Concepts and Prototypes : Austin AR16 (1984-1985)

Central to Austin Rover’s plans for the late-1980s and into the ’90s was a fresh-looking replacement for the under-performing Montego. There were many promising design proposals, but the AR16 and 17 looked like viable propositions – smart mini-Rover 800s.

Here’s the full story behind their conception.

Austin AR16/AR17: The real Montego replacement

AR16/17 was designed to slot in below the Rover 800, replacing the Austin Montego. The saloon (above) was known as AR17, and the fastback, the AR16…
AR16/17 was designed to slot in below the Rover 800, replacing the Austin Montego. The saloon (above) was known as AR17, and the fastback, the AR16…

After arriving at BL in the winter months of 1981, Roy Axe knew that little short of a complete overhaul of the entire Austin-Rover range would be required to return the company to profitability by the late 1980s. Harold Musgrove had achieved a near-miracle by getting the Metro, then the Maestro/Montego onto the marketplace, given finite Government backing.

They were competitive, but Axe (and his styling team) were well aware that there were styling weaknesses with the M-cars. The first big project had been the Rover 800 – a joint Honda/Rover project (known as XX) that introduced a sharper new design language to Longbridge and Cowley, via the Canley styling studios.

Extending the 800’s styling

However, once underway, Project XX would be joined by a family of crisply styled cars, ranging from the promising AR6 supermini through the AR8 family hatchback (that would become the familiar Rover R8), via the medium-sized AR16/17, to the executive-class 800.

As explained by Stephen Harper, the author of the sketch below, the AR16 was an interesting project undertaken at Canley. ‘Before the Rover 600, back in 1982, a Honda-based car below the Rover 800 was developed under the codename AR16. This is an original sketch of the Austin ‘600’, a replacement for what we called the “Embarrasor” [Ambassador – Ed].’

The image below is clearly interesting for a number of reasons:

  • There was still plenty of confidence in the Austin name in the early-1980s, with the Montego-class motor retaining the marque name.
  • The original AR plan was to abandon the capable LM10/11 underpinnings in favour of Honda-based technology.
  • AR knew that to remain competitive in the fleet market, it needed a hatch and a saloon offerings, like Vauxhall Cavalier and Ford Sierra.

The Austin flourish

Stephen Harper's design sketch promised an advanced-looking mid-liner
Stephen Harper’s design sketch promised an advanced-looking mid-liner

The all-British AR16 design continued to flourish throughout 1984 and ’85, and soon, full-size clay models of the entire range were produced at Canley. As all cars were based on the Montego, they featured the same, sound, suspension layout.

But a lengthened wheelbase allowed the team to build a more balanced looking car – with heavy Rover 800 overtones. The engine lineup was to include the S-Series 1.6-litre engine (a straight Montego/Rover 216 carry-over), the 2.0-litre O-Series, and the M16 2-litre 16-valve unit, which was to eventually lead a short life before being replaced by the T-Series.

Like the Montego (and unlike the Rover 800), the AR16/17 was also conceived with an estate car version in mind and, as can be seen from the image below, this car looked like a very practical proposition indeed. The car was touted for a 1988-’89 launch, by which time, the Montego would have been ready to be put out to pasture.

From Austin to Rover – and the end

During 1985, the AR16/17 dropped its Austin branding and became a fully-fledged member of the Rover family, becoming the 400-Series. As 1985 wore on, it became clear that there were future funding issues at Austin Rover, and the project lost it impetus.

Although the Montego was under-performing on the market, and profits from this car were sadly lacking, it was considered competent enough by senior management – who were being hamstrung by the lack of funding now coming from the Government – to soldier on into the late-1980s with a facelift, along with the AR16/17’s M-Series engine option.

That would become the AR9 (above) and, in turn, even that project was watered down into what became the MY88.5 facelift (below). But by then, the management new broom of 1986 led by Graham Day knew that Rover’s mid-range future lay in the collaborative venture with Honda.

The project officially died in November 1988, according to a report in The Engineer magazine.

