Announcement : The time has come…

Keith Adams and his Allegro (2)

Here’s fair warning for you. After more than two decades of reporting on and collating the history of the British motor industry through the prism of British Leyland, it’s time to wind down AROnline. It’s been a fabulous experience putting this site together and building an invaluable archive – as well as putting right many urban myths about British Leyland along the way – but it’s time to move on.

Time and financial pressures have come to bear and, although we carry advertising to cover the cost of hosting the site, I don’t believe it’s of the quality you as readers deserve. And as such, I will be dropping these at the end of the month, but won’t be able to run the site at a loss. All the information on the site, and the authors’ original content copyright will revert to them.

I think the final straw that broke the camel’s back was a recent claim for copyright payments on a couple of images that were used in error on the site in the past. Hands up, I accept responsibility for this. It’s not the first time this has happened, and I’ve honoured these payments over time because I believe in creators being rewarded for their work – and we shouldn’t be in a situation where we operate like the Wild West when words and images can be shared with impunity. That’s what Facebook is for…

But it’s a stress I can do without in my life, especially as the site isn’t here to make a huge profit for anyone. In addition, my time is precious, I’m getting older, and I’m just not sure I have the energy to carry on feeding the monster forever and ever. And besides, there is so much material here that it’s highly unlikely it won’t be used elsewhere or disappear into the ether never to be seen again.

Anyway… The plan is to cease updates on the site from the end of November and do a content freeze from that point on before it’s closed at the beginning of 2024. It’s been quite a ride, and I imagine it’ll be a huge wrench moving on, and I am eternally grateful to everyone who has contributed to AROnline in the past, from the Designers and Engineers who retold their stories, to you the readers who have enjoyed the content and encouraged me to build this amazing resource over the years.

There’s lots to do before the end, though, and I’m sure there’s still some amazing stuff to root out of the archives for you to enjoy between now and then.

Keith Adams and his Allegro

Keith Adams
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94 Comments

  1. You will be missed and I would like to say thank you for the hours of interest you have provided over the years. I really do appreciate what you have done.
    Good luck

  2. Since more than twenty years your website provided a rich ressource to the British car world never available before in a country like Germany. I am tremendously thankful for your work which gave me so many happy hours in reading the features, news and stories. Although I drive a Volvo, I have a very soft spot for British cars. Stay well.

  3. I’m sorry the end is nigh though I’ll admit I’ve found the content a bit underwhelming recently. As for the advertising, it has made the site increasingly difficult to read being somewhat intrusive. It was great for many years but “all things must pass”, as somebody once said. Thanks for all your work over the years Keith.

  4. One suggestion: Download everything and make them chapters in a book. This information must be saved and must be available for future collectors, authors, historians and others.
    Also: Gutted. Just gutted to hear this.

  5. Sorry to hear this but understand the pressures of providing content, the occasional issue with ‘copyright’ goes with the territory I suppose.
    Thank you for providing such interesting and diverse information on a wide variety of British vehicles, associated people and their stories. Good luck with your future projects.

    • Thank you for all your work Keith, you have created a fantastic and unique site which has documented an important part of the history of the country.
      Thanks again and wishing you well for the future.

  6. Sad times and I for one will really miss this site. I discovered it around 20 years ago and have been fascinated by and really enjoyed consuming the information contained here ever since. This site really is a priceless resource!

    If there is a way to retain the site in read-only format for future generations then I’d be happy to make a contribution towards us cost.

    All the best Keith and thank you very much!!! 🙂

  7. Thanks for all your hard work Keith, it’s been a very useful and enjoyable resource. Hopefully all the information you have put together will be preserved in some useable form for the future. Good luck to you in whatever you now decide to do.

  8. Thank you so much for all the content and work, it has been a fascinating read and so much knowledge from all the contributers. It is quite understandable that in today’s needy society that more challenges would be presented to an innocent historic site. Best of luck and know that you have facilitated lots of interest in the British motor history.

  9. Firstly Keith thank you for providing a resource that has genuinely become a part of many of our lives. I have learned so much about Austin Rover and the BL empire and in particular about thrcRovers (SD1’s) and Triumphs (TR7’s) that are my passion. I do hope there is some way the site can continue, but not sure how. But again thanks to you and all your contributors.

  10. REALLY sorry to hear this. I’ve visited the site everyv day, maybe bar none, since it started -2001 I think. I remember Keith saying he wanted to create the definitive history of the British motor industry. Well that box is ticked, massively. Thank you so much.
    Is there anyway at all that it can be kept open, as a static site? The details on here are extraordinary and too valuable to lose. It must be worth someone’s while to buy it, sponsor it, crowd fund it?

