Allegro Equipes are like buses, then – and I’m not referring to the gearbox whine (even if my old Allegro 1750 did used to sound a lot like the Leyland National that took me to school every morning as a nipper).
Three at once, though? According to Allegro Club Chairman Paul Vincent (left in the picture), that’s something that’s never been seen before, or certainly not in recent memory – until the Tatton Park Passion for Power Classic Car Show, Cheshire, on 16th August. The survival rate of Belgian-built Allegros is pretty low to begin with, because for some reason they lacked the durability and build quality for which the Longbridge models became respected. And no, I’m not joking in saying that – for all its foibles, how many Allegros have you seen that have withstood the ravages of 30-40 years motoring better than most of their contemporaries? It’s a well known fact that I have something of a soft spot for these cars but, bias aside, the survival rate is way better than many of its contemporaries.
Not the Belgian ones, though… I had a 1980 Allegro 1.3 from the Seneffe plant and, aside from its frustratingly hard to find Cibie headlamps, it also had sills made from cereal boxes and rot in places I didn’t know it was possible to corrode. I can only assume they left the CKD kits out on deck when they shipped them across the English Channel… all of which makes three side-by-side Equipes even more of a rarity.
Paul Vincent’s car (top) is even more of a curiosity as it has never been restored. It’s far from perfect, but it’s surprisingly solid and probably the only Equipe in existence that hasn’t seen the business end of a welder or spray gun. The other two are full-on restorations, and stunning cars for it. Nathan Penny (middle) bought his Equipe a few years ago, at which point it was white and had been partially restored. Much blood, sweat and tears later, and it’s a cracker. Dave Smart’s car (bottom) was bought new by his grandfather in 1980 and Dave has fully rebuilt it.
If you’re bowled over by the sight of three Equipes together (why shouldn’t you be?) and are tempted to try out British Leyland’s hot should-have-been-a hatch, then the exciting news is that Nathan Penny’s car is for sale. Restored in 2012, Nathan is only selling it due to an imminent new arrival in the family, and the need to convert the Equipe’s garage into an extra bedroom. Kids, eh?
If you’re genuine, Nathan lives in Lancashire and is looking for offers around £4000. Call him on 07775 835858.