Herbert Austin’s company was a dominant player in the UK car industry, cemented by brilliant products such as the Seven, the Mini and the Metro. Was a major component of the British Motor Corporation and British Leyland, but was muscled out in the Rover-era by its chairman Graham Day.
Andrew Davis, a former worker at Cowley, sent us this fascinating image of one of those workaday hacks that never escape the factory. This one, a pick-up conversion of the Maestro, lived a long and absolutely fascinating life.
Rolls-Royce and Bentley worked with BMC on a number of short-lived prototypes based on the Austin 3 Litre and Vanden Plas 4 Litre R. Here are the best ones that never saw the light of day.
Designed and specially built to become the Corporation’s new mid-sized engine, the E-Series had a troubled early life, but eventually matured into something very worthwhile indeed.
‘All the fives’ was the Maxi’s high technology tag line when launched – with a five-door hatchback body and five-speed gearbox, Austin’s new mid-range fighter really did seem to have it all. Sadly, the technology might have been there, but the execution was a little less than marvellous, and this avant-garde car failed to sell […]
There are lies and there are damned lies… Okay, so the products of BMC>Rover have not always been built or designed as well as they could have been, but let’s not forget that, despite upper management ineptitude and Government meddling, the workers who actually built the cars still actively cared about the product. Here then […]
Updated: There was an operation to build Maestros in Bulgaria, and we have the full and exclusive story of how it came together. Thanks to ex-Rover Group and BAe executives, we have been able to piece together the story of the Roadacar assembly operation in Bulgaria and conclude why it failed in the way it did.
Anyone who knows Keith Adams might be a little surprised at this choice of Unsung Hero, especially considering the chequered history he has with A-Series Maestros. However, despite the dramas, there’s no doubting that Spen King’s post-Allegro Volkswagen Golf remix was far more worthy than the sum of its parts. The unfulfilled symphony If we […]
I had a brief run in an Austin Allegro today. The car in question is owned by Calum Brown, and it has to be said that he was very keen to get my views on his pride and joy. He’s a nice chap – 24-years old, a car nutter, and owner of a very interesting and diverse range of cars. He’ll go far in our industry. Anyway, I digress – he handed me the keys to his 1979 Allegro 3 1.3L, and told me to enjoy myself.
This William Towns-styled Metro-based, mid-engined roadster brought the concept behind the MGF to fruition some 10 years earlier… Looks pretty racy, too. Tracer fire… If you think the Tracer has a familiar look to it, there could be several reasons for that. First of all, William Towns clearly drew inspriation from his rather more exotic 1980 […]
What’s left to be said about the Allegro – it never met sales predictions, earned a terrible reputation in the press and with buyers, and its fame far exceeded its influence in the automotive industry. British Leyland threw everything into making it a success, and yet failed dismally… Goodbye market share WHAT is so very […]
Words and photography: Alexander Boucke At times it happens to all of us: something bulky needs to be carried, typically after a visit to your local Swedish furniture store. In our case, a friend of the family had a surplus musical instrument – a small organ, a harmonium to be precise – which he wanted to get […]
With the number of BMC>MGR cars on our roads diminishing rapidly, we take stock of the successive companies’ 10 most popular cars during the post-war years. Some of these numbers are going to shock you, simply because the cars are so rare on the road now. In fact, even the latest car on this list is now proving to be a rather unusual spot.
ADO74 – the first attempt by British Leyland at replacing the Mini never saw the light of day. It was one project, but had many faces: a wide variety of styling exercises were produced before the programme was cancelled in 1973, as British Leyland could not raise the £130m needed to produce it.
Craig Cheetham A 1974 Austin Allegro Super with just 4111 miles on the clock has appeared for sale at an MG dealership in Northern Ireland. Offered for sale by SS Logan and Son Limted of Newtonabbey, Co. Antrim, the 1974 Series 1 Super is finished in period Blaze Orange, with black vinyl interior and the Allegro’s celebrated […]
Craig Cheetham I’ve had a fair few Allegros over the years… Back when I passed my test, in 1994, my first car was a 1979 Allegro 1.1 and that was the very reason for me recently spending the day as the chief custodian of such a vehicle… In my day job, I work for a […]
The main problem with Hydragas is that, over time, the sealed units would lose gas and become less effective. Alexander Boucke describes the steps involved in getting your Hydragas suspended car back into rude health Update: More than 11 years after the initial work, the first units that were fitted to a Maxi in autumn […]
Craig Cheetham ANSWER: When it’s a Yema F16 SUV… Believe it or not, beneath the SUV-style exterior of this somewhat utilitarian-looking vehicle lurks the heart and soul of the Austin Maestro… The rights to the Maestro/Montego platform were passed to Yema in 2008 by FAW, which had been building a Montego-nosed Maestro van and various spin-off […]
A couple of years after production had ceased in the UK, the Montego was re-introduced in the Indian subcontinent in order to compete in the executive car market. WHEN BMW bought the Rover Group in 1994, it has been said many times that Bernd Pischetsrieder was surprised to find the antiquated Montego and its hatchback […]