Concepts and prototypes : LM11 saloon and LM11E estate

Part of a three-pronged attack on the medium car sector, the LM11 was to be BL’s new mid-sized saloon, based heavily on the upcomng LM10 (nee LC10).

LM11 was originally planned to sit closer to the LM10, performing a similar role to the hatchback that the VW Jetta does to the Golf, or the Orion to the Escort. As can be seen from the images below, the LM11 grew to become a true Cavalier/Sierra rival – and did so in a rather clever way..


LM11 styling models

As can be seen from this model, the LM11 saloon started off as a notchback LM10 – and although it’s not an unpleasant design, it would have had a more limited market appeal than the car than finally hit the shelves in 1984…

Montego prototype

A booted Maestro, pure and simple, and although this full-size clay model looks clean and appealing, there were doubts about the appeal of the car. Designers at Longbridge and Solihull were tasked with giving the car more presence on the road, thereby making it a true force in the medium sector of the market…

Montego prototype

The rethink resulted in a Roger Tucker design for the front and rear, which gave the car an entirely larger look. Note the rather clumsy rear side window treatment, Ambassador-style note treatment, and unaltered LM10 centre section… (With thanks to the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon).

Montego prototype

…but not before this fully-engineered model was produced. Note the Maestro dashboard, 13-inch wheels and smart rear lamp clusters. The rear end treatment is far cleaner and possibly more appealing than the rather fussy arrangement which was devised for the final model…

A further development of the LM11 - with clean looking side-window treatment.

A further development of the LM11 – with clean looking side-window treatment.

Alternative frontal treatment was devised for the LM11, too - a much cleaner solution than the Maestro. The following three pictures were taken at the Longbridge Round House Studio in November 1981. The pre-Chris Greville Smith Montego LM11 front end design looks clean. (Picture Stephen Harper)

Alternative frontal treatment was devised for the LM11, too – a much cleaner solution than the Maestro. The following three pictures were taken at the Longbridge Round House Studio in November 1981. The pre-Chris Greville Smith Montego LM11 front end design looks clean. (Picture Stephen Harper)

A flush grille for this proposal. (Picture Stephen Harper)

A flush grille for this proposal. (Picture Stephen Harper)

Is there a touch of Ford of Europe with this one? Stephen Harper is photographed with the full-sized clay model. (Picture Stephen Harper)

Is there a touch of Ford of Europe with this one? Stephen Harper is photographed with the full-sized clay model. (Picture Stephen Harper)

Montego prototype

The Roger Tucker/Ian Beech effort was given the nod, and developed into a full-size prototype – and then okayed for production in 1981… Roy Axe changed very little of this design, but the tweaks he made were certainly effective in tidying up this effort.


LM11E, the estate version

Two tailgate proposals in one - these three photos were taken at the Longbridge Exterior Studio, November 1981. The two alternative studies for the Montego LM11 Estate by John L Asford (upright Volvo style) and Steve Harper (Mercedes-Benz fastback style, closest to camera). (Picture Stephen Harper)

Two tailgate proposals in one – these three photos were taken at the Longbridge Exterior Studio, November 1981. The two alternative studies for the Montego LM11 Estate by John L Asford (upright Volvo style) and Steve Harper (Mercedes-Benz fastback style, closest to camera). (Picture Stephen Harper)

Double-sided clay model more fully dressed up. Note the body-coloured C-pillar on this model. (Picture Stephen Harper)

Double-sided clay model more fully dressed up. Note the body-coloured C-pillar on this model. (Picture Stephen Harper)

Further work on the double-sided model at the Kremlin, and it looks quite close to the final production car, save a few details. Steve 'Topper' Clarke taking sections of the clay model for draughting.(Picture Stephen Harper)

Further work on the double-sided model at the Kremlin, and it looks quite close to the final production car, save a few details. Steve ‘Topper’ Clarke taking sections of the clay model for draughting.(Picture Stephen Harper)

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

2 Comments on "Concepts and prototypes : LM11 saloon and LM11E estate"

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  1. Dave Dawson says:

    The Roger Tucker/Ian Beech “effort” pictured above is reported to have very less than impressed Roy Axe.

    However, I have often thought this – Whilst Axe’s new indicators and mouldings at the base of the side windows improved things his version of the rear window did not. Imagine this Tucker/Beech car in final trim. Side on, anyway, the rear window treatment looks much more harmonious than the final Axe production car.

  2. drae says:

    Have to agree with that and I like the flush grill

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