Ah, the Innocenti Regent… The Italian-built and modified Austin Allegro, which lasted just 18 months in production and of which 11,213 examples were built, is well known around these parts for being a bit of an enigma. With just one in the UK, and three reported on Italian roads, it’s rarer than hen’s teeth, and far more interesting.
Although it’s a legend around here, there’s really not that much source material for it out there – which is what makes this launch film so fascinating. First thing to say, you’ll have to excuse it being in Italian, and without subtitles, but the content is well worth watching anyway. And if your Italian isn’t that great, don’t worry, because you’ll get most of it.
It’s a delightful film, that’s for sure. Starting in London, showing the recently launched Allegro in its natural habitat, it’s supposed to give you a sense of the British aesthetic. And that it does, with heavy traffic, Buckingham Palace and, in the midst of it all, a young driver showing off in her brown 1500 Super.
We’re in Italy and three ladies have themselves a trio of Regents to play with. What follows is a delightful drive through town and country, with a few stop offs along the way. The weather and scenery are lovely, and it’s refreshing to see something filmed in the 1970s that’s not too brown to contemplate.
Some of the stop offs are frankly baffling, with us seeing a wall get vandalised with the painted outline of a Regent and some measurements before a Mini is pushed in front to demonstrate the size of the thing (and it looks like it’s going to roll away). They then do the same to demonstrate the car’s footprint.
We’re also treated to the threesome of cars being driven enthusiastically on some fairly rough and dusty roads, evoking memories of Bill Treacher’s quarry drive in the UK launch film/advert for the Austin Allegro. Lovely!
The most bizarre act of them all is when the girls remove the bonnets of their cars and drive them along to show us the differences between the A-Series and E-Series engines. What an absolute joy to behold, and far more fun than the UK equivalent films.
And the tagline for the Innocenti Regent?
Linea Italiana, self control Inglese
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