Concepts and prototypes
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.
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…
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…
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 […]
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.
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
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
The full story of Rover’s stillborn range topper, killed days before it was given the go-ahead for production. A victim of politics, poor crash testing, and internal rivalries.
The origins of ADO17 can be traced back to XC9000, the first in a series of designs produced by Alec Issigonis in 1956, following his return to BMC from Alvis. The rear-wheel-drive XC9000 prototype was developed into the front-wheel-drive XC9001, before the project was shelved in response to the Suez Crisis. The XC9001 design was […]
Below are some pictures showing the development of ADO71 – or Diablo, as it was known in the early stages. Wedge development Slippery wedge… Three-box alternative Frontal treatments Interior designs
The Sherpa/LDV 200/400/Pilot/Convoy was a perfect example of British industry make-do-and-mend. In an ideal world, the boxy JU/J4-based van would have been replaced sometime in the early 1980s, but it ended up going on a whole lot longer… Here’s the fascinating story of one aborted attempt at replacement, and how it went on to become […]
Rover Special Products wanted to recreate the magic of the early-1980s by producing a spiritual successor to the MG Metro Turbo. The Metro SP was that car and it reached the stage of a full-sized styling prototype. Keith Adams Special K While Rover Special Products had handed out the Montego Lifestyle and Maestro-based Tarka to […]
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.
A brief look at how the ground-breaking Mini made it from sketch pad to showroom in little more than two years, a remarkable achievement for a car that completely threw away the rule book. Keith Adams walks through the Mini’s development to production reality in August 1959. From cigarette packet to showroom in 30 months […]
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 one-off concept built at the start of the 1990s and based around a brand new Rover Metro is due to go under the hammer on Wednesday, 10 June. No reserve has been set so this fascinating proposal for a forward-looking crossover might just be a bargain. The Rover Metro Scout was designed and […]
Not a lot of pictures of the R40’s development programme have surfaced; mainly because Richard Woolley’s 1993 design was considered so successful, it didn’t change between the time the clay model was finalised and the launch of the car five years later. However, the interior was subject to a lot of soul searching, and two […]
Craig Cheetham If MG Rover was to survive in any way beyond early 2005, it needed a car that could not only compete in the bustling compact medium sector against such talented adversaries as the VW Golf and Ford Focus, but also compete profitably. That meant three key things – 1) it needed to be […]