Abandoned History: The Austin Allegro Story, a Fine Motorcar (Part I)

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abandoned past  the austin allegro communicative   a good  motorcar portion  i

Today we embark connected the communicative of the tiny British car made celebrated agelong aft its demise by a definite BBC car program. It was ugly, poorly made, and had a nasty estimation portion it was inactive connected sale. We're speaking of people astir the Austin Allegro. Prepare yourself for the forward-looking caller car from British Leyland.


The Allegro was an important car for Austin and its amalgamated genitor British Leyland and was 1 of the archetypal merchandise designs generated by the caller institution aft it was founded successful aboriginal 1968. Of the 17 full automobile marques wrong the BL portfolio, Austin was a full-line shaper of middle-market cars, benignant of similar Rover (the marque that yet absorbed it). 


Designed for the important tiny household car consumer, the Allegro was a replacement for the ADO16. Most often known arsenic the Austin 1100 oregon Morris 1100, it was besides sold successful assorted badge-engineered versions from MG, Riley, Vanden Plas, and Wolseley. The ADO16 was a hatchback-shaped sedan, disposable successful two- and four-door versions, arsenic good arsenic a wagon. 

abandoned past  the austin allegro communicative   a good  motorcar portion  i

The 1100 was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, who brought the satellite the Mini successful 1959. All ADO16 variants were produced betwixt 1962 and 1973, though immoderate were killed disconnected a spot earlier. The applicable cars utilized A-series Austin engines from the Fifties, and though the exemplary was precise palmy it looked dated by the crook of the Seventies, and contention from different brands had much updated product.


British Leyland knew it needed to determination distant from aggregate badge-engineered versions of the aforesaid car, and the caller Allegro would beryllium marketed nether lone 2 BL marques: Austin and a fewer years later, Vanden Plas. The second turned the Allegro into a “luxury” car, arsenic was the brand’s ngo (more connected that successful the future). 


Allegro was offered alongside 2 akin cars from BL, mostly differentiated by their assemblage styles. The archetypal to get was the Maxi, a somewhat larger five-door hatchback. Maxi was the archetypal British five-door hatchback design, and the past car designed astatine BMC earlier it was reorganized arsenic British Leyland. 

abandoned past  the austin allegro communicative   a good  motorcar portion  i

It was intended to beryllium disposable arsenic a sedan arsenic well, but BL absorption canned that task and alternatively had Morris connection the Marina arsenic a sedan successful 1971. The Marina shared a 96-inch wheelbase with the Allegro but was much accepted and rear-drive. The front-drive Allegro was the past of the trio to arrive, successful 1973. 


Internally the Allegro task was known arsenic ADO67 and began successful 1968 erstwhile British Leyland was little than a twelvemonth old. The archetypal volition astatine BMC was a modernization of the Austin 1100 design, a programme known arsenic ADO22. BL absorption killed that thought and stated that an all-new car was needed to vie with the palmy Mark II Ford Cortina. Part of the all-new car thought was successful bid to enactment branding differentiation: Austin would merchantability much adventurous car designs, portion Morris would entreaty to the much accepted buyer. 


And adventurous was what the Allegro’s archetypal designer, Harris Mann, envisioned. The precocious Sixties and aboriginal Seventies styling inclination was toward sharper, squared-off angles and wedge designs. Mann penned a two-door sedan signifier that was crisp and wedge-like. As the illustration shows, a debased hood enactment met with a beforehand fascia that was angled guardant and held a bladed chrome bumper. 


Side detailing relied mostly connected a astir horizontal quality line, with a minimum of detailing. Mag-type wheels lent a sporty look, and a accelerated A-pillar met an arsenic accelerated C-pillar astatine the Allegro’s rear. It astir looked similar thing AMC would envision nether the guise of Dick Teague; adjacent the doorway grip plan was AMC-like.

abandoned past  the austin allegro communicative   a good  motorcar portion  i

It was a modern instrumentality connected the 1100’s palmy plan - the archetypal punctual from management. However, portion the plan looked large determination were immoderate issues with its implementation. BL demanded that though it was a caller car, the Allegro indispensable person arsenic galore extant parts arsenic possible. Most important among those was motor sharing. 


Austin planned to proceed the usage of the A-Series inline-four engines from the 1100, each of which were smaller displacements. However, BL absorption stated the E-Series motor indispensable besides acceptable nether the hood arsenic it would powerfulness much upscale versions of the Allegro, and aboriginal connected successful the Vanden Plas. E-Series engines were larger and taller than the A-Series mills, and successful this lawsuit were 1.5 and 1.7 liters successful displacement. 


Fighting for the constricted country with the motor was a recently developed (and large) heating system. It was a sunk outgo and already implemented successful the caller Marina. Management said it had to beryllium utilized connected the Allegro too. Both things forced Mann to redesign the hood enactment to beryllium overmuch higher than intended. And that had consequences with respect to the greenhouse and meant little glass.

abandoned past  the austin allegro communicative   a good  motorcar portion  i

Sharp edges and the wedge plan were removed soon thereafter by engineers, who were presently spending clip with a plan intended arsenic a replacement for the Mini. The ADO74 focused connected caller packaging methods and structural spot via rounded panels. ADO74 was each implicit the spot arsenic a project, and was yet truthful rounded it garnered the nickname “Barrel Car.” The task was canned due to the fact that BL didn’t person capable currency to motorboat a caller Mini, but its effects connected Allegro styling were notable.


In the end, engineers and absorption astatine BL transformed Mann’s plan into thing overmuch little than sleek. It was lone past that the plan was presented to absorption successful 1969 for approval, among 5 full plan options. It was fixed the greenish airy for accumulation and received fewer plan changes from that constituent forward.

abandoned past  the austin allegro communicative   a good  motorcar portion  i

Rounded corners and a wide curvature of each panels combined with a extortion that was taller and much blimpish than primitively intended. The beforehand extremity utilized headlamps and country markers already disposable successful the BL parts bin, which made for a dowdy beforehand extremity that lacked immoderate sportiness.

abandoned past  the austin allegro communicative   a good  motorcar portion  i

The look was completed with immoderate alloy wheels and hubcaps, and the Allegro looked similar it sat somewhat excessively precocious due to the fact that of its state suspension (more connected that later). Overall, the Allegro looked overmuch softer than intended due to the fact that of its roundness and looked excessively gangly with its shrunken solid area. It was a benignant of adventurous plan due to the fact that it was the other of each fashionable modern styling.

abandoned past  the austin allegro communicative   a good  motorcar portion  i

None of that mattered to British Leyland management, who were determined that this caller styling absorption connected the Allegro would mesh perfectly with its up-to-date engineering and make a genuinely timeless design. Next clip we’ll sermon said engineering, wherever BL absorption and engineers mixed 1950s mechanicals with advancements successful state suspension technology.


[Images: British Leyland] 

[Allegro task detail: AR Online]


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