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?
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.
The Specialist Division’s follow-up to the SD1 should have replaced the Dolomite. Shame this promising Triumph never happened…
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.
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 […]
Tripping the light fantastic In many ways, 1 November 1977 – the date that Michael Edwardes took the helm at British Leyland – can be seen as the first day of the rest of the company’s life. Of course the company was very much a rapidly sinking ship – the hull breached in many places […]
Last throw of the dice The SD2 was dead – long live the SD2… well, almost. Post-Ryder, the Specialist Division would fall into abeyance and would become part of the all-encompassing “Leyland Cars” division. TM-1 was the result – a car to replace the Triumph Dolomite and Morris Marina. In essence, the car was almost […]
Keith Adams, photography, Stephen Harper In the lead-up to the launch of the series 3 Austin Allegro, newly-recruited Austin Apprentice Stephen Harper joined the team of young stylists tasked with raising the appeal of the Longbridge-built mid-liner. Harper had already come up with the LE limited edition, and the Equipe was a development of this […]
Rover Special Products was one busy department during the early 1990s, and proof positive is this design sketch from Steve Harper. Keith Adams Jacked-up Monty As we know, Rover Special Products was a hot-house within the Rover Group, tasked with devising niche vehicles that could bring additional profit and glamour to the company’s model range […]
Defending the 1990s The Lightweight Concept Vehicle programme was initiated by Land Rover in the early 1990s, and was a serious investigation into the production of lighter, cleaner and greener off-roaders. The idea was to test-bed new technologies, harking back to the days of the British Leyland Technology ECV programme, and one of the targets […]
The Morris Marina was conceived in a hurry, but designers consoled themselves in the fact that it was only going to last five or six years… Here we reveal pictures of the ADO77, and discuss why it never came into fruition. Missing Marina THE trouble with developing and launching a car in a hurry is […]
MGR’s Land Rover rival? IT’S fairly common knowledge within the industry that, when BMW and Rover cut their ties in 2000, there a certain number of conditions were imposed about the future use of certain marque names. For one, BMW decided to allow MG Rover to use the Rover marque name on its own terms […]
It lives on: MGR’s secret Rover facelift The farce that was the arrival of the 2004 facelifts of the Rover 25/MG ZR, 45/ZS and 75/ZT will probably haunt anyone who worked at MG Rover for years to come. If you don’t remember it, then cast your minds back – MGR fans were eagerly anticipating the […]
The last chance saloon MG Rover. It was a brave new beginning for the remants of The Rover Group, split up and sold off by BMW in May 2000. The consortium responsible for the formation of MG Rover – Phoenix – was led by John Towers, and if anyone knew the machinations of Longbridge better […]
The Tourer Concept Vehicle In the months following the formation of MG Rover in May 2000, many changes were quickly put in place that affected the make-up of the product range. Rover’s range was split in two, and the immediate marketing focus was shifted away from the existing brand in an attempt to establish MG […]
A class act BMW knew that in order to create a successful Rover for the 21st century, there needed to be a re-think of the range… a slimming down of model lines. After much consideration on how to go forwards with Rover, it was decided to continue down the road that was leading the company […]
Sporting Rover ARGUABLY, the Rover 400 was viewed with disappointment among 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 […]
Coupe de grace Hot on the heels of the MG EX-E, the Rover CCV (Coupé Concept Vehicle) made its debut at the Geneva motor show of 1986. Unlike the MG, which there was absolutely no intention of putting into production, the Rover CCV acted as a toe-in-the-water exercise to preview the styling of the Rover […]
MG’s future hot-shot First shown to the world at the 1985 Frankfurt motor show, it is fair to say that the MG EX-E shocked visitors simply because it was so attractive and so unexpected. At the time of the EX-E’s debut, MG could only offer the “M” cars – sporting saloons and hatchbacks – so […]
A lesson in lightness FOLLOWING the success of the BL Technology developed lightweight ECV3 project, it was decided to evaluate a system of manufacturing for building aluminium structured vehicles and then test the structural integrity and durability. This Metro is one of six vehicles built as replicas of steel production vehicles, and employs the system […]