On this day in auto history – July 1st

Thu 1st Jul 2021

It was on this day in 1980 that a beleaguered British Leyland launched the much-maligned Morris Ital - widely-regarded as one of the worst cars ever made in Britain.

Assembled initially at Cowley, then later at Longbridge, the medium-sized saloon was the successor to the company’s much-maligned Morris Marina and earned its ‘Ital’ name through a nod to an Italian design company which shaped its production.

Competitively-priced with low-running costs, the Morris Ital - helped by a marketing strap-line of 'styled in Italy...built in Britain’ largely met initial sales expectations.

However, it’s technology was already outdated by the time it was launched and the vehicle quickly picked up a poor reputation owing to its lack of refinement and shoddy build-quality.

In all, 175,000 Morris Itals were built and sold before British Leyland eventually pulled the plug in 1984 and replaced it with the better received Austin Montego.

Because of abysmal rust-proofing issues, less than 40 Morris Itals exist on Britain’s roads today and, in a ‘Worst British Car Ever’ poll conducted by the Sun newspaper in 2008, the Ital came out second behind the Austin Allegro.