Service vans : ADO16 and ADO17

When the ADO17 was launched as the Austin 1800 in 1964, few people can have imagined that one of its defining features – its doors – would later appear on a series of cars ranging from a 1.5-litre family hatchback to a 3-litre executive saloon.

But the story doesn’t end there. As well as being pressed into service on no fewer than four distinct production models, “those doors” were at the heart of a plethora of proposed models that never saw the light of day.


BMC 1100


BMC 1800


This page was contributed by Declan Berridge

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
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.
Keith Adams

1 Comment

  1. Not sure about the proposed 1800 van, though it appears the proposed 1100 van was to feature a wheelbase increase of 4-inches compared to the existing ADO16.

    Additionally it seems the floorpan of the proposed 1100 van was also considered in forming the basis of an ADO16-base 4-seater coupe as a full-size model by Jim O’ Neil – Abingdon’s Chief Body Engineer. Only for Issigonis to have the front-end chopped off upon seeing it (cutting it off square, rounding it off and put some silly little radiator thing on the front), just before it was due to be viewed by the BMC board.

    That said as with the Minivan-based 2+2 MG Sport (ADO56), would a 1275cc A-Series engine have been enough to power an ADO16 van-based 4-seater coupe?

    Interestingly using the Austin Apache as a rough guide, a LWB version based on the floorpan of the ADO16 van would have given it a similar wheelbase and length to the Lancia Fulvia saloon. Raising the question of whether the MG 1100/1300 could have been moved further upmarket from the existing ADO16 via 1.1-2.0 18-degree V4 engines, with the latter also providing the require power for a production version of the ADO16-based mid-engined Healey WAEC prototype as a prospective Midget/B replacement (with ADO21 being re-purposed as ab 18-degree V6 powered MGC replacement).

    Throw in an ADO16 derived from version of the Autobianchi Primula-based Fiat 238 and BMC would have been able to produce a number of vehicles off of ADO16 at a relatively low-cost, though otherwise not sure about MG sportscars switching to a mid-engined layout (unless the Healeys stick with a front-engined layout via a Healey version of EX234, etc).

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