The Austin 1100 Countryman was the car of choice for the manic hotelier Basil Fawlty in the 1970s British sitcom Fawlty Towers. Although the car did not appear often, it became famous after the episode Gourmet Night, in which Basil gives the car 'a damn good thrashing!'

In Gourmet Night, Basil has decided to organise a gastronomic evening for Torquay's upper-class to improve the hotel's image, but the event takes a turn for the worse when he finds the chef is paralytic as the guests start to arrive. By now desperate to preserve his dignity and the hotel's reputation, Basil asks a friend to cook some duck, which would be the only main course, at his restaurant. His first attempt at collecting the duck fails, as does his second when the old Austin breaks down, apparently because he tried to fix it himself to save money on garage bills

After failing to start the car several times, Basil leaps out in rage and screams "You've tried it on once to often!... Well... this is it! I'm going to give you a damn good thrashing!"

Basil then rushes off and reappears wielding a large branch, with which he then proceeds to attack the car mercilessly.


  • Corgi made a model of the car, including a collectors' edition with all 12 episodes of the show on DVD. The first few models were erroneously labelled as an Austin 1300 estate.