Austin de Luxe

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

The 1-litre ADO16

In 1974, just as the ADO16 was preparing to face its final curtain in the UK, Authi introduced a new 998cc version of the standard-bodied car, known simply as the Austin de Luxe. The specifications make interesting reading – with 55bhp on tap, it would have been likely to out-perform a standard 48-bhp 1100 model, although it had to make do with slightly less torque (56.4lb ft, against 60lb ft for the 1100). The engine could have been sourced from Innocenti in Italy, so similar are the power output and torque figures are identical to those for the engine used in the contemporary Innocenti Mini 1000 and 1001.

More likely, though, was that the engine was produced at the Authi factory at Los Conrales. According to BL Denmark employee Erik Loye, the engines used in the Austin de Luxe were identical to the, Cooper 998 except having only one  SU carburettor (and Femsa ignition and electrics). He stated that, “The engine performed well in the heavier ADO16 body but needed to be revved somewhat more.”

In service, L¿ye added that the Austin de Luxe was overall a reliable car (as well it should have been after being in production for over a decade): “The only real problem with the de Luxe was the plastic heater elements, which did not produce enough heat, I believe all of these had their element changed to a brass one.” This weakness probably belied the car’s Spanish origins, where heater output was somewhat less important than it would be in more temperate Nothern European climes.

Barely a year later, BL’s decision to withdraw from manufacture in Spain (see below) saw the axe fall on the Authi operation. However, there must have been considerable stockpiles of this model, as it remained on sale in some far-flung markets:

In the Danish market, regarding the sale of Austin de Luxe in Denmark, the 1000-or-so examples offered for sale there were sold alongside the remaining 1100/1300 during January and February 1975. According to Loye, it could well be that, these were sold right through until February 1976, when stocks were finally exhausted.

In Greece, where the arrival of the new Allegro had done little to dent the ADO16’s popularity, sales continued into 1977.

Thanks to Henrik Thostrup, Erik Loye and Demetris Bouras for the information on sales in Denmark and Greece respectively.

This page from a 1975 Spanish car catalogue (kindly submitted by Graham Arnold) appears to show an incorrect engine photograph, as the Austin de Luxe’s engine actually used a single SU HS4 carburettor. The correct engine is shown below.

This page was contributed by Declan Berridge

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created 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.
Keith Adams

1 Comment

  1. Note that the catalogue text criticizes the lack of power and the older, three support cranckase design which may be useful to identify the engine type and origins. Also criticized is the lack of radial tyres.

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