Keith Adams lifts the lid on the little-known ADO76 project – Cowley’s early look at replacing the MGB.
This styling sketch is all we’ve uncovered so far, but it offers a fascinating insight into how the company wanted to inject some Italian style into the MG line-up.
ADO76: When MG met Michelotti
Until 2010, AROnline listed the ADO76 project as a rubber-bumpered version of the MGB, but in essence there was much more to it than that. Moves were afoot at both MG in Abingdon and Pressed Steel-Fisher (PSF) in Cowley to produce something with a clear 1970s style for the upcoming decade. Sadly, that never happened and, in the event, the end result was no more than the addition of some (stylish?) rubber bumpers to the MGB.
The ADO76 programme was run in PSF in Cowley, as well as Abingdon and Longbridge – and here is one of the ideas that was touted during the early stages of its development between 1968 and 1969. The idea was for Skunk Works in Swindon to create an MGB replacement based on a Michelotti-styled design. The main detail changes over the outgoing MGB would have been the following:
- A longer front end including a new grille and lamp surrounds.
- A ‘faster’ screen rake angle
- A completely new rear end including a new lamps arrangement.
- A ‘wrap over’ ‘B’ pillar ‘targa’ top including either removable or hinged glass roof panels (a la Tomcat).
The project was run by Don Hayter at MG Abingdon and Dave Osman at PSF and, according to one Engineer involved in the ADO76 programme, this was a codename which was never applied to the Federalised MGB. However, another source says that it was an all-encompassing programme that did include it.
As ever, we’d like to hear more information and, if you know more, please email.