  11. Very sorry to hear the news Keith- but you need to get your life back. I’ve never jumped into the shark infested pool of internet sites myself, but I have been full of admiration and appreciation for those like you who have done. Copyright pains have afflicted me too with my books from time to time – one time I used a couple of images given to me by someone who shall be nameless but had it transpired commissioned the photography from a professional photographer – no problem obviously with that – but this person had assured me that there would be no problem using the images – without actually asking the photographer. As a book is a static thing the photographer eventually discovered the images and slapped a big claim for their wrongful use to the publisher -who promptly paid and sliced a lump of my not very big royalties. It wasn’t the photographer’s fault – he aaa rightfully defending his copyright -but it’s the kind of thing that leaves you wondering ‘why bother?’ On Facebook everything goes and nobody polices the copyright area – but it’s people with books and relatively stable websites that bear the brunt of it. And lastly everyone like me will
    Lament you giving up the struggle but it’s easier for all of us to plead ‘please don’t go’ but it’s you who has to think about your own mental health and life priorities. Whatever happens NOBODY can deny what you have achieved, Keith and I know you must be justly proud of that. Take care of yourself!

  12. Very sorry to read this news, Keith.
    Thanks so much for enriching my knowledge about “the firm” in particular.
    I will miss it.
    Must have been a wrench for you because you’ve spent thousands of hours on it.
    A fine body of work! You should be proud of what you’ve achieved.

  13. Keith, my very best wishes to you, to your future projects.
    My heartfelt sadness, and sincere gratitude for your work.
    You’ll be very much missed.
    My very best regards.
    Dan

  14. How much does it cost to host? I’m sure there are a good number of us that would happily contribute to maintain this on the web. I do understand the drop in usage though, as I type this message I can’t actually see what I’m writing because I have at least two floating adverts completely obscuring my view. It has rendered the website unusable/unbearable. However, as a invaluable resource I would be very sad to see it go especially as a follower since it began.

  15. Sorry to hear of the news Keith and would like to thank you for all your hard work over the past 2 decades. Not to mention the contributions of others, which has allowed us to gain a deeper appreciation of the British Motor Industry in general as well as the companies that would eventually be part of BL.

    It has become an invaluable resource that have spent hours delving into, am grateful was able to learn much over the years beyond the superficial BL & British Industry tropes that have become part and parcel within popular culture.

  16. Thank you Keith. Have enjoyed reading the articles and viewing the images and learned so much. Greatly appreciated your work and that of all the contributers. Good luck in your future endeavours.

  17. Sad but understandable news.

    AROnline is a universally recognised information source and it’s amazing that new items keep being unearthed – there is still more to be revealed.

    Pity one of the larger classic car/spares companies couldn’t take it over, eg hosting, on a semi-commercial basis.

    Would be good if the Gaydon Heritage museum could take it on along with austinmemories.com and edit/update/integrate both websites, possibly with voluntary help, to the latest Internet standards.

    • Good idea. Surely such an informative site comes right under their remit?

      Thanks Keith for all the years of effort you’ve put into this site.

  18. Sorry to hear that Keith. But thank you for the massive effort that this site must have been for you. Its been great to read and throw in the occasional comment. Good luck with whatever you do next!

  19. Very sad to hear this news thank you Keith for all your hard work making ARonline the highly respected site that it has become I will miss it and good luck in the future

  20. Followed you from the start, always loved the site and the content and the fact it wasn’t Facebook but a true website.

    Can we donate to get you to change your mind/pay someone to help?

    Ironic about the copyright claims, given how much of your content is stolen and posted elsewhere without credit…

  21. Damn!!

    Once you have done the “content freeze”, can it still not be “simply” left available on the internet?

    If the above was possible, but it needed some “light touch” to maintain it, would someone like the British Motor Museum, be prepared to take responsibility?

    I have no knowledge of how to host a web-page, other than my Facebook page(s), so please excuse the naive question.

    A big, heartfelt, THANK YOU, for all you have done.

    I do hope that all your work can somehow be maintained for posterity.

  22. Very sorry to hear this. It’s been a hugely informative and entertaining site. The British Motor Museum at Gaydon really should take it over!

  23. Sad news. I first discovered this site more than 10 years ago and I’ve looked at it at least once a day ever since – so it’s going to leave a hole in my life.

  24. This is news I didn’t expect. Very sad at Keith’s announcement but I understand his reasons. I’ve followed ARonline since the early 2000’s and have lapped up all the stories & great photos of cars we have known and loved despite their faults & foibles! I will still try to access the frozen content as long as I can. Good luck for the future Keith and thanks for the pleasure you have given us.

