MotorPunk is pleased to announce a rather important event. “Harris Mann(k) to Casablanca” is a one-way roadtrip to the dark continent solely for cars designed by the notorious British Leyland designer, Harris Mann. A peruse of his Wikipedia page will tell you that Mr Mann drew some of BL’s least loved creations including the Allegro, Maestro, TR7, Princess and Metro, amongst others. Now, laying the blame for these automotive horrors squarely at the feet of Harris Mann is perhaps a little unkind, as Mann himself explains; “When I look back on my career, it’s been fun. It’s such a pity it ran through such a period of discontent at BL.” These models are best known for their unreliability rather than their design flaws and perhaps time has looked unfavourably on them. Examples of these cars can now be bought, taxed and tested, for less than a set of Chinese tyres. For this trip we have bought a Metro for £300. We may have paid too much.


The experiment; Manufacturers use rallying to test the robustness of their design and Formula 1 is considered the pinnacle of motorsport’s technical development, so in the spirit of that MotorPunk cordially invites you to join them on this unique roadtrip.

We will drive from Cowley (UK) to Casablanca (Morocco) to put examples of Harris Mann’s mankiest motors to the test. A rally to Morocco will prove the reliability of these models and a hot lap of the 1958 Casablanca Grand Prix circuit will test their ultimate performance. There will be fun and games along the way as you might expect. Anyone who might become emotionally attached to their Longbridge lovely is free to drive it back to blighty but we’ll be scrapping ours in Gibraltar and Easyjetting home, assuming the cars get that far.

There will be a small fee to join the fun (to fund a near-worthless prize and round of drinks for anyone who makes the finish). If participants get lost, killed or otherwise inconvenienced they should call the British Embassy or their Mum because we’ll have enough on our hands with our recently acquired Metro to be able to provide you with any assistance. There will photos and videos taken and the results of this unique roadtrip/experiment published on MotorPunk and elsewhere to share with the world. Interested?

The provisional plan is as below;

day date details route note
Tuesday 11th November Meet at Cowley at 0800, drive to Portsmouth, 90 mins, 90 miles. Don’t break down. Cowley to Portsmouth
Tuesday 11th November depart Brittany Ferries at 1100 Portsmouth to Santander Price c.£274 for a car with 2 people and a cabin
Wednesday 12th November arrive Santander, Spain at 1200. Portsmouth to Santander What’s head gasket in foreign?
Wednesday 12th November 500 miles (5 and a half hours of motorpway) to Merida. Don’t break down. Santander to Merida, Spain motorway hotel
Thursday 13th November 240 miles (3 and half hours of motorway) Don’t break down. Merida to Algeciras, Spain BL Vmax contest? Metro does 80 on paper.
Thursday 13th November depart ferry from Algeciras, Spain at 1500 with FAS, arrive Tangier Med 1530. Algeciras to Tangier Med Return price €265 for car with 2 people, regular ferry.
Thursday 13th November Drive from Tangier Med to Tangier town. Don’t break down. Tangier Med to town centre Ibis
Friday 14th November Drive from Tangier to Casablanca, 3.5 hours, 200 miles. Don’t break down. Tangier to Casablanca All day for not many miles on the coast road.
Friday 14th November A lap of the Ain al Diab Grand Prix street circuit in Casablanca then overnight in town. Casablanca Ibis opposite the (funky cold) Medina. Check 1957 Morocco GP on Wiki!
Saturday 15th November Drive from Casablanca to Tangier Med port, 235 miles, 3.5 hours. Don’t break down. Casablanca to Tangier Med port. Allow time for customs/hassle, regular ferry though.
Saturday 15th November Take the 1700 ferry from Tangier Med port to Algeciras, arriving 1930 Tangier med, Morocco, back to Algeciras, Spain. return ticket booked with outbound, as above.
Saturday 15th November Drive from Algeciras to Gibraltar airport, overnight in Gib. Don’t break down. Algeciras to Gib two border crossings, lots of time.
Sunday 16th November Dump car at Gib scrappy/burn it/return it to nature, walk to airport for evening flight home Gib, fly home (easyjet to London, Monarch to Brum and Manchester)
flights are c.£50-£80 one way


Smallprint: Hotels, Ferries and bribes are paid directly, we’ll tell you what we’re booking and you may do the same. Ferries (3 of ’em) should cost around £500 in total, Hotels will be cheap, there’s about 1300 miles of driving, the flight home is currently c.£50. More info on Morocco here. Cars must not be left in Morocco, hence the scrappy in Gib. Pack tow-rope. Car must be an example of something designed by Harris Mann or at least something bodged together by BL. Ask us if you’re usure if your car qualifies.

Please do not book anything just yet, email your expression of interest to with ‘Was Red Robbo right?” in the subject line and we’ll fill you in.

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.