It’s A Land Crab Plus 1! 1971 Austin 1800 Mk. 2

v1

First there was the Mini (original version). Then came the Austin/Morris 1100/1300. The next size up was the Austin Maxi, and the largest front wheel drive version of the same idea was the Austin 1800 “Landcrab”, which actually came third in the series. This one is up for sale here on eBay, along with a parts car, for the unbelievably low price of $1,250 (buy it now)! I hope it’s still there when this post goes live! It’s located with our northern friends in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, and I wish I were in a position to go there and bring it home!

v2

This is actually a fairly large car, especially for a British car. Amazingly, the sellers tell us that it’s rust free. Let me repeat that–a 1970’s British sedan is rust free. Okay, now pick your jaw up off the floor and someone buy this car so I stop being tempted! Remember to figure out how to get that parts car home, too, because there sure aren’t many of these on this side of the pond! The low appearance of this car means the suspension will need recharging. Here is a company that makes a pump system for doing this yourself (according to the owners club).

v3

It looks like there are some paint issues on the passenger side front fender, but at this price, I’d expect a lot more problems! I could live with the paint for a good while, couldn’t you? Even the chrome looks pretty nice! By the way, there are a lot of Landcrab enthusiasts out there, as evidenced by this site and this other one; I even found out how the car got its unusual name: according to this forum, the Austin 1800’s nickname came about as a result of a casual comment by an Australian journalist, who when taking rally pictures from a helicopter through a telephoto lens remarked that the cars looked like “Land Crabs” as they cornered sideways.

v5

The car has been converted from an automatic to a four speed; you can see the third pedal here. Unfortunately, we don’t get a view of either the front seats or the 1798 cc engine that is similar to an MGB’s. That being said, this is a lot of car for that kind of money, and if I had to find an MGB engine or mechanicals to install, that’s not a problem. Like I said above, one of you please buy this car so I’m not tempted any more!

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Comments

  1. Luke Fitzgerald

    If anyone ever sits in the rear of one of these things, you’ll see what Jamie means by “fairly large car” – everywhere here once – just like everything else

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    • Tirefriar

      That has to be the most aggressive stadium seating in a car. Looks like a cool ride. I’d consider it if it was much closer…

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  2. ron

    this would look so well right next to my classic mini.

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  3. doug

    This is so cool. I’ve had Minis, Austin 1100, and even a Maxi, which I think was 1750 cc and 5 speed. Very fun until the front subframe rusted away. I wasn’t familiar with these. The conversion to stick is a big plus, as well as MGB engine.

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  4. ClassicCarFan

    We had one of these (an earlier version Mk I) as a family car when I was a kid growing up in the UK in the late 1970s. As others said, these cars have an astonishing amount of room inside. The whole Issigonis “wheel at each” FWD corner concept means that the ratio of usable interior space to exterior dimensions is incredible. I remember my Dad driving it with 7 or 8 kids aboard on the way to after-school activities. No seatbelt laws back then of course.

    There was a local family who had a lot of kids, like 5 I think, had one of these BMC 1800s with a makeshift rectangular hole cut in the parcel shelf and a chair placed in there cross-wise so one of the smaller kids could ride in there !

    I recall reading that when these cars were launched they had one of the strongest unibody structures ever built in terms of torsional stiffness. They were very robust cars and with the hydrolastic suspension, spacious interior and big comfy seats ours was a very comfortable car to ride in.

    We had that car for several years and really enjoyed it. I think in the end the body rusted out underneath faster than my Dad could patch it up.

    This model was never a huge success. It wasn’t a flop, but never hit the sales targets that BMC had hoped for. The styling was not real sharp. At the time when this car was developed I think Alec Issigonis had huge sway over the design of these FWD cars and his philosophy was that cars should be utilitarian and functional and did not need excessive “styling” or gadgets and gimmicks. If you look at the dashboard and interior of these cars it is really Spartan. The basic strip speedometer is typical of that design simplicity. The steering wheel, like other BMC FWD cars was very upright, a bit like driving a bus !

    I think this plain, homely image really hurt the 1800 greatly compared to cars from other manufacturers like Ford which might have been less advanced engineering-wise but had much more thought and effort put into styling, marketing and advertising.

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  5. SunbeamerStu

    Kelowna, BC — the Bermuda Triangle of obscure vehicles.

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  6. Fast Eddie/Old Eddie: take your pick!

    Had one of these, after 997 & 998, 1078 & 1275 Coopers & Ss, back in the day: comfortable, luxurious ride, quiet, fairly nice (for the day) styling, room galore, only cars my wife liked equally, or better, were Buick Roadmaster and Cadi Deville. I got it with rod out the baackside of the transmission, IIRC, I replaced the rod with 1800 MGB, ground the hole inside & out all around, then drilled holes all around the (almost) fist-sized hole, weaved a soft wire cage, generous dabs of epoxy inside & out, wait a day, & no leaks. A huge land boat with not-too-bad mileage. Someone with money tried to convince me I wanted to sell it, and they were right, in the end.

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  7. kevin

    For the Australian market they produced a ute (pickup) version of these cars which was quite a cool looking vehicle.

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  8. Jose Gros

    The French magazine: ‘L’AutoJournal’, once wrote: ‘The United Kingdom is the land of horror creatures: Jack the stripper, the Loch Ness monster, the Austin Maxi….

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