THE 1100 CLUB PUTS ORIGINAL BMC TOOLING BACK INTO ACTION
The 1100 Club has purchased the original BMC factory front wing tooling for the 1100 and 1300 range of cars, recommissioned it and in 2020, used it to produce a run of brand new top quality panels!
The story goes back to 2018 when 1100 Club chairman Robbie received a call from David Kingerley of Longbridge Motor Spares. David had recently taken over most of the assets of well known spare parts company Earlpart, and had realised that these assets included the original BMC tooling for 1100 front wing remanufacture.
Nobody really knew what state the tooling was in, having been stored outside for a long time - whether it was still useable and indeed whether it was still complete. David had decided that he probably wasn’t going to get as far as another production run of wings (although he has since very successfully remanufactured other 1100 parts) and very kindly offered the 1100 Club first refusal on the tooling.
It didn’t take the club committee very long to make a decision, especially when they were told that no company in the UK would be able to operate it any more - that laid down a challenge and it had to be worth investigating!
Believing it must be possible, the club team set to work in sourcing a company that would be able to renovate the tooling and put it to work, and after a few false starts they found one - a proper traditional family-run engineering firm based in what was the heartland of British manufacturing.
A transport company was sourced to move the first batch of the tooling from Longbridge Motor Spares to the press company - no mean feat, as it is seriously heavy and bulky and needed a proper lorry! The first batch was assessed by the press company as being viable, so the club team bit the bullet and moved the rest of it there too, having purchased it in full.
The press company worked hard to get the tooling cleaned, greased and set up, and with many fingers crossed the 1100 Club gave them the green light to start a production run of offside wings, as they are much rarer than their nearside equivalents.
It all worked brilliantly! But there was a curve ball, of course.
The part of the tooling that produces the side section and reinforcement panel of the wings (which are in three parts) actually produces the two parts for both offside and nearside wings at the same time, so a part-batch of nearside wings was inadvertently produced as well!
As a result, the decision was taken to crack on and make some nearside wing tops too, so that pairs of brand new wings could be offered straight away - not the original intention, but a very good outcome nevertheless!
The wings have all been painted in good quality primer - an additional expense, but one that the club team felt was very worthwhile for the longevity of the panels, because that really is the whole point.
The 1100 Club doesn't expect to sell hundreds of wings immediately - what it has done is ensure that a major part of these special cars that many owners will need at some stage or another will be available when they are needed - and that’s surely what a classic car owners’ club should be setting out to do.
The 1100 Club has sometimes been criticised for building up reserves long term and for being reluctant to ‘splash the cash’ on short term gains, but it has always argued that funds will be used to uphold the main thrust of the club constitution when the time is right, which in this case it absolutely was.
Chairman Robbie said: "We are incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve as a relatively small club - brand new panels using original BMC factory tooling and made by a proper British family-run engineering firm. It doesn’t get much better than that!"
The wings are now available to purchase either as complete panels or in sections - there are hefty discounts for club members (as it is the members have funded the production of the panels) but non-members can purchase the panels too and are always welcome to join the 1100 Club to gain access to the preferential prices.
- £295 per wing or £450 for a pair, plus postage as required.
- The parts of the wings can also be purchased separately at £150 each for top and bottom sections and £100 for the reinforcement panel.
Members can login to the members' area of the website to discover the substantial discounts available to them.
Enquiries are welcome via email on firstname.lastname@example.org