The AR family laid bare

AR5 Rover 213/216 replacement
Scheduled for a 1989 launch, but was cancelled in favour of the Honda- based AR8 (see below), which served as a replacement for both the Maestro and the Rover 213/216.
Dev: 1984-1985
AR6 Metro replacement
All-new supermini styled by Gerry McGovern and others under the direction of Roy Axe, incorporating K-Series engine and steel suspension. Abandoned when it became clear that there were not enough company funds to finance its development. Replaced by the R6.
Dev: 1984-1986
AR7 Maestro replacement
Engineered in-house and scheduled for a 1990 launch, this car was cancelled in 1985 in favour of the Honda-based AR8.
Dev: 1984-1985
AR8 Rover 214/216
Renamed version of the Honda YY. Renamed R8 in 1988.
Dev: 1986-1988
AR9 Roverised Montego
A lower-cost Montego replacement conceived after the AR16/17 plan was abandoned.
Dev: 1986-1988
AR16 Sub-800 five-door hatchback
Counterpart to the four-door AR17, both of which were based on the LM10 platform.
Dev: 1984-1985
AR17 Sub-800 four-door saloon
Counterpart to the five-door AR16, both of which were based on the LM10 platform.
Dev: 1984-1985


Gallery: several stages of AR16/17 evolution

AR17 estate - or Rover 420 - looked potentially cavernous...
AR17 estate – or Rover 420 – looked potentially cavernous…
Stephen Harper design sketch
Stephen Harper design sketch
The Austin branding in this image promises a bright future for the marque
The Austin branding in this image promises a bright future for the marque
Advanced and sporting looking interior
Advanced and sporting looking interior
went from paper to clay with few changes
It went from paper to clay with few changes
Design framework looked promising
Design framework looked promising
Four themes and the buck, which is about to receive clay
Four themes and the buck, which is about to receive clay
1985, interior is looking more traditional, but digital instruments look promising
By 1985, interior is looking more traditional, but digital instruments look promising
Austin AR16: Mostly familiar to AROnline readers...
Austin AR16: Mostly familiar to AROnline readers…
AR17 saloon looks promisingly wedgy - a nice bridge between the SD3 and Rover 800
AR17 saloon looks promisingly wedgy – a nice bridge between the SD3 and Rover 800
AR16 hatchback would have provided stiff opposition to the Sierra and Cavalier at its 1988 launch date
AR16 hatchback would have provided stiff opposition to the Sierra and Cavalier at its 1988 launch date
Although badged 216SE, this would have been an interesting 416
AR17 saloon had simple rear styling, and wraparound rear window hints at Montego
Although badged 216SE, this would have been an interesting 416
Although badged 216SE, this would have been an interesting 416
Keith Adams


  1. I actually like the look of these AR16 mock ups – especially in saloon form. The red Austin badged image has similarities to the late 80’s Honda Accord Aerodeck to me.

    It seems to me that ARG had plenty of ideas & design potential back then that many of the general public dont appreciate.

  2. Yet another “what could of been…if only the money was there ! ” Imagine if Stephen Harpers futuristic 1982 Design made it to production, The Jelly Mould Sierra would have had less of hard time and by 85-86 this Design could of just breezed onto the market though not sure the Citroen style half covered rear wheel arch would of made it, However would of been more interesting than the mk2 Cavalier and amazed it was produced as a mock up !, So it must of been taken quite seriously .

    Quite like the dashboard design even though the switches are in the usual scattered Honda style, perhaps it was still intended to be a Ronda joint venture? whilst the other toned down designs although better looking than the Montego?, still dont quite look right (to me) as the A17 appears like a “B”stard love child between the 213 and 800, whilst A17 hatchback resembles the original front wheel drive Toyota Corolla E80 Liftback (remember them? there is a picture on Wikipedia ) which looks a bit awkward, though am sure the styling would been changed had the Design progressed, However the Estate looks nice.

  3. Personally, I would have badged the AR16/17 as either Rover 500 or Rover 600 since it would have made a better rival for the Cavalier / Sierra, while allowing the R8 Rover 400 to compete in the Belmont / Orion / Jetta class where it belonged to begin with.

    I quite like the look of the fastback (a 3-door fastback coupe would have made a nice Calibra rival) though imo the rear window / D-pillar would of still needed some work prior to entering production, I would assumed that it would of eventually been powered by K-Series engines (including V6s from Honda like in the 800) but what about on the Diesel front?

    Would the AR16/17 have been powered by the 2.0 Perkins Prima (a carry-over from the Montego) or would it have ended up being powered by either the 2.5 VM Motori (like in the Rover 800) or the PSA XUD (like in the Rover 200/400 R8 but possibly including the 2.1 XUD11)?

