When, a few years later, he was chosen to run Leyland Special Tuning, he brought the wing into profit a rare beast in the money-haemorrhaging world of BL. But if the SD1 receives a vote of confidence, what about the great unmentionables the likes of the Allegro, Marina and moore o matic garage door opener z133 “Everybody laughs about the Marina now,” says Seth Smith, generously, “but when you consider the brief to use Morris Minor components to make a Cortina rival it was a reasonable achievement. And apart from the stupid steering wheel, the Allegro was pretty good, and a lot less labourintensive to produce than the 1100/13 ” Was the UK press quicker to stick the boot in when things went wrong than they were in, say, France? “Not at first,” says Seth Smith, “but 'AT THE TIME, BRITISH LEYLAND HAD THE BIGGEST ADVERTISING BUDGET IN THE UK' they sure as hell were once it was nationalised.
” Our four protagonists fail to agree on how good or bad the promisingly specified five-door, five-speed Maxi really was. “It was the only new car on the books when (British) Leyland was formed on 2 January 1968,” says Seth Smith, “and it was abysmal particularly the gearchange. ” There is, however, consensus that the Princess was a better car than it was given credit for, but Greenhill’s account of the Princess 2 launch in the late 1970s is a microcosm of the ingrained and intractable cultural problems they were up against: “We took a set of cars to Nardo in Italy to do ‘two years’ driving in two weeks’ to prove the new O-series engine. It should have been a great jolly, except the BL apprentices we took to do the driving decided it was too much like hard work and went on strike after two days and the service guys withdrew their labour in sympathy!” “The real dark clouds started with that sort of union behaviour,” adds Simon Pearson, who began working in PR for Triumph in ’68, helped to launch the Stag in ’7 0 and took BL back into motorsport with Special Tuning: “The genesis of those problems began right after the war. People were not being properly paid and rewarded so they got together and formed their own moore o matic garage door opener z133
The number of strikes was incredible. ” On the subject of closed shops, Greenhill says: “There was a discussion as to whether the sales office where I worked should become a moore o matic garage door opener z133 shop. So we were taken into a conference room to discuss it and vote the trouble being that only union members could vote on it. ” The conversation moves to adventures with press launches. Seth Smith recalls the introduction of the Series III E-type in 1971: “We took journalists to Browns Lane and had a nice presentation on the V12 then took them on a tour of the new engine shop.