Supermini concepts

Concepts : 1991 Rover Metro SP

rover_specials 9103 metro sp models2

Rover Special Products wanted to recreate the magic of the early-’80s by producing a spiritual successor to the MG Metro Turbo. The Metro SP was that car, and it made it to full-sized styling prototype. Keith Adams Special K While Rover Special Products had handed out the Montego Lifestyle and Maestro-based Tarka to Steve Harper […]

Concepts : Omni Supermini

The small hatchback Rover commissioned OMNI design to produce a proposal for the company’s upcoming supermini – these were the results. These sketches show two interesting interpretations on the Rover theme – traditional (think, smaller 75) and contemporary. It would appear the contemporary design made the transition from paper to clay – and thanks to […]

Concepts : Rover R6X

Metro’s missed opportunity Cost constraints killed the interesting AR6 Metro-replacement project, just as it was on the cusp of production. The lower cost alternative was to build a car based on the then current Metro, yet housing the PSA gearbox and K-Series engine. The underlying excellence of the K-Series engine, in particular, meant that there […]

Prototypes : LC8 Metro


Metro style emerges LC8 was not an entirely new supermini by any stretch of the imagination, using ADO88 as a starting point. The project was basically a restyle job – with Harold Musgrove cracking the whip over the Austin-Morris development team, ensuring that it was in production by the proposed launch date: the Birmingham Motor […]

Supermini projects : ADO88/LC8 drawings


Metro uncovered A fascinating find uncovered recently on the AR forums – engineering drawings of the ADO88 and LC8 projects… The differences between the original car and the pre-launch facelift are clear to see – and the fact that these drawings of the ADO88 were produced at all clearly shows just how close to production […]

Supermini projects : ADO88


The Metro route Shortly after the demise of ADO74, the “Mini replacement idea” was yet again brought down from the shelf for further investigation. Unlike ADO74, which was new from the wheels up, ADO88 would use the Mini’s A-series engine plus transmission-in-sump layout. The reason for this was cost – ADO74 would have cost an […]

Supermini projects : ADO74


The original Metro One project, many faces: a wide variety of styling exercises were produced before ADO74 was cancelled in 1973, as British Leyland could not raise the £130m needed to produce it. The project suffered from having indecisive leadership – it was led by Harry Webster, but because he had worked previously at Triumph, […]

Supermini projects : A new Mini (1968-’74)

From barrel to wedge Long before the term supermini had been coined, BLMC had begun to think about producing a new Mini with superior space, comfort and practicality. This gallery contains some initial thoughts and some blind alleys. This car was tentatively developed around the same time as Sir Alec Issigonis was working on his […]

Concepts : Austin AR6


Paradise lost The Roy Axe studio in Canley had been created to move Austin Rover forwards with a new design direction. Interesting projects were soon underway, with the initial effort being concentrated the XX Programme – however, by the end of 1982, ARG designers were also working hard on the replacement for the Metro, dubbed […]

Concepts : BMC 9X

1969 Mini 9X prototype

Sheer Genius SOMETIMES, a crisis can truly focus the thoughts of an individual – and in the case of Issigonis, a proven and gifted designer, the Suez crisis had proven this to be the case. From the Leonard Lord edict to design a car to meet the fuel crisis head-on, a true stroke of genius […]