Austin Allegro (ADO67)
The Austin Allegro represents the point at which – to the outsider – British Leyland lost the will to live. It was so much less appealing than the car it replaced – the 1100/1300 – it was laughable, but despite this, there were many positive points that were overlooked due to the car becoming a political hot potato during the 1970s.
And that reputation for failure stuck with the Allegro for many, many years after it ceased production in 1982. And for many older car fans, it still holds true to this day. It’s marked out by its strange looks, lack of build quality, reliability issues and that infamous quartic steering wheel. But the good points such as a wide choice of engines from 1.0-litre through to 1750cc, compliant Hydragas suspension, five gears and a distinctive character are well worth noting.
Some cult appeal nowadays as the ideal starter classic for the impecunious. The 1979 Equipe special edition is worth double the money of its standard counterpart, and all are slowly rising in value as numbers thin.
Reviews, blogs and news stories
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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 Allegro Equipes are like buses, then – and I’m not referring to the gearbox whine (even if my old Allegro 1750 did used to sound a lot like the Leyland National that took me to school every morning as a nipper). Three at once, though? According to Allegro Club Chairman Paul Vincent (left […]
Some photos taken during the Allegro’s development… Alternative frontal treatment for the Allegro GT model. Did the 1750 version (with a single carb) deserve the “GT” badge? Austin obviously thought not The grille on this 1970 mock-up was solid because the intention was for the Allegro to have its radiator side mounted, like the Mini […]
On the eve of its 40th birthday, Ian Nicholls digs into the archives to discuss the Austin Allegro from the perspectives of British Leyland’s movers and shakers at the time Britain in May 1973 was a different country to what it is now. This was a world where the most desirable consumer item was a […]
Keith Adams, photography, Stephen Harper In the lead-up to the launch of the series 3 Austin Allegro, newly-recruited Austin Apprentice Stephen Harper joined the team of young stylists tasked with raising the appeal of the Longbridge-built mid-liner. Harper had already come up with the LE limited edition, and the Equipe was a development of this […]
Hydragas suspension was one of the quiet achievements pioneered and refined by British Leyland – and yet, it never received the praise it deserved. KEITH ADAMS briefly explains how the system works. Pioneer that led nowhere… SINCE the introduction of the Mini in 1959, BL’s predecessor, the British Motor Corporation (BMC), had been right at […]
We’re moving towards the 1980s, and the hottest new ticket in town is GM’s exciting new front-wheel drive Opel Kadett/Vauxhall Astra. To see how good it was, What Car? magazine pitched a saloon version against the Austin Allegro and Colt Lancer. The result was pretty clear then – but would it be the case now? […]
The A-series engine did service in a variety of cars for almost 50 years, during which time it was available in a bewildering variety of capacities and states of tune. A hard act to follow The A-Series engine was certainly a case of the ‘British Curate’s egg’ – good in places. In fact, that is […]
For June 2003, we are doing something different for the Car of the Month feature…. In May 1973, the replacement for the seminal Austin 1100/1300 – for many years, the UK’s best selling car – was launched to the world’s press. For a long time, the car was known to many in automotive circles as […]
Soon after the Allegro was launched, Twickenham-based dealers Spikins saw the potential for a convertible version, and began to produce this Crayford-designed conversion. Tested by Mike McCarthy in MOTOR magazine shortly after its launch, he summed up that it was the logical, but expensive successor to the Minor Convertible. Alfresco Allegro SUMMER. Summer is lazing […]
THE Italian Allegro, that it seemed, no one wanted… Short and not-so sweet THERE’S not much to say really about the Innocenti Regent. This version of the Allegro was produced in Italy under licence during 1974 and 1975, and lasted a scant 18 months in production. The Italians allegedly begged British Leyland to let it […]
Vanden Plas prototypes The coachbuilding firm of Vanden Plas had been purchsed by Austin in 1946, and thus became part of the BMC empire that was created by the merger of Austin and Morris in 1952. Until the end of the 1950s, the factory at Kingsbury in north-west London was chiefly used for the production […]