With all this talk about 1979 and the upheaval of British Leyland following the election of a new Government, I couldn’t help but wonder how things might have been if the Honda deal had fallen through and we hadn’t had the Acclaim. I’m pretty sure we would have had to have do with a Metro with a boot…
That’s why, when the first Acclaim came into the Longbridge Studio, we all breathed a sigh of relief – the styling was bland and the interior was a sea of black plastic, but build and ride were tens or hundreds of times better than anything out of our Engineering Department at the time. Admittedly, despite its awkward metamorphosis into a Triumph, using just a badge and a selection of new trims, colours and seats, it was never going to beat the Escort… but the Acclaim did, at least, save us from another Riley Elf/Wolseley Hornet.
The sketch for the ‘Melftro’, with wheel designs inspired by the AR logo and Fiat Strada, was far more endearing than the actual product by Roger Tucker, but I was too young to have a chance to try out my ideas.