Concepts and prototypes
Austin-Morris looked seriously at a plan to build a saloon version of its upcoming Metro hatchback. But as we exclusively reveal, it was canned rather late in the day due to financial cut backs.
Ever wondered what all those ADO, YDO and LC numbers mean when we’re discussing the history of BMC, BL and Rover cars? Worry not, because our exhaustive list of codenames should help you work out what’s what.
In the late-1970s, BL invested in its future by looking at the next step in engineering design. Under the leadership of Spen King, British Leyland Technology was created, and out of it came some fascinating projects, including the lightweight ECV3 prototype.
The development of a replacement for the Land Rover Defender has presented successive Rover and Jaguar Land Rover managements with an ongoing problem down the years. The familiar-looking Land Rover LCV 2/3 could have done the job very effectively had it borne fruit. Here’s a run-down of what we know about it…
The biggest criticism normally aimed at the Maxi – other than the early model’s obstructive gearchange – is usually reserved for its plain Jane styling. The Aquila showed how it could have been made into a far more stylish beast. Alas, it was only ever to be a one-off styling exercise.
Robert Leitch tells the story of the amazing ADO30 – a grand tourer that sprung out of a design competition before coming close to replacing the Austin-Healey 3000. The ‘Fireball XL-5’ proved to be a victim of internal politics, tight budgets, and more pressing problems for parent company BMC. But still, it would have been wonderful…
A brief look at how the ground-breaking Mini made it from sketch pad to showroom in little more than two years, a remarkable achievement for a car that completely threw away the rule book. Keith Adams walks through the Mini’s development to production reality in August 1959. From cigarette packet to showroom in 30 months […]
The Triumph Fury was a little more than a motor show crowd pleaser – it was a hint at what Triumph could really achieve with its sports car range during the 1960s. Shame this show concept didn’t make it into production… It was a huge missed opportunity.
What might have been What makes this Pininfarina Aerodynamica (and its 1800 brother) studies so interesting is that it wasn’t commissioned by the British company. It’s that they both caused huge interest at the time they were revealed in 1967 and ’68. The five-door hatchbacks pre-dated the stampede towards two-box designs these designs in the 1970s. […]
The 1967 Pininfarina Aerodynamica Berlina 1800 concept car was hugely influential. One only needs to look at the Rover SD1 to see just how much…
The most comprehensive story you’ll ever read about the aborted 9X programme – the ill-fated Mini replacement, engineered by the man who created the original.
For the Geneva motor show in 1998, Rover unveiled this interesting proposal based on the MGF. The Super Sports lost its windscreen and gained a whole lot more besides. Starting with its 197bhp Janspeed supercharged K-series engine.
Safety first: A close look at the Safety Research Vehicles (SRVs) produced by British Leyland in the 1970s reveals some very prescient ideas. There were, of course, a few blind alleys, too. Following Ralph Nader’s 1965 report Unsafe At Any Speed, which highlighted the poor handling and/or crash-resistance of numerous cars sold in the US, the […]
Arguably, the Rover 400 was viewed with disappointment by both 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 be with us within […]
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.
The Anadol-Reliant FW11 prototype and its similarity with the Triumph SD2 serves to remind us that nothing’s completely new in the car world. Words: Keith Adams Photography: Sporting Reliants/Anadol Fan Club Denied Turkish Delight 1974: Triumph SD2 prototype 1977: Reliant/Anadol FW11 prototype 1979: Bertone Tundra Concept car 1982: Citroën BX It started with a simple statement […]
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…
The most powerful version of the rear-wheel-drive MG ZT spent a long time in development – and, in the end, it didn’t make it into production, as time ran out for it. Wearing the coveted chassis number one, the ZT XPower 385 is another of those fascinating might-have-beens that never saw the light of day. […]
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.