  4. I find it more and more unbelievable when you see cars like that. What on earth were Rover thinking to pass them over? This care was spookily like the JV R8 that would follow it, but this would have been an in-house affair and as a result, more profitable. They look very good, almost all of the mules above would not have looked out of place in a showroom, and a classy showroom at that! What a damn shame. As much as I love trawling through this site for all the wonders it keeps, this stuff just makes me really sad to think those people running the show were so remiss in their duties/capabilities to let so many missed opportunities pass them by. Look at the Ad077 page and that’s just another one only 10 years earlier. Never has a company has such continuous promise and yet had such continuous and blatant disregard for it… I could cry I really could (I won’t; I’ll have a beer instead)

  5. As early as 1990 they could have had a complete Rover range
    R8 200 – Posh Escort
    R8 400 – Posh Orion
    Ar16/17 – Posh Sierra/Sapphire
    800 – About as posh as a Granada/Scorpio

    Given the R8 was the most profitable car BMC/BL/ARG etc probably ever made, you can imagine what a money spinner a properly co-ordinated range like this could have been. Ford was at a low ebb in the early 90s, the Cavalier was starting to age and Rover could have cleaned up. On top of that the AR16/17 would have been all Rovers own work – so no financial kick backs to Honda required.

    • It doesn’t need to be posh. It just needs not to be an Orion. A Briggs and Stratton powered farm cart with terminal wood worm would be better than an Orion.

  6. I’ve been looking at this article again. The AR16/17 were absolutely sound proposals. They looked so right and fitted so well – AR6, R8, AR16/17, XX. All on the market by 1990 and I’m sure that would have been the company saved.
    If those holding the purse strings had understood better…..

    • I suspect that “those with the purse strings” by the late ‘80s had bigger fish to fry.

      Think of the macro picture. Nissan Toyota and Honda had been lured to set up shop in the UK which at the time was a massive gamble. Sunderland was starting to become a serious exporter. How would they have reacted to the UK government turning around and directly financing a competitor? There was also the Single Market Act being negotiated – came in 92. State aid to national champions was becoming illegal and the UK was trying to take a moral high ground.

      • As usual, the UK stood by those rules, but no one else did, PSA, Renault FIAT and so on, up to Porsche in more recent times had hand outs to keep them afloat or “help out”, and how much money was given to Nissan, Honda and Toyota to get them into the UK, and to keep them here, even Nissan were given a multi million hand out to keep them in the UK only a couple of years, ago…. If the idiots in government and the IDIOTS that ran the company back then had a clue, really, how could they have not gone ahead with these, bugger the finance, just spend it, and worry later, they all do, and then reap the rewards, this country is great at so many things, but the treatment of this company when it was at the apex of greatness, yes greatness, was just WRONG.

        • The government had tried pouring money into propping up Leyland for years and the company remained a dead dog. Yes other countries put money into the likes of PSA and Porsche – but these where properly managed companies that spent the money handed to them wisely. Just look at how PSA has morphed into Stellantis – a real global power house. The men who gave us the Maestro and Montego could never have managed that!

      • Actually the rot was set in the Oil crisis of the 70s and then a PM who hated all but private enterprise, in the 80s!

  7. This looks a really good car and some of the sketches make the Montego replacement look Citroen like. Also I’d imagine by 1988 all the quality issues would have been resolved and this could have been a really big seller.

  8. I know the cost of getting a car into production is obviously huge – all the tooling etc. This massive cost is often why prototypes never become more than that. However, I often wonder just what the cost of the prototype is? I realise that often they will be incomplete, maybe with existing running gear, but who makes, what is the cost of so many ‘one-off’ parts ?

  9. Interesting that these cars seem to have been at quite an advanced design stage in 1985, only 1 year after the Montego launched. Suggests ARG realised the Montego was a dog from day 1. Comments made by Roy Axe would also seem to confirm this. A real pity that the Maestro/Montego had done so much damage that the company lacked the confidence and resources to press ahead with this car.

    • Yes, I was surprised that the design was so advanced just a year after Montego’s launch.

      I often wonder how on earth a state funded product led recovery was not generous enough to allow Montego to be a separate design from Maestro. Who the hell thought the company could possibly recover without a really competitive offering in the rep-mobile market?

      That said, I do still have a liking for Montego.

  10. The Montego / Maestro could’ve been tidied up further with the facelift by simply filling in the scalloped sides.

    Give the Montego a solid C pillar, rather than the stepped window arrangement, it would also give the car the look of solidity – something not lost on VW with their Golf/Jetta rivals. (Indeed, it could be taken further, lose the 3rd side window on the Maestro!)

