eBay Find of the Week #1 – £5k Allegro Estate

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Craig Cheetham

Probably the best Allegro Estate left in the country - but would you pay £5,250 for it?
Probably the best Allegro Estate left in the country – but would you pay £5,250 for it?

Okay – an old feature momentarily resurrected, because when a mate pointed this out to me I had to share my incredulity…

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I can’t decide if it’s the price, the car or the fact that someone decided to do a full nut and bolt job on a Doom Blue Allegro Estate that astounds me the most, so here it is for your delight and delectation. And before anyone accuses me of being an Allegro knocker, allow me to steer you very quickly away from that notion – I’ve owned as many Allegros as I’ve owned Rover 800s (nine apiece) and have loved them all in their own quirky, trying-as-hard-as-they-possibly-could kind of way. I also acknowledge – and as a motoring journalist have been laughed at multiple times for insisting as much – that the Allegro was one of the best made cars of the 1970s. Seriously… They were far more corrosion resistant than any of their European or Japanese peers and, if you opted for the venerable A-Series under the bathtub-shaped bonnet, then nothing serious ever went wrong, because there was nothing serious to go wrong.

A-Plus for effort as far as the tidiness of the engine bay is concerned
A-Plus for effort as far as the tidiness of the engine bay is concerned

My first Allegro was bought for me by my dad. £200, and chosen specifically because I wouldn’t show off in front of my mates in it. Being a two-door in Vermillion, it quickly earned the nickname ‘General Lee’, and as for showing off, let’s just say I once drove past the science labs at Sixth Form College with a mate ‘windsurfing’ on the roof…. It was harpooned by a Ford Fiesta in 1994 and replaced by another Allegro, this time costing all of £280. My cheapest Allegro was free, most of the next five cost me between £50 and £300 and the one I paid ‘proper money’ for (£750) actually turned out to be the most rotten of the lot.

Certainly no faulting the detail, though I suspect this is better than they looked on leaving Longbridge
Certainly no faulting the detail, though I suspect this is better than they looked on leaving Longbridge

So, £5,250? Maybe for an ultra-rare Crayford convertible, a mint Equipe or a concours Series I 1750 Sport Special, but a Series 3 1.3L Estate? I absolutely doff my cap to the brave soul who took it upon themselves to restore it to such a high standard, and the detail is beautiful. I’ll also make no secret of the fact that I love a lowly trim level that gets restored and/or preserved as these are the cars that often disappear for good, hence why I was so sorely tempted by the mushroom-coloured Rover 820e at Anglia Car Auctions the other week.

But no matter how lovely the Allegro (in a relative sense, of course), surely they can’t be worth this much?

BL's early-80s 'Paprika' interior. Goes well with Nautilus Blue, apparently...
BL’s early-80s ‘Paprika’ interior. Goes well with Nautilus Blue, apparently…

Judge for yourself at this link

Oh, and while we’re at it, not BLARG, but check this one out as well, not least because I fell in love with it…

1982 Talbot Horizon has only covered 12,000 miles. Serious 'want' factor...
1982 Talbot Horizon has only covered 12,000 miles. Serious ‘want’ factor…

 

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.

25 Comments

  1. An Allegro with pink seats, this is seriously different and also a low spec estate, possibly one of the last made, I think this is a serious investment as for all the big money tends to be seen in sporting variants of cars from this era, the bread and butter models are worth saving as they were far more common. Also a 1.3 Allegro estate will probably still return 40 mpg on a long journey, the A plus engine is still quite common and also it has loads of space.

  2. A £5250 price does seem a bit optimistic.

    There is the added rarity of a low trim model and the ever increasing classic appeal of the Allegro to consider. However, I still think £5k plus is a bit tomorrow’s world!

  3. Actually, I think this is worth the money- if you like Allegro’s enough.

    If I had the money, and a space in my (non-existant) garage, I’d consider it.

    Having one owned a Talbot Alpine, the Horizon would have to be given away free, with a year’s free petrol (and an unleaded conversion) to make it even remotely desirable. That said, I hope someone buys and cherishes it, if only for the sake of maintaining such a rare curiosity.

  4. These were actually well made by the standards of the day, I agree.

    As for this example, why the heck not if you have the wedge? I think it’s worth it. 5k won’t get you very far on the new car market anyway, and at least this has some character…Although that sum of money would buy you a very nice XJ40 😉

  5. I like it, the two colours go well together and the car is far far more interesting to me than any boring Capri, Lotus Cortina or MG etc. The Allegro, to my eyes, is a cute little car that was reasonably well made and rust free. Look at the awful and over rated and brick-like Golf of the era, or the very rust prone and not particularly good to drive Chevette for example, the Allegro was better than either of those two, yet people still slate it…Sad

  6. Actually, I rather like the All-Aggro estate. IMHO the only model worth having. I can only admire the restoration and don’t think that the price is unreasonable either. The only down side is that I would not want to use it. It really belongs in a museum where it can be seen in context. If I bought it, then it would end up being driven and that would remove the exclusivity, so not for me.

