Our Cars : Martin’s Austin Allegro – a very good service

The preparations to get Molly back on the road to join the 50th anniversary festivities of the Austin Allegro in Gaydon are at full steam now at the Retrogarage in Stolberg.

Photography: Markus La Tendresse and Alexander Boucke

Molly in the shop: The beast awakens

After more than a decade in a barn, our ex-Rally Allegro, known as Molly, is currently being commissioned. Her owner, Martin Blum, intends to take her to the Allegro Club International meeting at Gaydon on 14 May, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Allegro range.

It will still take a little effort before the first test drive, let alone being a trust-worthy long-distance cruiser. But inside Retrogarage, Markus La Tendresse’s Francophile workshop, Molly is slowly taking shape again, while Martin is hunting down spares and polishing her up bit by bit.

After such a long time off the road, some serious service work is inevitable. All remaining fluids were drained – it was found that the fuel tank had drained itself at some point when looking at the remains of the rubber hose towards the fuel pump.

Markus continued stripping bits off the Allegro, while Martin tried to find suitable replacements. Obviously, the rear brakes were fully renewed while the front received new pads and hoses after the calipers were carefully freed.

When turning attention to the engine, some interesting things where found. The oil filter was a part-stream filter at best, as the little pressure plate keeping the filter firmly located in the oil stream was missing.

The filter insert was just loosely located inside the housing, most likely not fulfilling its duty. A club friend from the Dutch Austin-Morris-Riley-Wolseley-Register was able to help with sourcing one.

Next was to try and find a source for the coolant loss we encountered during the rally in 2005. The radiator was not looking too good and was sent off for a rebuild with an all-new copper core. However, this alone could not explain the pressurised fluid we found foaming from the expansion tank when the car was driven hard with high revs.

The cylinder head came off and revealed – nothing. The bores looked good, as did the piston tops. Black and evenly covered in soot, none showed any traces of water ingress. And the cylinder head gasket was intact too. No traces of cracks in the head were found, something not entirely unknown to E-Series engines.

The only thing Markus noticed were suspiciously loose nuts on the head bolts – it was as if they had not been tightened down correctly at some point in the past. Apart from that, everything looked fine and was assembled with great care, so we would be surprised if there will be any problem.

To check the suspension spheres’ condition, the suspension was pumped up. It held pressure well and, whilst there was still a very noticeable amount of gas in the hydragas system, the front left corner in particular felt too hard to be nice for travelling. Some fresh gas will therefore be in order before the test drive…

Allegro owners will probably know that the proper fog lamps are hard to come by. Markus’ solution for Molly’s rusty brown fog lamp reflectors is looking very good: he separated the glass from the housing to be able to re-finish the reflector. See below…

Alexander Boucke


  1. continue to enjoy your classic car while you can before the greens/socialist find spurious reasons to ban them which they will do soon

    • Proof John? Find and link to one bit of proof from an elected official of a mainstream Green or Socialist UK party that corroborate your claptrap.

      • Only if you’re a pathetic tabloid junkie or a Russian bot!

        Nice try Olga but you don’t fool me!

        • I’m neither but exactly what do you think the just stop oil campaign will achieve if successful, exactly where will the fuel for your classic come from?

          • I don’t own a classic, no thinks to pathetic morons like you who think my sucking up to the richest in society in the vain hope that you’ll be thrown a few crumbs!

    • What you’d expect from far-right, climate change denying troll. Shouldn’t really encourage it by responding.

      • your evidence for me being far right appears to be I do not agree with you but what you would expect from someone attempting to shut down debate

        • Trolling isn’t debate.Equating those concerned about the environment with socialists says it all.

