Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Concepts and prototypes : Meet the LC family

Sometime in 1979, the Austin-Morris product planners would have met with BL’s upper management to explain the LM10 strategy. This model set perfectly demonstrates how the Montego saloon and estate were developed from the Maestro, and more intriguingly, how an upper middle market hatchback was also planned.

The modular model is comprised of a centre section and several front/rear sections, which can be added and removed as neccessary. It is amusing to think that in some high level strategy meeting, a member of the Austin-Morris team would have been juggling these models in order to demonstrate the possibilities…

Thanks must go to the nice people at Gaydon for allowing us to photograph these models for posterity.

The models…

Austin LM10/11/14/15 family


Austin LM10/11/14/15 family

The LM10 – or the Maestro that we all know and love. The shape had been settled in 1976, signed off in 1978, and this forms the basis for the schemes demonstrated in the modular model set…


Austin LM10/11/14/15 family

Austin LM10/11/14/15 family

Austin LM10/11/14/15 family

Saloon model scheme is almost an identical replica to the full-sized prototype that Roy Axe set eyes upon the second day after he joined BL. It is evident from this model, how the LM11 was pretty much set for production and the breadth of Axe’s changes were rather limited.

Austin LM10/11/14/15 family

Estate version was changed a great deal between this model and the final production version: thanks to the drooping Maestro shoulder line, the rear side windows were extremely deep, as was the tailgate glass. This was subtly changed by Axe, thanks to the door top ‘moundings’ used in the production Montego. Also, the rear end of the production version was significantly more characterful than this bland effort (which looked eerily similar to the stillborn SD1 estate prototype.


Austin LM10/11/14/15 family

Austin LM10/11/14/15 family

Austin LM10/11/14/15 family

Here’s the one that got away: strikingly similar to the Chrysler Alpine, this model would have been pitched above the LM10 and LM11, perhaps being aimed specifically at the European market. Certainly, it would have been conceived as a direct replacement for the upcoming Austin Ambassador, where (it would be hoped) a premium could be charged over its saloon brethren.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)

9 Comments on "Concepts and prototypes : Meet the LC family"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Simon Hodgetts says:

    Jeez, that hatchback’s awful! At least the Ambassador had some style……

  2. Chris Baglin says:

    I’ve yet to see a really attractive Roy Axe designed car, although his reworking of the Monty estate was better than the effort above, which looks rather Ital-like. The Monty hatch was far too similar to the unhappy Alpine, which was known for its rust and its awful engines- hardly a car worthy of copying, not to mention poor packaging (the boot floor on the Alpine was very shallow and therefore impractical). Oddly, however, on the Monty hatch the scallops actually add character though.

  3. francis brett says:

    Imagine if these LC 10/11 had been introduced in ’76 (When styling had been settled)what a big noise they would have been? i never thought the montego looked unattractive when launched-i had a roverised 1.6 SL when i was on my arse and it was a good car.

  4. Paul says:

    With key competitors being the Cavalier, Sierra, Alpine and Passat the 5 door hatch LM14/15 should have neen a no brainer. Why on earth didnt they do it?

    • Dave Dawson says:

      Yes, why on earth was the LM14/15 not launched? A good proportion of sales in this sector (Cavalier, Sierra) were 5 door. Even if not launched early on, surely a new 5 door version would have been a great (and relatively inexpensive) way to boost flagging Montego sales in the late eighties.
      The above car is not bad looking in terms of proportions. Just needs different detailing, a bit of character injecting.

  5. David Dawson1 says:

    Not sure if the Roy Axe revisions to the Montego saloon were ALL right. The front end looked pretty good I always thought. However, the ‘opera’ rear window looked better more as above. Stepped out of line with the other side windows it gave a ‘dis-jointed’ look. The MG’s spoiler helped though.

  6. Rodrigo says:

    LM14 looks a bit a british Polonez!

  7. francis brett says:

    Talbot Solara/Alpine.

  8. didierz65 says:

    Yep, Lc/Lm 10-14/15 were launched far too late, mind in 1976, Allegro was only 3 but it would have been useful to launch the long versions ASAP, 78? to replace Marina and maybe 79-80 to take over the Allegro… No need to waste money on the Ambarasor. What on earth was going on in the highest spheres?

Have your say...