Running With Scissors [Part Seven]

Aggro on the shopfloor


The early 1970s was a volatile time in Britain. Hopes of lasting prosperity were dissolving amid galloping inflation, socio-political strife, ineffectual government interventions to prop up a stalling economy and a seething dissatisfaction amidst the toiling classes, fed up with being overpromised and repeatedly brought up short.

Throughout the previous decade, car manufacturing plants across the UK had become a hotbed of political foment, and those of the former British Motor Corporation were amongst the most restive – owing to an array of factors which included a myopic and at times, barely competent management and successive government policies, which had the (perhaps unintentional) effect of denying workers a reliable source of income[1].

The labour factor

Pay was a perennial issue, but so were working conditions, those within many British car plants being not too far evolved from the pre-war era. Neither plant, machinery nor working practices had been modernised, conditions were primitive and given the at best ambivalent attitude of management towards line workers, there was little incentive for them to build quality cars.

The longstanding system of pay for production line workers was what was commonly known as piece-work (or piece-rate pay). This system saw workers paid per unit produced, rather than an hourly or fixed wage. It was viewed by management as outdated, promoting output over quality. In addition, should a worker be unable to work for any reason, they would receive no pay. Because piecework had been cited as the basis for a large number of BLMC disputes during 1970/71, there was a strong incentive within management to reform the system.

For some time, carmakers wanted to introduce a new methodology, known as measured day work. This set out the tasks the worker was to carry out per hour and was intended to provide a fairer wage for a fair day’s work. This entailed the presence of time and motion experts to evaluate workflows and establish work rates, a matter viewed with suspicion by shop workers who viewed any potential change in working practices as inherently detrimental. Hardly aiding matters was BLMC management, who forced through the new system, with little interest in first gaining buy-in from the workforce or their representatives.

First, it was introduced at Cowley, management apparently informing the unions that obtaining Marina production entailed moving to the new measured day system, otherwise they threatened to build it elsewhere. This hardball approach worked, but with Allegro, when presented with a similar ultimatum, the unions knew that there was little choice for management but Longbridge – the volumes involved were too great. Day work would be enacted, but very much under sufferance.

Quoted in Barney Sharratt’s The Men and Motors of The Austin, former Industrial Relations Manager, Ron Savage painted a bleak portrait of the situation as it unfolded, recounting how a mentality of ‘they’re paying us whether we work or not’ meant that routine problems due to parts supply issues or breakdowns often led to line stoppages, which tended not to occur under the piece work system. It also created a situation where tasks that sat outside the work mandate would often be refused by line workers, who could now assert that it simply wasn’t in their job description.

Former Longbridge line Superintendent, Paddy O’Reilly outlined how in practice, piecework had been more flexible, encouraging workers to find solutions themselves to issues as they arose. Under day work, he pointed out, if there was a problem, the team simply downed tools. But despite robust objections from the very people who were tasked to enforce it, measured day work coincided with the start of Allegro production, and the transition was anything but smooth.

Early production of Allegro was disrupted by a strike at the Swindon body plant, while further stoppages at Longbridge saw delays to the initiation of a second Allegro line. A month after the car’s introduction, another three-week strike at Longbridge lost BLMC £20 million worth of car production, with 12,000 line workers laid off. As 1973 ended amid the chaos of the fuel crisis, a further tightening of credit restrictions by the government to control rocketing inflation and the subsequent collapse of car demand, a three-day week was enacted to save energy.

The combination of these external factors alongside BLMC’s own structural and labour-related weaknesses saw matters reach a watershed the following year. Not least of these were the continued and increasingly bitter strikes. In 1974, as documented by Chris Cowin in Chronicle of a Car Crash, “a total of 350,000 man days were lost at Austin-Morris alone[2].

Image: aronline

Following Allegro’s launch, the fractured industrial relations picture became as much the story as BLMC’s new ‘world-beater’, the mainstream news outlets gleefully trumpeting lurid tales of ‘workshy strikers’. After all, it suited the news agenda (and that of the media owners), the politics of the time and of course sold newspapers. The motoring press too would follow in lock-step, the strike-prone workforce narrative being more easily digestible and preferable to any meaningful analysis of industrial relations failure.

Certainly, there were elements within the workforce and their union representatives whose agenda was not in the best interests of the business, but it is worth emphasising that the overwhelming majority of BLMC’s workforce simply wanted secure work and a decent living wage. Militancy was a handy stick with which to beat the workforce and both tabloids and broadsheets brandished it with gusto.

