The Innocenti Regent was the Italian version of the Austin Allegro, and it seemed that no one in Italy wanted to buy one…
A little more than 18 months in production, and just 11,213 sold, it made the Austin Allegro look like a raging success.
Innocenti Regent: short and not-so sweet
This Italian version of the Allegro was produced at Innocenti’s factory in Milan, Italy under licence during 1974 and 1975. It must have seemed like a good idea when thrusting British Leyland executive Geoffrey Robinson helped devise the plan during 1973 to build this car to replace the moderately successful ADO16-based IM3. It would end up being the first Innocenti to market follow the company’s takeover by British Leyland.
It was offered with two engines – the 1.3-litre A-Series in twin-carburettor form developing 66bhp, and the twin-carburettor 1.5-litre E-Series in 79bhp form. The range consisted of 1300, 1300 L and 1500 L – with L for lusso. Most adverts show the L model featuring the characteristic black paintwork on the roof.
The more luxurious versions came with special wheels, a sports steering wheel (in quartic shape, of course) and cloth-vinyl combinations on the seats. There are several differences between the British Allegro and the Italian Regent, most notably the fitment of front quarterlights, alternative steel wheels, and a more appealing steering wheel and instrument cluster (below).
Other changes include:
- Different grille
- Different boot lock and rear number plate positions
- Seats, instruments (and even the gear lever knob) are particular to the Innocenti
- Italian electrics in the engine bay
After its introduction right at the end of 1973, the Innocenti Regent lasted a scant 18 months in production. The Italians allegedly begged British Leyland to let it cease production, such was its lack of appeal. The ploy worked, because it was dropped so the company could concentrate on production of its successful Mini 90/120 model.
The biggest disadvantage to the Regent, though, was that Alfa Romeo’s new Alfasud had already hit the market running, and was proving popular. Another killer for the Regent was that the price was raised by nearly 50% just three months after launch.
And if you’re wondering why this most Italian of Allegros didn’t keep the Italianate sounding name, it comes down to meaning. In Italian, the word ‘allegro’ can mean cheerful or bright as in music, but it can also mean merry or drunk…
Innocenti Regent 1300 specifications
- Production: 1973-1975
- Body: Four-door saloon body type
- Transmission: Front-wheel drive, manual four-speed gearbox
- Engine: Four-cylinders, engine capacity 1275cc, maximum power 66bhp, maximum torque 71lb ft
- Dimensions: length 3853mm, width 1613mm, wheelbase 2442 mm, kerbweight 875 kg
- Performance: Maximum speed 92mph, 0- 60mph 13.6 seconds, standing 1/4 mile 19.3 seconds
- Fuel consumption: 27.2mpg (average)