Active between 1960 and 1964, ADO34 was a project to develop a Mini-based roadster, which would logically have replaced the MG Midget and Austin-Healey Sprite. Different versions were put forward by Austin at Longbridge and MG at Abingdon, while a coupé version (ADO35) was also developed, along with Austin-Healey versions of each car (ADO36).
The Longbridge cars
The Longbridge ADO34, roof-down and roof-up. This prototype was built (and probably designed) by Pininfarina, and now resides at the Heritage Collection at Gaydon.
This car (above), as featured in “MG: The Untold Story” by David Knowles, is believed to be a surviving example of ADO35, bearing as it does a strong resemblance to ADO34, along with the hallmarks of Pininfarina’s involvement in its design and production. It is now undergoing restoration in the hands of an enthuisast.
Opinions vary, but this plain-fronted car is generally considered to be the Austin-Healey version of ADO34, probably restyled by Dick Burzi at Longbridge. Pictured below is a closed coupé derivative, fitted with what appears to be a detachable hardtop. It is clearly not, however, the Michelotti-designed ADO70, as one commentator has suggested in print.
The Abingdon cars
Abingdon’s ADO34, looking rather like a diminutive MGB.
The different frontal treatments devised for the MG (ADO34) and Austin-Healey (ADO36) variants. The Austin-Healey’s badge reads “Austin-Healey Sprite”. The sidelight/indicator units appear to have been sourced from the contemporary Morris J4 van.
This version of the Abingdon car features different frontal detailing, with a longer bonnet and wider grille.