Image via Flickr

The workforce would also have appreciated a car which was straightforward to build to a requisite degree of accuracy[3], but here too, Allegro fell some way short. This was a longstanding issue across the UK car industry, so it was by no means unique to Allegro; certainly, the prevailing attitude amidst the engineering hierarchy of the former BMC being that such matters were the production engineering team’s problem to solve[4].

As Allegro was being developed, Harry Webster, seeking to break Pressed Steel’s body engineering and design hegemony, chose to bring everything in-house instead[5]. Such radical change probably ought to have taken place in a more gradual, phased fashion, but Webster was in a hurry, and such rushed actions were never going to be without consequences.

As Allegro bodies were being assembled, line workers experienced enormous difficulty with inaccurately dimensioned bodyshells. Windscreens wouldn’t fit the apertures, shattering in the process; boot openings proved too large for the boot lids themselves. Billed as a lead-free body, the roof panel in fact had to be welded from two separate pressings, leaded and filed – all adding to line time, rectification and the potential for problems once the cars went to customers[6].

These issues would eventually be solved, but in some cases it took years rather than months and really ought to have been hammered out in pilot production before series build began. Certainly, the problems experienced by Autocar with their long-term test Allegro appear to be by no means isolated, and symptomatic of the difficulty Longbridge production workers had in building the car to specification[7].

This also raises the spectre of Allegro’s oft-mentioned lack of torsional stiffness. A notable feature of the Issigonis cars was their industry-leading rigidity, believed to be in no small part a consequence of the use of front and rear subframes for strength and isolation[8]. This reached its apogee with ADO17, which was exceptional in this regard. However, while Allegro’s body stiffness was a good deal less impressive than its larger sibling, it was broadly competitive; indeed, better than a number of its (admittedly hatchback) rivals[9]. Nevertheless, the lack of a front subframe undoubtedly had an adverse effect on Allegro’s body refinement and overall strength[10].

By the end of 1973, notwithstanding the unprecedented fuel supply crisis which had paralysed the entire global industry, Britain’s slide into the economic doldrums, nor indeed BLMC’s own rapidly deteriorating financial situation, it was clear that Allegro was not the success Stokes and his board had hoped. Certainly, the ongoing labour disputes had not aided its cause, but the hard truth is that regardless of whether sufficient cars had been built, there remains the thorny question of whether there would have been customers for them?

Because while British Leyland’s industrial relations crisis undoubtedly harmed Allegro’s prospects (especially early on, when interest was high), it was not responsible for the model’s ultimate failure to appeal to the customer.


[1] Throughout the 1960s, the UK government employed borrowing costs as a tool to stimulate or deflate the economy. This see-saw cycle saw large numbers of car workers being recruited during stimulus periods, only to then be laid off again. In addition, strike actions were often viewed by management as a convenient means of trimming the workforce during lean periods. Job security, what job security?

[2] The industrial unrest would continue throughout the decade as both unions and management became more implacably opposed. Government ownership, if anything, made the situation even more complex. It would take a lot of blood on the floor before any tangible progress was made.

[3] As BL would finally discover in the 1980s, when ease of production is designed in, the chances of putting it together accurately increases enormously. It took Honda’s influence to drive this home.

[4] Issigonis was particularly intransigent on this matter, with accounts of his refusal to make even minor changes to assist in actually building the cars. Not his problem, you see.

[5] “We are having no more nonsense from that Pressed Steel gang down at Cowley. We’ll break that lot up.” Barry Kelkin quoting Harry Webster – The Men and Motors of The Austin – Barney Sharratt.

[6] “There was everything wrong with the Allegro to start with… It was a bad design”. Paddy O’ Reilly – The Men and Motors of The Austin – Barney Sharratt.

[7] And perhaps the somewhat rushed, penny-pinched nature of the car’s development.

[8] Not that Alec was wholly wedded to the idea, simply that in order for an interconnected suspension to work properly, subframes were a necessity.

[9] Allegros’ torsional rigidity was about 6000lb ft per degree of deflection. The Mk1 Ford Fiesta was by contrast said to be about 4700 lb ft, the Renault 5, 3500 lb ft and the VW Golf, 5200 lb ft. 

[10] Press stories were legion of rear screens popping out of Allegros if jacked up incorrectly. How much of these tales are apocryphal largely depends on who you believe. 

