Concepts and Prototypes : ADO88/LC8 Metro engineering drawings

These Austin Metro prototype engineering drawings are very interesting, because they show how this clever little supermini evolved from the ADO88 to the LC8.

Although the two cars look very different, underneath they were pretty similar, and reveal how this car received an emergency pre-launch facelift.

The design concept as it makes its way to customer clinic testing
The design concept as it makes its way to customer clinic testing

Austin Metro prototype engineering drawings

A fascinating find uncovered – engineering drawings of the ADO88 and LC8 projects… The differences between the original car and the pre-launch facelift are clear to see – and the fact that these drawings of the ADO88 were produced at all clearly shows just how close to production it was…

Oh, and if you have images like this lurking in your collection and would like to share them, please get in touch

ADO88 technical drawings

The ADO88 so nearly made it into production – and would have been BL’s bargain basement supermini campaigner. Until a last minute change of heart…

As can be seen from these images, the engineering drawings were so detailed that it must have been weeks away from having the tooling built up.

We’ve seen plenty of images of the ADO88 elsewhere, and wonder who it would have fared against the opposition – would it have been more, or less, of a success than the Austin Metro?

Austin Metro prototype engineering drawings

Austin Metro prototype engineering drawings

Austin Metro prototype engineering drawings

Austin Metro prototype engineering drawings

LC8 technical drawings

The facelifted ADO88, which emerged as the Metro, looks a much more substantial car for its revamp but, as can be seen from the images below (and above), although lots of sheet metal changes were required for the metamorphosis, the underpinnings were left pretty much untouched.

Austin Metro prototype engineering drawings

Austin Metro prototype engineering drawings

Keith Adams


  1. I know the Metro’s tailgate was relatively steep for its day but the ADO88’s was even more so. Another example of ‘ahead of its time thinking’.

  2. As a mechanic / diy’er who spent time underneath my 10 years of ownership of an1982 Metro I think I recognise the floorpan being the same for both cars

    Late into development the Metro sides gained width in a change to the sides from flat to “cottage loaf” rounded. i guess it was too late floorpan to be altered nor the subframes etc which set the trackwidth of the front and rear wheels.

    This must be why the Metro had a lot of overhang over the wheels, the changes made the car appear to be overwidth for its wheels, I suppose the changes gave the car some useful extra ” elbow room ” for the occupants.

  3. The sill design appears to be different. The Metro won the Don safety award for it’s sill design I believe. Was the design changed?

  4. Real shame that BL didnt have the guts to let Roy Axe do a similar exercise with the Maestro/Montego – They needed this attention even more than ADO88 did!

    • To be honest Harris Manns design for the M cars was far nicer and would have not looked out of place. Unfortunately those at the helm could not see past David Bache and his SD1 design, and the reason why they kept a design frozen in 1977 for the early eighties.

  5. Realy interesting and revealing stuff. Does anybody know where these drawings came from and be accessed (BMM perhaps)?

    In particular, does anyone happen to know exactly what the Part No. for the Body Number Plate (on the o/s inner wing of the first LC8 drawing, ending 000101A) is (appears to be AFP 0287, but it’s a bit blurred), and if it is shared with other similar Rover Group models (e.g. Mini) as I need a replacement?

    Many thanks, S.

  6. ADO88 was originally chosen by Charles Griffin to get the project underway as the board were ummimg and arring about which should be chosen. ADO88 went through 2 prototype phases, SEP and FEP. SEPs were semi engineered prototypes, FEP were Fully Engineered Prototypes. The first 3 SEPs used gas springs for suspension which changed to hydroladtic from SEP 4. The quality of many outsourced parts such as subframes were really poor quality and we spent much time re welding and drilling key holes. It was a great dynamic programme with Charles Griffin spending each morning debriefing and talking through modifications with us. A really hands on engineering director.

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