          • You have repeatedly insulted me because I do not agree with you and continue to do so, to be clear me holding an opinion you do not agree with is not trolling but does say a lot about those who believe in human driven climate change – not to be challenged in any way. Let me put this to you – if human driven climate change is real why has there been such calls from the green movement to restrict or ban personal transport, flights and anything but a plant based diet when atmospheric carbon capture technology is proven and would allow us to continue to enjoy the lifestyle we have

  2. It’s a shame that forums degenerate into insults.

    John is correct. The “green” initiatives are a socialist policy. If you read the recent reports about the Animal Rebellion (an off-shoot of Extinction Rebellion) activists who protested at the London restaurant where actor Pierce Brosnan was dining with his wife, you will see a comment from one of the protestors. She is 28 and a UK primary school teacher.

    “We’re peacefully occupying tables in Scott’s to make a definitive statement that no seafood is sustainable.

    Restaurants like this are symbols of horrific inequality, whether it’s the cost-of-living crisis, the climate emergency and the animal emergency.”

    As John rightly says, it’s far more than just climate, or animal rights, – it’s all about telling you what you are allowed to do with your leisure time; how much money you should spend, and what you should spend it on, and what kind of businesses should exist. It’s about changing the entire social structure into communism. And remember, this woman might be teaching your children.

    And it applies very much to classic cars. Since 1982, VW fans have been gathering at Lake Wothersee in Austria for a meeting. Not this year. They were not welcome. The city wants to create “attractive and sustainable living spaces” and a classic car meeting does not fit into that plan.

    • Thanks for letting us know you are another pathetic suck-up the people who are the real problem makers in modern society!

  3. I agree with LucyP. The comments section of AROline seems to have degenerated into a slanging match between correspondents of late.

    • Have a suspension / ban system for the trouble makers & then the problem will go away.

    • the issue is two accounts who immediately hurl insults rather than have a position challenged and would rather ban dissenters than be polite – see Ray Cathodes comments among others

    • Because nutjobs spreading unfounded conspiracy theories are ruining it. Unfortunately anonymous forums like this are easy targets for such trolls.

  4. Anyone see the UN climate report in the headlines this morning? And we’re not allowed to call out climate deniers for fear of offending their delicate sensibilities? Presumably they’re content to watch the planet burn as long as they can maintain their lifestyles. Hear no evil, see no evil, etc. Oh, and carbon capture is a stalling tactic beloved of the fossil fuel lobby. “Let us continue polluting, we’ll fix it at some unspecified point in the future “.

      • John please can you come back to the forum when you have something constructive and interesting to say? Try reading some of the comments on older articles to see how this forum is supposed to be. You’re ruining it for everyone. Cheers

        • amazing really, according to Ray Cathode I’m pathetic, a bootlicker and bizarrely part of the reason he doesn’t own a classic, Standhill would rather shout insults then when called out continues to do so and you think anyone not believing a point of view is a conspiracy theorist – amazing deductions considering none of you know me well enough to form those opinions. Group think appears to rule
          Irrespective of where you stand on a position throwing out insults acting in a childish way is not the way to make a point and is pretty damaging to what your trying to put across

          • It’s not a “point of view”. It’s scientific fact which you choose to disbelieve for your own reasons.If someone bandies around wild-eyed conspiracy theories ( the grand plan to control our movements) and Trumpian disinformation about climate change, they can expect some push back. I still don’t see where I “insulted” you, other than to decry your absurd assertions. If you perceive that as an insult then that’s your problem.

          • You just don’t know when you’re beaten do you!?

            Have you got any more posts to prove that you are nothing more than a drooling moron!?

          • PS: the above reply was for John not standhill!

            The glitchy coding here doesn’t help things!

          • Standhill – my opinion of Trump is likely as low as yours yet you still refuse to respect an opinion which isn’t your own. As for scientific fact science is a febrile environment which can only work if opposing views with evidence is considered, I have asked before if human driven climate change is proved have you given up flights, eating meat, personal transportation and transportation powered by ICE
            Ray – a drooling moron for not agreeing with you? I repeat I’m not a bootlicker nor the reason you do not own a classic

  5. Well this was supposed to be about servicing an Allegro, not a Twitter style rant about politics. For the record, I am no lover of the anti car green lobby, don’t like socialism, but certainly don’t come on here to hurl insults at people. It spoils what is mostly a very friendly and interesting website.

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