higher
quality cabin appointments such as leather upholstery.