2017 Shannons Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction

1968 Austin 1800 Sedan

$5,000 - $8,000

No Reserve


Engine In-line 4-cylinder, 1798cc
Gearbox 3-speed automatic
Engine No. 18YA/RC/H4463
Chassis No. YAHS4 3909
Body Work Sedan
Colour Clay Beige
Interior Red
Trim Vinyl
Wheels Steel disc
Brakes Discs/Drums

Vehicle Report

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Following on from the Mini and 1100, BMC’s next front wheel drive model – codenamed ADO 17 and badged the 1800 – was again designed by Sir Alex Issigonis and proved another remarkable piece of packaging.  Designed around the new B-series engine, the 1800 boasted a passenger compartment larger than most luxury cars despite the relatively compact dimensions, with a huge amount of rear passenger space.  The 1.8-litre five bearing crankshaft four-pot motor produced 80 horsepower at 5000rpm, driving the front wheels through a four-speed gearbox with synchromesh on all gears, a first for a BMC product.  The 1800’s unconventional styling was initially contracted to Italian design studio Pininfarina but the original concept was ultimately compromised by BMC’s own designers, with somewhat fussy detailing and earned the nickname “Land Crab”.  The unitary bodyshell did prove extremely rigid and this, combined with a modified version of the Mini’s famous Hydrolastic suspension system, endowed the 1800 with superb handling.  Launched to enthusiastic reviews, the 1800 won the coveted European “Car of the Year” award and proved particularly successful in Australia following its introduction here in November 1965, with locally assembled models given better sealing to protect against dust, a sump guard and raised ride height.  The 1800 also proved its worth on the world rallying stage, particularly in grueling endurance events, with Paddy Hobkirk’s second in the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon a standout result.  The 1800 was later joined by Morris and Wolseley 18/85 derivatives and replaced with an updated Mark II version in May 1968, featuring revised styling, larger 14-inch wheels and a higher compression engine.  Despite relatively modest sales, the model continued on into the 1970s with the 1800 Mark III of 1972 before being killed off by British Leyland in 1975.  In Australia, BMC developed several uniquely Antipodean versions of the 1800, including the utility and, for a brief period between 1970 and 1972, the Tasman and Kimberley, both powered by a 2227cc six.  Despite relatively strong local sales, the 1800 is a rare sight on Australian roads these days, with the number of survivors dwindling every year.  For anyone who has driven a “Land Crab” the virtues of Issigonis’ clever design remain obvious and five decades on, the 1800 has finally earned classic status. 


  • Rare one family owned Austin 1800
  • Recently overhauled and mechanically sound
  • Offered at No Reserve
A rare find these days, this Austin 1800 has been with the one family since new and has always been a much loved, well looked after vehicle.  Presenting in very honest, unmolested condition, the Austin retains its original upholstery - showing little wear apart from a split on the driver’s seat - and even has the original radio.  A rare automatic Mark I (using Borg-Warner’s excellent Type 35 unit), the 1800 benefited from a thorough mechanical check over and overhaul two years ago, while more recent work has seen the brakes, fluids and tyres attended to, plus a general service in preparation for sale.  Good Austin 1800s are becoming increasingly thin on the ground, particularly with such good provenance, making this a rare opportunity for the BMC collector or enthusiast.  Full of period charm, from the strip speedo to the minimalist approach to the interior, the vastly underrated ‘Land Crab’ remains a remarkable piece of packaging and a fine car on the road.  Currently registered on historic plates in Victoria, the vehicle will therefore be sold unregistered. 
Note: Shannons advise that all potential buyers research all vehicles before purchase to authenticate originality.


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