The Spanish auto industry has a reputation for creating special versions of familiar cars for the local market. Spaniards like their cars to have four doors. So Seat built four-door versions of both the Seat/Fiat 600 and the 850, and Renault has for many years built a stretched four-door Renault 5 with a traditional boot glued on it and named it Renault 7.
Another motor company that tried the Spanish sedan-market was British Leyland Motor Corporation. From 1972 to 1975 they built their Austin Victoria in the BL AUTHI-factory in Pamplona. They could easily do it, as the car had been developed already a few years before.
The Austin Victoria was originally named Austin Apache, and it was specially designed for South Africa. Here, BLMC had their own factory, named Leykor, in the town of Blackheath. Based on the Austin/Morris 1100, generally known as ADO16, BLMC developed a new sedan model.
Although the original ADO16 was designed by Pininfarina, BLMC asked that other Italian designer, Michelotti, to create a new car, based on this Austin/Morris 1100.
In those days BLMC was a customer of Michelotti as he had designed all their Triumph sedans, like the Triumph 1500, the Toledo, the Dolomite and of course the Triumph 2000 and 2500.
This last car turned out to be the role model for the new Austin Apache, which even used the taillights of the 2500 and parts of the rear bumper.
What Michelotti did was to make both the front and especially the back of the car longer. The centre part remained practically untouched. He gave the front a more modern look, using rectangular headlights for the basic models and double round headlights for the upmarket TC- and Deluxe-versions.
The back of the car came to resemble the 2500, with a chrome strip around the boot and black vinyl on the C-pillar, just as the Triumph had.
Technically the car remained the good old Austin/Morris 1100, or rather 1300, as it had the 1300 cc engine on board, driving the front wheels. Also the car had the hydrolastic suspension, which must have been quite an incentive on this little luxury sedan.
The Apache came in production in South Africa in 1971, the same year that in the UK the Morris Marina was introduced. When production stopped in 1978, more than 20.000 Apaches had been built.
The Spanish AUTHI-corporation was also subsidiary to British Leyland Motor Corporation and started building Austin- and Morris-cars by the end of the 1960’s.
The factory in Pamplona started producing several ADO16-models, better known as the Austin 1100 and Morris 1100. Later they also produced the Mini in several different variations.
In 1972 BL Authi started producing the Austin Apache, which was renamed Austin Victoria for the Spanish market.
Although in South Africa the Apache was doing pretty well, it was a failure in Spain. Production of the car stopped in 1975 and a year later the BL Authi-factory closed too.
Since there haven’t been many Victoria’s produced, it’s no wonder that there are very few available on the market now.
We managed to find a few on the internet. The olive-colored Victoria is a Deluxe from 1975. According to the description, it has been restored inside and out and it looks wonderful. The other ones seem to need to have some work done, but on the other hand, they are absolutely worth it.
After all, they are unique.