    • Well expressed, Hilton D.

      I feel exactly the same, and similarly wish to thank Keith for the pleasure which he’s provided for us over the years, and to similarly wish him all the very best for the future.

  25. Sorry to hear the news Keith. Been an avid viewer since I found both aronline and your old rootes sites back in 2004. Thank you for all of the brilliant detail that you have published, and giving the world an invite into the mad world of the British car industry.

  26. Thank you for all the work you and your colleagues put into this very informative site. It will be missed greatly, but all good things have, eventually, to come to an end. Very best wishes to you all, including the many prolific commenters.

  27. Keith, firstly thank you for all hard work. I’m an ex-Rover engineer and have really enjoyed looking back a work that I was involved in along with all the other projects. This site is a wealth of information , I hope that someway it can be secured for the future. Best of luck on your next journey

  28. Fully understand the reasons Keith – I had to wind down my company a few years ago – realising what was really important in life. Thank you for providing us with the best AR or BL site ever and thank you for providing me with a platform to vent my views and stories as the Wolseley Man. All the very best for your future! Martyn

  29. I’d like to add my heartfelt thanks to Keith and to everyone who has contributed to AROnline. I think it’s widely recognized as the definitive site for BL vehicles and much of the wider British motor industry. I wish you all the very best for the future.

  30. Wow. This is hard news. I’m very sorry for you, Keith. Your site is the best I’ve ever seen. A real labour of love. Not blind to everything BMC/BL/AR/MG-Rover/etc has ever made, it ia a very good site with lots and lots of inside information. I will miss it soreley. So a big thank you Keith.

  31. Wow…what a shock. But I get it, and I definitely don’t envy the stress of running a website like this. I remember vividly discovering AROnline for the first time in 2004 and being absolutely absorbed and addicted to it. As a man that represents the first of his family that didn’t work for MG/Austin/Rover/Land Rover or whatever the name above the factory gates said at that given moment, I’ve always been fascinated to know what it was really like to work there, the challenges faced and the politics involved. I’ve never been disappointed.

    Keith, for what its worth your wonderful website has seen me through my first and second house moves, my marriage, birth of my son, 17 cars, several changes in jobs and (probably most personally) a period of unemployment which caused some me some mental health issues – reading your website got me through that most difficult period in my life and I’m so very grateful to you for that.

    I wish you well in the future and I hope the content can be found easily for future reference, not just by me but by the whole community. And my son, who’s just starting to show an interest. All the best mate.

  32. I understand that AROnline is coming to an end
    Keith I’ve been reading and enjoying your articles for what seems forever and I’ve alway enjoyed them they in my opinion always been factual accurate and honest
    You and your baby will be sadly missed you are and have been a stalwart supporter of the company most of us have supported and loved
    I went to the Austin as a 16 year old boy and now in my 80s loved every minute of my association with the company and very sad it’s no more
    Thank you Keith I wish you well and happiness
    Edmund

  33. Thank you Keith for many years of interesting articles, articles like on here got me into cars and I’ve been working in the motor trade now for over 11 years. I’ve always loved the MGR stuff as a big enthusiast and will miss this website.

  34. Aronline was one of the first websites I latched onto when we went online. Still drive a BLARG car after an R8, two 75s, a Freelander and now a Jaguar. Thank you for the effort and the many stories. It will be shame to see it go, but nothing is forever.

  35. Thank you so much Keith, I’ve dipped in and out of this site for many years and the content has always been great.

    Wishing you the very best for whatever the future holds.

  36. I fully understand that maintaining a site that has grown like this takes a lot of time and requires work. And you usually pay most the expenses from your own wallet. On the other hand, the hobby has brought an immeasurable number of friends and networking. I was in the same situation myself and took almost two years break. At the same time, I moved from working life to retirement and was left wondering what to do with the rest of my life. So it was quite natural to come back as a retiree. Over the years, the material that accumulates is irreplaceable and at the same time your own experience, you can look at things in a long perspective. I understand that you have made your decision, but would it be possible for a group to continue the work, without abandoning your values. I know that in today’s world it is very difficult and people’s life situations changes, but maybe it is possible? There is an old phrase that a rolling stone does not get mossy.
    Anyway, a big thumbs up for your work. That information is priceless and it has been a pleasure to read the articles.

  37. Been a fantastic site, thank you. It feels a bit as if the MG Rover days are moving on which is inevitable as time passes and the cars left dwindle in number. Thanks for some great stuff over the years.