  11. If AR had stopped doing so many half jobs and concentrated on seeing the job through, perhaps they would still be around today. So much time and effort for little reward.

  12. Had this hit the market in 1988, it would have meant the the Montego could have been pensioned off instead of dying a slow death into the nineties. With Graham Day at the helm, this good looking car would probably have been sorted from the start and would really have taken the fight to Ford and Vauxhall.

  13. Steven Harper’s sketches of AR17 looked very futuristic, but strangely the typeface used for “Austin” branding looked very 1950s

  14. ARG could have had this range of cars in production by the mid- to late-80s if the long-term funding was there but it wasn’t.

    That was the last of the big problems that had crippled the BMC=>ARG companies for decades. Governments cannot see longer than the next election so unless you have a different mind-set about these things, like the French somehow managed, you’re living hand-to-mouth…

    You would have thought it would have got better when the remnants of the British Car Industry were finally sold off but British Aerospace had a 5-year sell-on option, the consequences of which quickly became apparent with prototype build phases being delayed until the proceeds of the sale of another part of Canley came available.

    BMW had their priorities and couldn’t get their financial heads around not making 23% IRR on any car (unless it was a 3-Ser Compact).

    Ford did pretty well but didn’t manage to integrate large Land Rovers and any Ford SUVs onto a common platform, as T5 was meant to. They did sort out the EUCD platform which spawned Freelander2 alongside multiple Fords and Volvos, and of course underpins the profitable Evoque and Discovery Sport, both developed after Ford panicked (who can blame them?) at the impending global financial meltdown of 2008/9 and sold JLR to Tata.

    Finally Tata’s long-term financial planning, and deep pockets have allowed JLR to develop forward product- and technology- strategies that gives the company the best chance of profitability and growth.

    • I’m not aware of any European carmaker in living memory actually having its model plan funded by direct taxpayer grants. Renault was government owned but self financing. BL received a billion in the 70s which was almost as big as the entire IMF bailout of the UK. You can’t call really that short term. It’s not the government’s fault they blew it, good styling for Maestro would not have cost any more. Today’s Focus and Mondeo share a platform so it can be done.

      Realistically ARG had two chances for success in the mass market – make LC10 a winner, or if that failed sell the whole car side of the operation to Ford in about 1984.

      If the above proposals were bankable then ARG wouldn’t have needed to go to the government to finance them. They’re nice looking cars but the mid market by then was crowded and cut throat, and there was basically no export opportunity, better to put the money into Land rover. British short termism is a bit of a myth IMHO. Tata have studiously avoided building a Golf or Mondeo competitor.

      • If the Montego was more reliable, it could have become as popular as the Cavalier. This was a conservatively styled car, again to tempt buyers over from the too radical Ford Sierra, at last had the same engine sizes as its rivals, had everything from a 1.3 poverty model to an MG Turbo, and was a decent car to drive. Yet the terrible reliability of the Austin era cars saw buyers desert the Montego in droves, and when it did come good in 1988 with a mild facelift, a huge improvement in quality and a turbodiesel version, it was too late. Similarly the Maestro, which boasted the biggest interior in its class and a huge range of models, was blighted by poor quality in its early yeara.

  15. Suppose this landed on the booming car market in 1988 as a replacement for the underwhelming Montego with its Rover like styling, hatchback option, Honda engines for reliability, a turbodiesel version, and upmarket interior. I reckon the AR 17 would have sold very well in its class as it looks light years ahead of the Cavalier and the Sierra and the upmarket interior fittings could have tempted buyers over from the Audi 80.

    • Agreed, Glenn. In 1988, I’m sure it would have been a real hit. A cut above mass market rivals as per R8.

      • Sadly the AR16 never made it into production, but had it gone ahead, would have been a big seller as the 200 and 400 proved a well made and upmarket product could sell in big numbers. Also by 1988 with the eighties boom at its peak, private buyers were moving away from Ford and Vauxhall to aspirational brands like Audi and BMW and the AR16 could have done well in this sector as well as with company car drivers.

  16. This is the sort of “shot themselves in the foot” that can only be done properly with a 15-inch naval gun.
    Talk about seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.
    I also noticed the 1940s Austin badge, I suspect because most of the older employees thought it was still 1947 and that the boilermakers union was still valid..
    If these had been sold how would history have been different? The high end and/or advanced Rovers with hybrids, the simpler Austins, A resurrected Riley with high performance AWD/RWD diesel electric hybrids, with open modifiable & tunable management systems…
    Even the most gormless politician couldn’t fail to see that these cars were a very good bet.. It makes me wonder if they ever saw them?

