Video : Innocenti Regent launch presentation

Innocenti Regent video

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.

Cut to…

Innocenti Regent

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!

Innocenti Regent launch video

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

Innocenti Regent video

Keith Adams

14 Comments

    • I don’t know how they did it, but it somehow looks immensely better while also looking exactly the same. It looks sharper, less bulbous, and pretty neat inside too. Coming down the hill at the 11:00 mark or so it even looks magnificent. Maybe it’s the paintwork? Or the white side indicators?

      Either way it does go to show that the Allegro was a so nearly there design. It looked like a blobby dumpy mess to begin with but having seen this video, insignificant tweaks would have made it so much more desirable. There was nothing wrong with the drive (I understand that was actually quite good for the day), only the presentation.

  1. Somehow the Italian cars have a more exotic look than the British ones which can appear dowdy. Even though they are the same design. Maybe it’s the sunshine maybe it’s the colours. It’s weird.

  2. A fascinating time-warp film.

    And it makes me feel old to realise that the three girls will now be in their 70s.

  3. The Innocenti version looks so much better – with just minor changes, the Matt Black Grill and all white sidelights/indicators. Did no one at Longbridge notice? – The car could have been transformed for tuppence hapeny

    • BL managed to do something similar with the Marina in the late 1970s, fitting a smarter grille & some other tweaks transformed it almost as much as the Ital did a few years later, especially if they were painted in a sensible colour.

  4. The film was made in 1973, the year Paul Mc. released his LP “Band on the Run”. It was also the year that the last On the Buses offering came out–Holiday on the Buses. Yes, the girls (I suppose I would be arrested now if I were to call them “birds”) are in their seventies and virtually all of these Innocenti Regents no longer exist. We now live in a less “innocenti” world where nasty “fossil fuel” cars are something to be viewed with contempt by the “politically correct”. I wouldn’t mind a time machine (petrol-powered?) to take me back in time for a while, to re-experience a time that is but a distant memory. The closest that you can come to that, realistically, is to get out your copy of Band on the Run, dust it, and play it. “Well the rain exploded with a mighty crash…”

    • Funny how you big up Band On The Run by the oh so Green Paul MacCartney but then spoil things by sticking a load of textbook bootlicker to the rich guff.

      I reckon you would get a nasty surprise if you did travel back to 1973, which seems a less than innocent time for most people.

      • To Cathode: hard to understand what you babling about, old boy…but you certainly seem to have got out on the wrong side of the bed! Take a deep breath out in a park, smell the roses, and detoxify yourself of all the negativity bubbling inside of you, and it will lower your blood pressure and extend your life.

  5. I do like the two-tone paint on two of the three Italian cars. Red with black glass-house. Dark blue/black with white glass-house. Something I now associate with the contemporary small Audi A1.

  6. What a fantastic film! One thing I noticed is that there are no seatbelts fitted. I know people didn’t wear them then but it would be better to have the choice. If they weren’t legislated for however, the beancounters would have deleted them pronto. Side repeaters fitted though I see!

  7. What a wonderful film, using rather lovely ladies to distract from the cars I see – must have gone down very well with the Italians. I hope Innocenti dealt with the horrid body boom and flex, it looks as though the film cars had their Hydrolastic pumped up pretty high, must have over-stressed those floppy car bodies on the bad roads!

    Once the mess of Innocenti was cleared from BL Italia, they then took basic Allegro’s with a twin-carb 998cc engine and flogged them really cheap (records now lost). Italians were expert at extracting the last ounce of power and revs from the smallest of engines and the result was a beefed up water pump bearing and a proper timing chain tensioner. But still floppy bodies and excessive NVH. A sort of modern 2CV.

  8. More than a passing resemblance to the film The Italian Job there! (At 6’23” someone does seem to have blown the bladdy doors off!)
    Incredible to see the Quartic steering wheel even made it to the Innocenti model, although it seems to be a bit broader and leather trimmed.

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