Austin's 3-litre saloon was developed under the AD061 project label during the late Fifties.

Most of the design and engineering was carried out by a BMC in-house design team headed up by Charles Griffin.

Griffin and his crew were called in to complete the project in its very early stages to replace the legendary Alex Issigonis, who was heavily involved in the development of the Mini at that time.

Charles Griffin was handed the brief by BMC to develop a replacement for the A99/A110 models, which by that time were looking just a little dated.

Griffin developed a plan to base the 3-litre design around a conventional front engine and rear-wheel drive combination, with the body design drawing heavily from the front-drive 1800's cabin, doors, and general proportions.

The 3-litre was fitted with the same engine as its predecessor, the A110, but only after it had been completely re-designed.

BMC, ever eager to standardise their production, also fitted the same engine into the MGC, but that was the only model in the entire group range who the car manufacturing giant find a match for. 

The 3-litre’s engine was also matched to the same transmission fitted in the  A110,

With the minimal ceremony, in the light of many more attractive vehicles on display, the Austin 3-Litre made its almost apologetic public debut at the London Motor Show of 1967.

From its launch, it soon became apparent to all concerned from the motoring media to BMC top management that the 3-litre was going to be a non-starter.

Orders placed for the vehicle were few and far between, causing a significant backlog in honouring any consignment, with the company's plants finding it difficult to channel the few thousands that were ordered by the public, due to the hectic production schedule that BMC were under during the late Sixties,

According to reports at that time, the few orders placed during 1967 took close to a year to supply, meaning a very high percentage of cancellations.

By 1971, the realisation had fully crept in that the 3-litre was a concept that had gone well past its time, too big, too bulky, in no way attractive in the face of intense competition in the category.

 During the four years that it was in production, Austin failed to clock up ten thousand sales before calling it quits on Charlie Griffin's folly. 

The 3 Litre,when compared to many other models launched by Austion during he Sixties, failed to acheive any form of market penetration and was discontinued. Even in the "next life" the Austin 3-liter failed tocapture the imagination of even the most avid collectors or those on the look out for chaep and scarce restorable vehilces to restore.

Thaese combined reasons why there are probably no more than a few hundred 3-lites to be found today. 

Back to the homepage- and don't spare the horsepower.