CC Cinema: Mid 50s BMC Cars Exceed Expectations By Surviving 25,000 Miles at 60+MPH on the Autobahn

If you ever wondered why British cars were the best selling imports in the US in the early 50s and then quickly fell from grace, this film will explain it. Let’s just say that Americans expected the engines in their cars not to self destruct in 20,ooo miles of highway driving. And here’s proof that at least some of the time, they actually didn’t.

A handful of BMC cars were sent to Germany for daily drives on the autobahn at speeds averaging just over 60mph to test the latest versions of their 900 and 1050cc engines. It was expected that there would a major mechanical failure (big end bearing or such) before the end of the test at 20,000 miles, but the improved engines not only survived, but went on to run an additional 5,000 miles, for a total of 25,000 miles at normal highway speeds, without one of them blowing up! Cheers!

Needless to say, the ones in the hand sof Americans probably weren’t as thoroughly serviced as these, and commonly didn’t make it to that distance. It explains why VW suddenly overtook Austin and became the best selling import. A VW would typically run 100k miles, including endless full-throttle highway speeds, as I can personally attest to in several cases.