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 pan. The car was styled by Dick Burzi, strongly influenced by Pininfarina’s Austin A40 Farina, and was engineered by Jack Daniels.
Sitting on 12in wheels, the car was later built as a running prototype, using a transversely-mounted Mini-Cooper engine. According to Austin stylist Barry Kelkin, who worked on the project, ADO56 ‘went like a bomb’ and came very close to being signed-off for production.
While the longer passenger door is retained, the driver’s door is more conventionally-proportioned. It is not clear whether this is simply a ‘double-sided’ model (to enable both options to be assessed) or whether they were seriously considering this arrangement for the final car.
The 1970s AMC Pacer was one car which bravely took this unusual feature into production.
One month on, and the completed model is photographed for the archives