Concepts and prototypes

History : BMC, BL, Rover and other Development Codes

History : BMC, BL, Rover and other Development Codes

Ever wondered what all those ADO, YDO and LC numbers mean when we’re discussing the history of BMC, BL and Rover cars? Worry not, because our exhaustive list of codenames should help you work out what’s what.

By 19 February 2017 20 Comments Read More →
Concepts and prototypes : MGF Super Sports (EX254)

Concepts and prototypes : MGF Super Sports (EX254)

For the Geneva motor show in 1998, Rover unveiled this interesting proposal based on the MGF. The Super Sports lost its windscreen and gained a whole lot more besides. Starting with its 197bhp Janspeed supercharged K-series engine.

By 24 January 2017 2 Comments Read More →
In-house designs : The BL Safety Research Vehicles

In-house designs : The BL Safety Research Vehicles

Safety first: A close look at the Safety Research Vehicles (SRVs) produced by British Leyland in the 1970s reveals some very prescient ideas.  There were, of course, a few blind alleys, too. Following Ralph Nader’s 1965 report Unsafe At Any Speed, which highlighted the poor handling and/or crash-resistance of numerous cars sold in the US, the […]

Concepts and prototypes : Rover 425 V6 LE

Concepts and prototypes : Rover 425 V6 LE

Arguably, the Rover 400 was viewed with disappointment by both buyers and certain elements within Rover itself. That said, the Richard Woolley-penned saloon version was a huge improvement over the five-door hatchback, and Rover admitted as much when, at the launch of the five-door hatchback, they told us that the ‘Real 400’ would be with us within […]

By 22 January 2017 9 Comments Read More →
In-house designs : Rover R6X

In-house designs : Rover R6X

After Rover pulled the plug on the promising AR6 programme, Design Director Roy Axe decided that a light rebody of the upcoming K-series Metro was required to keep it selling. Few would have predicted it ended up looking as good as it did. Shame they never built it.

Concepts : SD2 redux an Anglo-Italian French lesson

Concepts : SD2 redux an Anglo-Italian French lesson

The Anadol-Reliant FW11 prototype and its similarity with the Triumph SD2 serves to remind us that nothing’s completely new in the car world. Words: Keith Adams Photography: Sporting Reliants/Anadol Fan Club Denied Turkish Delight 1974: Triumph SD2 prototype 1977: Reliant/Anadol FW11 prototype 1979: Bertone Tundra Concept car 1982: Citroën BX It started with a simple statement […]

By 31 December 2016 32 Comments Read More →
In-house designs : Austin AR6

In-house designs : Austin AR6

We’ve talked about the Austin AR6 a lot in relation with the company’s development in the mid-1980s, and its march towards privatisation. Here is the car’s full story – from the glint in its designer’s eye to the moment it was cancelled. Would this Ford Fiesta rival have been a success, or was Rover right to stick with the Metro?

By 31 December 2016 17 Comments Read More →
In-house designs : Austin AR16

In-house designs : Austin AR16

The all-British AR16 design continued to flourish throughout 1984 and ’85, and soon, full-size clay models of the entire range were produced at Canley. As all cars were based on the Montego, they featured the same, sound, suspension layout. But a lengthened wheelbase allowed the team to build a more balanced looking car – with heavy Rover 800 overtones.

By 31 December 2016 25 Comments Read More →
Concepts and prototypes : Jaguar XJ21

Concepts and prototypes : Jaguar XJ21

Thoughts on replacing the E-type weren’t limited to the V12-powered XJ-S grand tourer. Jaguar was also cooking up this potentially pretty sports car to supplement the new and exciting XJ6 saloon. However, as Ian Nicholls explains, things weren’t always that simple… The missing link The final XJ21 proposal – this would have sold alongside the […]

By 29 December 2016 7 Comments Read More →
In-house designs : Triumph SD2

In-house designs : Triumph SD2

The Specialist Division’s follow-up to the SD1 should have replaced the Dolomite. Shame this promising Triumph never happened…

By 26 December 2016 43 Comments Read More →
Concepts and prototypes : MG ZT XPower 385

Concepts and prototypes : MG ZT XPower 385

The most powerful version of the rear-wheel-drive MG ZT spent a long time in development – and, in the end, it didn’t make it into production, as time ran out for it. Wearing the coveted chassis number one, the ZT XPower 385 is another of those fascinating might-have-beens that never saw the light of day. […]

By 14 December 2016 28 Comments Read More →
Prototypes : Rolls-Royce/Bentley collaboration with BMC

Prototypes : Rolls-Royce/Bentley collaboration with BMC

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.

By 4 December 2016 12 Comments Read More →
Concepts : Rover P7

Concepts : Rover P7

Ever wondered why we have a Rover P6 and P8 – but no P7? Wonder no more as we tell the fascinating story of the five-cylinder that could have beaten Audi by years…

By 29 November 2016 12 Comments Read More →
Concepts : 1980 Aston Martin Bulldog

Concepts : 1980 Aston Martin Bulldog

In 1979, Aston Martin shocked the world by unveiling its William Towns-styled supercar-slaying Bulldog. Was it good enough to beat the likes of the Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari BB? Sadly, we’ll never know…

By 11 November 2016 26 Comments Read More →
Concepts : Panther 6

Concepts : Panther 6

The star of the 1977 Motorfair at Earls Court in London was the sensational six-wheeled Panther supercar. For a while it looked like it was going into production, too, but its creator Robert Jankel was scuppered by delays in development. We tell the story of Britain’s might-have-been supercar. Six-wheeled wonder Visitors to the 1977 London […]

By 10 November 2016 22 Comments Read More →
Concepts and prototypes : Jaguar XJ41/42

Concepts and prototypes : Jaguar XJ41/42

Following the inability of the XJ-S to convincingly replace the Jaguar E-type, there was an internal pressure from the the design and engineering teams to produce a genuine and traditionally styled replacement for the car. It was to be a Jaguar, which would wear the F-type moniker with conviction. Updated with new images.

Gallery : Austin AR6

Gallery : Austin AR6

An amazing number of design themes were created during the AR6 programme – here are some of the less well-known prototypes. Words: Keith Adams Pictures: Roy Axe 1982 teaser prototype 1983 styling proposals Original design developed for production 1985 and the design direction changes

Sports car projects : ADO56

Sports car projects : ADO56

Ahead of its time This wooden model, photographed in March 1959, clearly shows the interesting passenger door cut-out, which extends into the rear wheelarch area, presumably with the aim of facilitating access to the rear seats Known within BMC as the ‘MG Sport’, ADO56 was devised by Alec Issigonis, based on an extended Mini floor […]

Sports car projects : MG EX234

Sports car projects : MG EX234

The MG EX234 project was developed in 1964 as a proposed replacement for the MGB. Under the skin lurked some very interesting engineering solutions… The EX234 project was instigated in early 1964 when the Abingdon engineering team’s thoughts turned to the issue of revising the MGB in order to give it a degree of chassis […]

Sports car projects : ADO68 Project Condor

Sports car projects : ADO68 Project Condor

Back in the late 1960s, when the influence of ex-Ford man, Roy Haynes, started to take hold, some very interesting design projects started to emerge from the Pressed Steel Fisher design studios in Cowley. The ADO68 was one such platform-sharing product.  Devised at the Pressed Steel Fisher styling studios in Cowley by Roy Haynes, this […]