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.
Would it have worked had it been launched in 1976/’77? We can only speculate now.
The project suffered from having indecisive leadership – it was led by Harry Webster, but because he had worked previously at Triumph, he had little experience of packaging a small car. As a result, the project drifted, directionless – in a short time, ADO74 grew from being a Mini replacement into something rather larger. Indecisiveness over the styling also resulted in many proposals being produced, none of which BLMC management were entirely happy with.
This gallery demonstrates this more graphically than mere words ever could – and the car’s unprecedented growth is most evident when one compares the first packaging diagram with Harris Mann’s final incarnation.
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up 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 Classics 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 unfeasible adventures all across Europe.