    • “Even the most gormless politician couldn’t fail to see that these cars were a very good bet.. It makes me wonder if they ever saw them?

      I suspect, Jemma, they did see them. Saw that they were a better long term bet than increased reliance on Honda, but went for the cheaper option ie Honda.

      • I also wonder how many brown envelopes changed hands, or how many off shore accounts got fatter. It’s a real shame, we’d have spared the clubfoot and it’s ilk, if these had been successful – there’s even a good possibility BMW would have gone bust too if I remember right, always a nice thought to go to sleep on.

      • We had a Tory government then as well. They where a bunch of incompetent useless bone idle wastes of skin with nothing but contempt for this country and its citizens as well (although there wasn’t 50000 excess deaths on their watch). The British must be a nation of absolute masochists with the memory span of a goldfish to keep voting them in.

  17. As for the interior pics… To paraphrase..

    “happiness is the same buttons in the same place!”

    A touchscreen on a laptop is a sensible idea, ditto a smartphone , a touchscreen for major driver controls is that of which Darwin Awards are made of. I wonder if it’s possible to go back in recent history, find the pointy haired boss that ok’d the first one and put him on trial for crimes against pedestrians, humanity & not least, common sense.

  18. AR16 was an appealing product. The funny thing with LM11 is that by 1988 it really wasn’t old, it just “felt” older than its 4 years.

    After ADO77 it feels like the second time when BL/ARG failed to launch a promising mid range car and ended up with a gap in their range as a result, with the R8 400 being too small and the 600 being too niche to be a viable Mondeo/Vectra competitor.

  19. They didn’t have the money to do it themselves and I doubt Honda would allow them to make such a large variation of a Honda based platform purely for their own use. Or if they did the royalties would have been crippling see Rover 600.

    Honestly their best bet of making these cars a reality would have been to get in bed with Ford back in the mid 80s and make a case for design autonomy with Roverised posh versions of Ford platforms perhaps with Kseries engines. It would have given Ford a British equivalent of Audi starting from a much larger base than jaguar and may have saved both Dagenham and longbridge, everything else was fantasy.

  20. The AR16 was to be based on a shorten 800 platform – which Rover owned as a jointly developed programme with Honda – so it would not have cost anything but development. This was the same situation that saw the 200 be spawned from the R8.
    However as Honda was not involved – and GD saw everything that wasn’t Honda as too costly – it was scrapped which is a shame as it could have been great competitor in the market place and if correctly executed like the R8 it could have made Rover enough profits to be a proper partner to Honda and not the parasite it became.

  21. Looking at that rearward shot of the AR17 estate, from certain angles it reminds me of the new generation Volvo V70 that arrived in 2001.

    Was Steve Harper involved in the design of the Volvo V70 or it is just a coincidence there is a slight similarity?

  22. Some Nice Ideas For A New Production Car The AR16/AR17 But The Dashboard Moulding Looks Very Familiar Oh Yes Straight Out Of The R8 Generation 200 Series My Late Father Had 2 R8 200 Generation Models A H Plate He Had It From 1990-1994 Then He Had The R8 Grille Version An N Plate From Sep 1995 Until March 1999 When He Switched Brands & Bought a Mark 1 Ford Focus 1.8 LX But as Others Have Said What A Missed Opportunity But We Know Who To Blame For That The BL/Austin Rover Board When Not Taking Enough Gamble With New Projects & Too Much Reliance On Honda Components.

  23. Not as stylish as AR16, but that AR9 Montego facelift is a much nicer looking car than the original, a shame the original car didn’t look like that (i.e. without the scallops and with a properly sorted 3rd side window)

  24. The Montego was let down by never having a hatchback, whilch reduced sales against rivals like the Cavalier. The AR16 would have addressed this problem and brought the Montego styling up to date. I wonder as well if the Montego name would have been dropped in favour of AR16, as Rover was moving away from names towards numbers in the late eighties, and the Montego was a tarnished brand. Also retaining Austin for the 1.6 litre models and MG for the 2 litre cars would have made sense.

  25. If you look at combined maestro/monte go sales in UK year by year you’ll see there not far of what tha cavalier achieved, it’s home sales weren’t that bad, it was its export performance that was rather lacking.