    As for the Talbot Horizon — you can keep that one for any money. Not very nice even when new. Probably another good museum piece but for a different reason i.e. how not to do it.

  7. I love it. And I love that it is a base model.

    Is it worth £5k. Yes. If that what the owner wants to receive part with the car, then that is what it is worth.

    I am so pleased that people do crazy things such as this. So much more interesting that a big red Italian sports car.

  8. I know I should be impresed that the owner has restored it so well. Hell he may be selling it at a loss!

    However is the world a richer place for its existence? I think not.

    But the Horizon? Second worst car I’ve ever driven after a CityRover.

    A useful motto in these cases is “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. This also works with Audi Q7s, second helpings of dessert and drum solos

  9. Cracking car, very early 80s. What colour blue is it? Is it the same as the ’85 Metro City? I can’t find a paint chart anywhere.

  10. Very reliable motors my aunt had two and she loved em only got rid of the last one to take on my uncles Cavalier when he upgraded to a Carlton.

    Not exactly the most enthralling car of the time – they are pretty ugly and look nothing like the original sketches but we should preserve our past, so good on the man who restored it. Just think the price is a bit mad.

    As to the Horizon – again not exactly a great car but we need these to be kept for our history. So much has been lost in this country its a disgrace.

  11. The Horizon is worth saving as Talbots are so rare now, yet were a fairly common sight in the early eighties and for all they were rust prone, not very exciting to drive and used dated mechanicals, the Horizon was a comfortable, well equipped hatchback that had the look of the Golf about it. Also if this one is a diesel, using the excellent Peugeot XUD engine, then expect 55 mpg.

  12. It looks way better than when it was new. You must admire the effort and dedication invested in this very ordinary allegro. I think if it is as good as it looks, it is worth it. A great vehicle to cause a stir on the show circuit? Clear the sideboard for the silverware!

  13. Our neighbour had an Allegro Estate in cream (like Ford’s Sahara beige). Never cared for the Estate version… rear body looks like a mini-hearse?

    That Horizon looks decent though – much better looking than the Chrysler Sunbeam was.

  14. This is identical to the one in Swain & Jones’ showroom in Farnham in June 1981. My dad asked how much it was. I have the Austin Morris price list in front of me now with the salesman’s scrawl on it, £4,539.39 plus £178 for delivery and £1,000 p/x allowance for the 1977 Marina Special. I remember it clearly.

  15. To answer Lewblew’s query, the Allegro is finished in Nautilus Blue which ran from Oct 1980 (Metro launch) until Nov 1982 when it was replaced by Eclipse Blue, an even darker shade. Nautilus in its turn had replaced the brighter and in my view more appealing Pageant Blue although that now falls into the same bracket as all those outlandish, zany BL shades from the late 70’s such as Jade and Applejack Greens, Snapdragon Yellow, Vermilion (Orange) and Mace Brown. Paprika trim was nice when new, the seats were the same colour as the carpets but prone to fading hence the much lighter appearance here. Good to see the car has survived and is now in better condition than when it was new!

  16. Don’t forget Leyland Limeflower, a fairly odd colour of green. Yet for all people knock Allegros, there are vastly more of them around than the products of France and Italy from that era. The Allegro might have been a bit of a dog, but even this was far more preferable than a Fiat Strada with rust from almost day one, bits falling off and the sort of reliability that made a Jaguar XJS Toyota like. The Allegro wasn’t a great car, it was fairly ugly and not very well made, but the opposition was far worse.

  17. I’d want to ‘ruin’ it by tuning-up the A+ unit and have some fun scaring
    a few moderns – at least until the gearbox cried enough.

    Quite like the look of the estate, favourite Allegro combo for me would always be a Mk.2 exterior with a Mk.3 dashboard – would’nt be surprised if a few were made like that by accident during change-over.

    That gold stripe would have to go though, period or not – and I never could forgive BL fitting LHD sweep wipers to this and many other models – it’s a British car FPS!

    • These are not LHD 90 degree sweep wipers but instead they are 180 degree wipers that you see on lots of older cars. They leave both corners unwiped. On a LHD car the wipers park on the other side so they always park in front of the driver so the driver’s side clears first.

  18. @ Adrian, but also had hearse like luggage space. The estate version always seemed to do quite well with families who wanted to buy British but whose budget didn’t run to a Maxi.

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