  38. Thank you for being our ‘go-to’ website and thank you for all of the hard work that went into AROnline- it will be sorely missed. I, for one, visit at least 4 times a week so it will be a huge loss when it’s gone.

  39. Why have I just found out about you? I joined BMC as an apprentice in 1964 and lived through it all. Spent my whole life in the motor trade. Can we keep access to all your articles?

  40. Thanks for everything – such a wealth of information, anecdotes and opinions, it’s quite priceless. And enjoy getting on with the rest of your life, you’ve earned the break.

  41. I first visited AR Online in the noughties when I wanted to find out more about Red Robbo and kept coming back as the standard of writing and articles were so good. It was interesting to find more than one person who liked seventies Vauxhalls, who thought the Chrysler 2 Lite was unfairly maligned, and to put to bed some mytbs about British cars from the seventies and eighties. I’ve really enjoyed this site and will miss it.

    • Glenn I’ve also enjoyed the online conversations & opinions of site visitors and contributors (Mike Humble in particular!)

  42. Thank you Keith and to everyone that had helped keep the site what it is for all your effort. Over the years it has been my “happy place” during turbulent times in life and I’ll really miss it.
    Hopefully the archives can be preserved to help make the loss of what many of us might consider a “friend” seem that bit less painful.

  43. This is a shame. Like so many here, I’ve been reading this site for 20 years or so and it’s been a permanent fixture.

    The quantity and quality of the information here makes it an irreplaceable resource. It’s widely referenced and respected all over the world and will certainly be missed.

    So thank you Keith, and all the other contributors who have taught me so much about the cars and the people who created them.

  44. Very sad news. Thank you so much for the years and decades of interesting reading! If only there was a way to keep the site and domain available, even if frozen? All the best 🙂

  45. Thanks Keith for running such an excellent website, I’ve visited Aronline regularly since the beginning, it’s always the go to place for motor industry news and history.
    Relax and enjoy your new ventures.

  46. Selfishly my first thoughts were “Oh no, this cannot be allowed to happen!”
    I generally visit the site at least once a day and have been doing for absolutely ages. Every article seems to be well researched and packed with interesting information. Following the articles are the similarly interesting and well thought out comments which always add further information & colour to what I’ve been reading.
    However, reading Keith’s reasons I can totally understand his reasons for having to walk away, and I wish him (and the other contributors) the very best for their future and thank them for the years of entertainment that they have provided for me.
    I also echo what others have said in that I hope these hours of wonderful work don’t just vanish, that would be a tragedy. (Also, back to being selfish, there is far more than I can remember so I could re-read the articles myself!)

  47. Shame to hear this site is closing. Although I fully understand your reasons. I have been coming here since it was the Austin Rover one years ago.
    Thanks for all the info over the years!

  48. While my interests lie in Australian and American cars, ARonline was my go to for “Pommie”cars. Thanks for entertaining and enlightening me over the years.

  49. Sorry to hear this Having been the proud owner of an Austin Metro, Rover Metro and Rover 25. I have been into this site on a weekly basis and thouroughly enjoyed it.

  50. Keith, I think you have thoroughly documented an era of traditional British automaking. The industry and the world are moving on. So are you. I hope that you will conclude this volume of British history by allowing your many readers to share their experiences and raise a glass to AROnline

  51. Like many others above, I’ve spent hours enjoying new content on this site since I was a university student in my 20s to a father in my 40s – it’s been a place to come and relax and also day dream of what might have been. To that end I’ve always been most fascinated by the development projects, and even more so the concept and designs projects that never made, and would be gutted if this information was lost or less accessible. If I could boldly suggest one last assignment to produce a collection of books covering the 4 most fascinating eras: British Leyland/BL, Austin Rover, Rover Group and MG Rover covering key models development stories, strategies, concepts and prototypes. The content is all here and I would love to have copies to return to and enjoy again. Thanks for all the work you have put into this over the years Keith, it has been really appreciated.

  52. BSD

    I have seen this site for the first time in 2008,and have not stopped seeing it since!
    As a “Petrol Head” this site was like a fountain of cold water in the middle of the desert!
    I also have a special love for the british motor industry from two aspects – i have worked as a warranty claims manager at JLR Israel from 2012 to 2020,and,since the motor isdustry here in Israel was strongly connected to the british motor industry (first with Reliant and then as ma subsidiary of BL for several years.
    I also enjoyed reading an article about the israeli motor industry (Around the worls – Autocars Israel) and there i read a few things i did not know about (e.g.,that Marcos helped develop a few prototypes of a fibreglass mini to be produced in Israel).
    One thing i missed seeing here was to read about the years (more than 25) that Leyland busses and trucks were assembled in Israel and these buses dominated the sraeli roads for the early 50’s to the late 70’s (yes,they were assembled here even before the factory became a subsidiary of BL,and a few years after the connection of BL with Autocars for assembling fibreglass cars was disconnected in the early 70’s).