    • @ Rob, the Maestro and Montego were in different sectors of the market and both were a distant third to their rivals from Ford and Vauxhall. Also by 1986, there were British built Peugeots and Nissans snapping at the heels of the M cars and taking sales among patriotic buyers.
      Incidentally, I don’t think the Peugeot 309 has ever been covered on AR Online. This was the car that rejuvenated the old Talbot/ Chrysler factory in Coventry, proved the factory could make a competent product that sold, and was quite a decent car for the time. However, this was outshone by the excellent Peugeot 405 that really buried the memory of Talbot.

      • The 309 was so dowdy though wasn’t it? I recall a consultant at the hospital where I worked had a GTi . In bright red with the big alloys it didn’t look half bad but the lower spec cars were real plain janes.

  26. @Standhill, plain Jane or not, the 309 is a highly under-rated car. ARG management can only have looked on in dismay as Peugeot managed to shift 1.6 million of them in 8 years while Maestro and Montego only did around 600,000 each in 11 and 10 years respectively.

    Obviously a fan site like this will take a rose-tinted view but the sad truth is that BL-ARG’s serial ability to launch underwhelming volume car products like Maxi, Allegro, Marina, Maestro and Montego is the main reason why the company is no longer with us. Even Metro’s success was short lived and not properly followed up. The injection of showroom appeal and quality brought by Honda was welcomed by the market but was arguably already too late.

    • The 309 was a decent car and the diesels had a reputation for being almost unbreakable, Interestingly, base models used engines from the Talbot Horizon, but for some reason they seemed a lot quieter and the dreaded death rattle had been eliminated. Also the 309 and 405 saved the once troubled Ryton factory, which seemed rejuvenated when it started making Peugeots.

    • The 309 was very under-rated considering its origins. One can only imagine how it would have been received had it been part of the 205 Project from the outset, where presumably its exterior would have been an attractive composite of both the 205 and 405.

      • The other side of the coin was the 405, a classy looking car that motoring journalists loved and which reps in horrible Pinto engined Sierras prayed they would get as their next company car. Again being made in Britain meant fleets who liked to buy British had a very valid alternative to a Sierra or Cavalier.

  27. Indeed the 405 was a better car than the old Talbot Solara and a competitor to the Sierra & Cavalier in particular. A friend had a 1990 405 estate which was a good performer and big load carrier. I found a 405 1.6GL hire car very capable in the performance stakes.

    • @ richardpd, and into the noughties, with a few diesel estates being used as taxis due to their economy and durability. Also a local judo instructor had an M reg example well into the noughties as the 405 estate was ideal for carrying his equipment.

  28. You have to say these cars look good and show Roy Axe evolution of his “Alpine” styling, with big bumpers, big lights, lots of glass features.

    However we have to be realistic, good as they look they were going to be reskins of the LC10 so would have been adequate rather class leading performers.

    But more importantly we have to realistic about the economics of going head to head with major European and Global manufacturers, Austin Rover simply did not have a substantial dealer network outside the UK to able to sell these cars in the volumes necessary to make them profitable at a competitive price.

    This was why they needed to partner with Honda and drifted towards what became increasingly little more than sticking a bit of chrome and wood onto a Honda.

    • They might have not had the dealer network outside of the UK, however if the product was put together well and wasn’t a reliability issue that the M cars were, then there would have been interest from importers. Also, with a Rover badge they could charge a premium over the M cars, much as the R8 showed, which would mean break even point for sales would be less. Dynamically, if the engineers who turned the R8 into the 200 were around at the time, who knows if they would have improved the handling?

  29. It would surely not be beyond the ability of the engineers to have improved the dynamics of AR16/AR17 or as with the MG Metro Turbo get Lotus Engineering involved once more, since the latter did a few projects for Chrysler while under GM at that time.

    Am fascinated by whether the styling of AR16/AR17 would have filtered down to the Maestro replacing AR7 and 213/216 replacing AR5 projects under different circumstances, assuming they were to be derived from the Maestro with AR5 essentially being an Orion/Belmont saloon version of the former (unless both were somehow connected to AR6 via a inchoate modular upsizing scheme derived from the latter).

    Would Roy Axe have been able to turnaround both the Maestro and Montego styling wise had he arrived in 1978-1980 instead of 1981-1982 or was it still too late for him to achieve any more then he already did as far as last minute cosmetic changes go?

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