Auction Watch : H&H, Buxton, 24 May

Keith Adams

Austin Allegro on sale at H&H's next auction
Austin Allegro on sale at H&H's next auction

H&H Auctions is going through something of a reinvention in 2012, with a new man at the top, and a new corporate identity. But its popular Buxton Pavillion Gardens sales will always remain a mainstay – and are well worth a look if you’re in the market for a ‘new’ classic. For its upcoming sale there on 24 May, the auction house has amassed a couple of beauties that should get AROnline readers chomping at the bit…

The first is a 1993 Rover Metro Rio, which is in what you might want to call ‘timewarp’ condition. It has reportedly had just two registered keepers from new, and is showing an unwarranted 8655 miles on the odometer. It is being sold complete with stamped service book, history file and MoT into January 2013, and must be well worth a look for anyone who fancies enjoying that ‘as new’ smell in a 1990s Rover. Estimate is £2000-3000, but as a few ‘barn find’ Metros have found their way out of the woodwork recently, it might struggle to reach this price – but then, ultra-low mileage cars are so difficult to value realistically.

Next up is a charming series 2 Austin Allegro that’s come straight from the Coventry Transport Museum. The 1500 Special has been driven just 6751 miles in the hands of its one and only careful private owner before being passed to the museum. It’s been on display since 1993, and as you can imagine has barely been used since – its last tax disc is dated 1998. Given that, it’s being sold with no reserve and on the basis that it’s a project car that needs fully recommissioning. Definitely worth a look if you’re an Allegro fan – and let’s face it, who isn’t?

Keith Adams


  1. Both these examples look like a couple of beauties for their ages. The basic appearance of the Allegro’s engine bay shows how much has changed in Automotive technology in the last few decades.

    Showing my age, when I say I remember the launch of the Allegro in the 70s. I drove an Allegro hire car in 1978 and it wasn’t all bad.

  2. H&H need’s another management shuffle if it thinks somebody is going to splash 3k on the Metro…

  3. Yes, BOTH are lovely examples but I really did think ‘wow!!’ to the Allegro. Made me think ‘were they really that bad; did they deserve all the criticism and joking?’.

  4. The Allegro looks very comfortable. I think that the styling for the Metro looks very contemporary.

  5. Just because a car is old and in good condition doesn’t mean it’s any good. The word “classic” is over used. in my view for anything to be called “classic” with whatever prefix or suffix the car had to be desireable at some time. Which rules out any Allegro.

    The Metro is slightly different because having looked old fashioned and outclassed, for years, some of the really small cars we are seeing seem to look similar to the Metro. A late Metro (or Rover 100) had an interesting engine and a decent gear box. Classic though? Nah!

  6. I know somemone who is not an allegro fan, and has written words to that effect, on this site.. many times! in the words of the KP friers.. ‘it’s a potato’

  7. The Metro has no hope of making £3K. Anyone interested in buying a tidy example of an R100 need only to spend a few weeks trawling some sites e.g. trovit \ gumtree \ ebay \ metropower and finally metro owners club they will find one for £400 – £6oo or maybe £700. If they want one with low mileage, tidy interior and rusty wheel arches, there are plenty. You may have to travel but they are out there. Re the estimate, auctioneer is only doing his\ her job, working for the vendor not the purchaser. I will be surprised, no astounded if it makes £1K. Agree with Mike B on the size of current cars but disagree on the classic status. The R100 is a long way from acheiving this but MK1 MG’s — definitely a classic.(in my eyes, while owning a 1983 Y reg)

  8. @Mike Bushell

    I’ve already blogged about the application of the term ‘classic’ to too many old cars, and how there should be more thought put into categorising them – like in Europe and the rest of the world.

    Whether the Allegro deserves the appellation ‘Classic’ is open to debate (I think not), but while we’re using the term as a catch-all, then it’s right to do so.

  9. Here in Spain there is alot of classic car snobbery in the clubs between the TR3/MGA and Morgan brigade and the sneered upon Seat 600/850 and Renault drivers. My local club “president” told me he wants to seperate the “real” classics from the “coches viejos” (merely old cars)as he thinks they lower the tone at the shows! I replied I was thinking of bringing my MG Metro mk1 along instead of my older metal this summer and he hasn’t spoken to me since. I’ve been relegated from prize “amigo ingles” to peasant status!

  10. Jeepers, wish I was in the UK with a nice big garage…these two would find their way into my own mini musuem! Of course, they’d get driven in a pampered way for a couple of thousand miles a year.

    Or maybe I could get the Allegro shipped over to Aus &…

    This looks like a fascinating auction place; any chance of showing other tin on offer, not just BL stuff? I’d like to drool some more!

  11. ‘Classic’ or not, the Allegro has never floated my particular boat. The example in the pics above reminds me of why – the bogey green paint (with mis-matched door), brown velour interior and generally frumpy appearance would have been enough to put me off even when they were plentiful and cheap.
    Each to their own though – and I hope this survivor does find a good home.

  12. Well I like Allegros. Especially the mark 1s. My father had a 1300 SDL in orange and it was brilliant. Have always had a particular weakness for the 1750 sport special. To me the series 2 and 3 versions, although technically better, gradually lost the series 1 resolved looks and special details.

  13. @KC 9
    Now that wedge is a beauty! I can finally see what Harris Mann was trying to achieve after all this time. I learnt to drive in my dad’s Wolesly version. Great fun to punt around untill one of the front wheels fell off over a hump back bridge in Leics, and I ditched it! Great reg number I remember, LUV 2P. Anyone still own it?

  14. Nice to see once derided orphans of the British carmaking industry being taken care for so well. I don’t want to go into the ‘wotsaclassicandwotsnot’-discussion but it’s good to such cars preserved. It’s the same over here in Holland: now when I see an Opel Kadett C-series for instance, I’m happy, because you don’t see them every day anymore…
    And I love the Princess! Wish I lived in the UK and had the money to buy it.

  15. Summer 1974 I worked at Butlins’ Filey. The boat train Harwich-Liverpool Street was unbelievably dirty and looked like it was built by George Stephenson himself. The: ‘Íntercity’ (ahem) Kings Cross-Newcastle broke down on the way. Í was told BR stood for: ‘Bloody Rotten’. The: ‘holiday homes’ (ahem again) at Butlins’ would not have been considered as fit for the housing of pigs in Holland. A newspaper read: ‘Austin Allegro with aggro’. But I had a very good holiday and can’t remember that I laughed so much ever again. The UK was clearly rotten in a material sense, but the people were great!

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