The three-box ADO16, as restyled by Michelotti – it shared its basic body structure with the South African Austin Apache and, to this day, fans say that this car should have been launched in the UK to boost BL’s sales.
But would it have been a success here in 1972? Sadly, we’ll never know.
IN October 1972, Authi replaced its Morris and MG ADO16 models with the Victoria (Spanish for victory, so not named after a girl, queen, place or station). There is a rumour that the name was a chosen as a sardonic comment on the similarity of Michelotti’s styling job to his previous Triumph 1500 design, particularly evident from the rear.
The bodyshell was borrowed from the Austin Apache produced in South Africa. It has to be said that, in reality, the Victoria was a failure, as was Authi itself, although one can’t help wondering whether it could have been a success in the UK market…
A Mk2 version was developed and a handful of examples were built before fire swept the Pamplona factory, and the Authi adventure came to an end…
This MG-badged Victoria (above), with a tuned, twin-carb (83bhp) version of the 1275cc engine, twin headlamps and a revised interior, was shown at the Barcelona Motor Show in April 1973, but never entered production. (Picture: MG: The Untold Story, by David Knowles)
A small selection of Mk1 Victoria images culled from brochures, adverts and magazines.
Victoria pictured in the wild in 2008. (Picture: Rob Cawley)
Seven years ago, at the 2012 BMC/BL Rally in Peterborough, an Austin Victoria was compared with its Michelotti-styled contemporary, the Triumph Dolomite. There are some striking similarities.