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.
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?
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Words: Keith Adams Photographs: Harry Metcalfe The stars are out at Auto Shanghai today, with a raft of important new car announcements and unveilings taking place at what is likely to become the industry’s most important event in the coming years. The ‘British’ manufacturers are treating Shanghai extremely seriously, with new products and concepts rolling […]
Keith Adams It’s 1997, and Rover’s strategy for the Mini’s replacement is rapidly taking shape. It’s two years on from the memorable meeting at the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon which shaped the future direction of the Mini marque. There had been several models presented to the BMW and Rover board and they were split […]
Clive Goldthorp SAIC Motor has, as anticipated, officially unveiled the MG ZERO Concept car at Auto China 2010 in Beijing today. The Birmingham-based MG Global Design Team, led by British MG Design Director Tony Williams-Kenny, developed the MG ZERO Concept and the car now looks set to become one of the stars at what has rapidly become a […]
On this day: Somewhere in the bowels of BLMC a photograph is taken of hatchback Mini Clubman, part of the ADO20 programme. GLASGOW HERALD Meanwhile the strike by 400 press shop operators and maintenance men has resulted in 4000 workers and 400 truck assembly workers at the British Leyland Corporation factory at Bathgate being laid […]