eBay Find of the Week : Ogle SX1000

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Craig Cheetham

One of the most unusual Mini variants is currently up for sale on eBay, even if it does look a lot like a squashed Allegro (despite predating the the BL Baked Bean by over a decade).

It does look like a Series 3 Allegro, don't you think?
It does look like a Series 3 Allegro, don’t you think?

The creation of eccentric engineer David Ogle, founder of Ogle Design, the SX1000 was introduced in 1962, with a bonded glassfibre body and was manufactured in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire.

The Ogle is all there, but needs reassembly and paint
The Ogle is all there, but needs reassembly and paint

Its combination of light weight and unequal weight distribution made it rather prone to lift-off oversteer – a fact borne out, rather tragically, by David Ogle himself when he was killed at the wheel of a pre-production SX1000 shortly before the car was launched.

Ogle Design never really got over that and, whilst the SX1000 remained in production until 1966, only 66 are believed to have been made, with around 20 known to still exist.

The SX1000 certainly looks less Allegro-like from the rear...
The SX1000 certainly looks less Allegro-like from the rear…

This example, at £13,000, still needs quite a bit of work, but its rarity should see it reach pretty close to its asking price. All of the interior trim and body parts are there, along with the unique perspex rear screen, while everything else is from a Mini so should be relatively easy to source.

However, that wasn’t the case when the car was new – when Ogle Design first started to build SX1000s, BMC refused to supply them with parts even though the order was potentially quite a lucrative one.

All the bits to rebuild it are included
All the bits to rebuild it are included

That’s why, in order to get Ogle to build them an SX1000, interested parties had to first buy themselves a Mini (more often than not, a Cooper). For an extra £600 or so, Ogle would then use the Mini floor, bulkhead, inner wings, windscreen, subframes, suspension and running gear to build up a complete car to the customer’s chosen specification.

 

Not every part of the Ogle looks unusual!
Not every part of the Ogle looks unusual!

This car, chassis number 8, was originally used by Appleyards of Leeds as a demonstrator, and was initially gold (it can still be seen on the doors and bonnet, where paint has been sanded back), and comes with its original registration number.

What price originality, eh? Mind you, as ‘barn finds’ go, this one does, at least, have rarity value…

 

Craig Cheetham

A serial impulsive car purchaser, Craig has had his name on over 200 V5s over the past 20 years. 10 per cent of those have been either 800s or Austin Allegros, with between 10 and 20 cars usually owned at any one time. Started out as a local newspaper journalist then worked for car mags including Auto Express, Classic Car Weekly and Land Rover Owner. Worked inside the car industry for a decade as an employee of General Motors, now works for a news distribution agency. Home based, which is dangerously convenient for further irrational heap purchases. Lover of all makes of car since childhood, with a particular leaning towards Austin-Rover... Father of three boys, so hoping to spread the car love. Other passions include rugby union, travelling and eating out.

14 Comments

  1. Was Tom Karen involved in the styling? there is a Scimitar-ish look to it.

    According to the A-Z of Cars 1945-70 there were a few Mini based cars like this in the 1960s.

  2. “For an extra £600 or so”

    That’s a lot of money, which explains why so few were made! Quite stylish though I admit and very advanced for its time, hints of Allegro and Chevette in its design

  3. Lovely little story.

    While the original sketches for the Allegro were pretty impressive, the need to fit the tall A-series and B-series meant the low modern design became taller and a bit ungainly.

    Perhaps as the design was honed, the designers unconsciously drew on this Ogle design? Just a thought…

    It looks like the reason only 66 were made was because on the death of David Ogle it was decided to end car production, so all existing parts were used, taking up to 1964 to make and sell all.

    Tom Karen took over as MD from 1962, going on to design the Scimitar GTE.

    The company went on to design the Raleigh Chopper, the Scimitar GT (unwanted by Jaguar/Daimler to replace the Dart), the Reliant Robin, Bond Bug, several ubiquitous 1970s coach designs and the Leyland Road Train cabs, and of course the Range Rover based Popemobile.

    The company continues to this day as Ogle Noor. Check out their Vaults section:
    http://www.oglenoor.com/project_vault

    Highlight must be the Land Rover Chair!

      • The Raleigh Chopper, Never knew that! My friend had one of those in metallic green colour which looked rather good and futuristic at the time!

    • Indeed, the resemblance is so marked its hard to believe BL’s designers where not influenced by this. Even details like the relationship between the grill, headlamps and leading edge of the front wing are virtually identical.

    • Am interested in finding out more about a “People Carrier” proposal Tom Karen designed for Reliant as part of the latter’s shelved 7 year product expansion plan in 1977 by a consortium of businessmen who attempted to buyout Reliant (led by Ray Wiggin and including the likes of John Barber and Donald Healey), particularly whether it would have been derived from the Reliant FW11 project?

      The only source I can find for the Tom Karen designed “People Carrier” proposal (which allegedly had most of the features of the Renault Espace) is an old article in the Independent about Reliant so likely chance of it being inaccurate to some degree, apparently Reliant were also in talks with BL around the same period.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/a-wheel-over-the-edge-1439961.html

  4. It wasn’t A or B series engines that caused the Allegro to be ungainly (the B series wasn’t used) but the E series which Harris Mann stated was more fit for installation in a truck on account of its height, especially in 1748cc form.

    Ironically if they had used the 1800 B series engine, the front end would probably have been more sleek. However internal politics (the desire to have Cofton Hackett working at full capacity which it wasn’t as a result of poor Maxi sales) got in the way.

    They could have installed 1485 & 1748 E4s into the Marina to fulfill that requirement as they did in Australi & South Africa.

  5. Interesting looking car, but certainly no beauty. Hope it goes to a good home.

    Looking through Ogle’s archive, it appears they had a hand in the second gen Renault Trafic (and its clones). A remarkably futuristic design at the time that has aged so well that the recent facelift doesn’t look as good as the original- and they left the basic shape as it was.

  6. I agree, the lines do have the look of a slimmer tidier Allegro so it may well have been an influence. Although the design would have been a good 6 years old when they started sketching the Allegro and there were prettier and tidier styled cars to be influenced by at the time.

    I think it’s more likely an accident of the material needs of the glass fibre Ogle and the alleged compromises made in the Allegro press tools, that ended up with two “chubby” looking cars.

    The Allegro further suffered from the compromises of fitting the E series, and oversized heater that left its front end being a mess of different lines and humps, so the Ogle front is probably a reasonable representation where they would have got to if the Allegro had just been engineered for the A series.

    Which one has to say that for 1973, probably still was not good enough to be sales success not only in the UK, but in Europe that was needed for British Leyland to remain a major volume car producer.

  7. I rather like that little Ogle! Have a google seach for images and it shows the car in a much better light.

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