    Dear Keith,you and your website will be dearly missed by me,and i am sure that there are many other motor fans in Israel that know ARONLINE for years and will miss it and you as i wll be missing!!!

    Thank you for all these years,and may G’D bless you in your way!!!

    And hwo knows,maybe we will see ARONLINE “rising from the ashes” in a few years,better and bigger than before,Amen!!!

    Love you all
    Itzhak from Israel

  53. Thank you for all your interesting articles and history.

    I wonder if any of the Flickr archives like to take some of the brochure scans etc?

    Good luck for the future.

  54. Thank you for all your work on this site over the years. I’ve only ever owned one ARG car (a Maestro Mayfair I bought for £175, including six months’ tax and half a tank of petrol), but I’ve always been a fan of them, and of this site. I’ll have to find something else to read at lunchtime!

  55. Sorry to hear the website site is closing.
    Like many others, I’ve spent days enjoying the content on this site since it was “The UNOFFICIAL Austin-Rover Web Resource”.
    Thank you for all your hard work.

  56. Sell it to someone else, otherwise it is such a waste. Imagine setting up a business, getting it going, running it successfully for a few years, then just closing down without trying to sell it.

    Have you spoken to the Great British Car Journey? It would be a good fit for them. They can promote it. They are all about learning about, seeing, experiencing, driving “dad’s old car”. Isn’t your website the place to come, when they get home, to learn even more about that car?

    Sure, there will be adverts, but that’s life. That is where new “hits” to the site could come from, and it would also promote their own business.

    If you are not bothered about money, then sell it to them for £1, let them take over the running costs, which I think would be good marketing for them.

    • The Great British Car Journey is a fab visitor attraction for a day out. A link with AROnline would be a good fit I agree.

  57. Gutted. But most people don’t fully understand the time and financial drain that a website can become. I speak from experience. Thank you for what you have done, as a “first car was an Allegro” person, it was nice to finally understand why the electrics fused when it rained, the fuel gauge didn’t work and the bonnet flew open randomly… ah the memories

  58. Keith,
    Sad news but after 20 years as a part time pursuit I’m not surprised you’ve called it a day.
    I’ve enjoyed the website since 2003 and can only say a massive thank you for your efforts.
    Best wishes for the future.

  59. I’ve popped back to the comments every now and then to see if the site’s been saved. Just hoping someone might be able to take it over or something like that. It’s provided me with many, many hours of enjoyment reading up on the cars and the might-have-beens. Thank you for all of the time and effort that has gone into it over the years, and for cheering up some of my lunchtimes.

  60. God bless and thanks for the years Keith.I love this website and I will miss it.I have learned so much from this site.You have earned all the praise that will come your way.

  61. Really sad, although I appreciate the reasons for the closure. I have had many hours of enjoyment over the years, both reminiscing and learning. Thanks so much.

  62. Hello Keith. I can only reiterate others’ thanks for all your hard work and commitment to AROnline. You have built a wonderful and very valuable resource and have given your readers, myself included, much in the way of information, enlightenmrnt and entertainment over the years. Enjoy your very well earned retirement!

  63. Thanks for the memories Keith… ARonline has been much visited and appreciated by me over the years. Good luck in your future ventures!

  64. So sorry to hear the news, but understand your reason’s Keith. Thank you for everything and also thanks to the contributors too. Good luck in the future

  65. I have just discovered the sad news now. Aronline is a site, besides of vauxpedia, I had a look in nearly every day. The work, Keith was investing, is just amazing. I learnt really a lot about the British Motor Industry. I also enjoyed the exchange in the blog with other enthusiasts. I always had a soft spot for Vauxhalls of the 70ties and I’m driving a Triumph TR 8 EFI (a real one) for the last 23 years. I completely understand the reasons which drove Keith to take this decisions. I hope that we can go on checking out the contents in a static way. It would be a pity if all the material would be lost. I just want to send you a huge thank for all you did, Keith. My best regards from Switzerland. Ruedi Schoch

  66. Keith, thank you for the time and effort you have put into this site. For me it has been it has been a source of education and entertainment in respect of the UK motor industry.
    Wishing you all the best going forward.

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