Sources and quotes: See Part one.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

31 thoughts on “Running With Scissors [Part Seven]”

    1. Indeed it was – I think the lack of subframes made it more rigid.

  1. Regarding the old manufacturing surroundings I remember a statement of the BSA production manager that Honda spent more money on a single machine for reaming camshaft bearings of a single model than he had for a whole year and all of his production equipment.
    Very low re-investment had been a long standing problem of the British industry at that time.

  2. As a man from a completely different country and culture (PL), I’ve never been able to understand what was actually going on with the industry in the UK in the 1970s. Until now, I’ve had a somewhat neo-liberal take on things, having been fed a heavily Thatcherian interpretation of Clarkson on Top Gear since I was a kid (back when whey actually tested cars in the early 00’s).

    The situation, of course, is much more complicated than that, but it’s probably one where literally all parties were at fault. Poor management, an incredibly strange from today’s point of view pay system and a work culture at a very low level. It’s a great pity, because back in the 1950s/60s the British automotive industry was incomparably more interesting and much more diverse than the German or French ones. Nowadays it’s mostly ultra-luxury vehicles produced by German corporations.

    Centralizing and creating huge, too-big-to-fail corporations is never a good idea. Tthe charm and strength of the earlier British industry was precisely its diversity. Of course, under free market, globalised conditions, many manufacturers would have failed, but were it not for misguided decisions, perhaps today I might consider Austin, Rover, or Triumph next to Opes, Ford, or VW when buying a new car.

    1. There´s an interesting academic paper to be written on foreign perceptions of UK´s history. It isn´t a surprise that Poland´s take on it is market-liberal given the nation´s unhappy time under planned economies. I haven´t studied Clarkson´s uttterances on the topic in detail. His stance is unsurprising and not one that lends itself to much extrapollation. Are we to believe that the ramshackle structures and bad product planning could have been compensated for by an ultra-supine and compliant labour force (which is what Clarkson implies)? The US and Italy show that a fairly-supine and probably demoralised labour force yields industrial decline (Ford and GM are withering, Fiat is a one-model brand; Lancia is dead-ish and Alfa struggles to sell as many of all its cars in a as Toyota sells automatic Yarises in a month). The only way to stay alive in industry is through investement, training and stakeholder involvement in the enterprise. The UK industry none of that until external enterprises set up their own factories.

    2. Dzien dobry, Kamil, I am so encouraged to read that you also find it strange.
      In Australia we also had a lot of industrial militancy fuelled by ideology-driven shop stewards during that era, but we didn’t have the management issues to anything like the degree BL seemed to have back then. Possibly because we didn’t have the upper-class vs. lower-class mentality in my country – or is that being a bit too Facebookian? Although once a British colony, we never had an aristocracy, so management were just people like us, but in suits.
      Up till recently my knowledge of BL’s industrial relations problems was rather superficial, just what I read in my country’s press at the time. Chris Cowan’s ‘Chronicle of a Car Crash’ expanded my understanding immensely, and made me curious to understand what Britain was like in this period (when I was an uncaring teenager). Evidently it was more different to my own country that I had realised. This series is certainly filling the gaps in my knowledge.

  3. This really has been one of the best DTW series yet – it has the makings of a first-class soap opera/docudrama to explain the ’70s to those not old enough to remember that demoralising decade. Thank you Eóin for such a balanced and thorough review.

    This was the decade when we baby-boomers (those born in the years immediately after the end of WW2) were raising families and buying our first homes. We were paying income tax at 33% (30% by the end of the decade) and mortgage rates were in the 12 – 15% range, peaking at 17% (and if you’d suggested to any Building Society that they might like to lend you more than 50% of the property’s price they’d have called the men in white coats). Which is why we are sometimes less than sympathetic to 20-somethings today who whinge about how difficult life is.

    The era has to be seen in the context of the times. The ’60s were the opportunity years when the establishment old guard was challenged and largely discarded. The ’70s saw the structure both of industry and society begin to crumble. In the ’80s came the consequences: the end of the old ideas of careers or jobs for life and in many industries a severe case of the tail wagging the dog – leading in turn to the establishment fighting back with destructive effect (but that’s another story). And the vehicle which best symbolises the whole sorry story? The Austin Allegro!

    1. For a docudrama theme song, I’d suggest Steeleye Span’s “Hard Times In Old England”…..

  4. Fascinating reading, thank you once again Eóin.

    I finally understand now the issues with the measured day work system they tried to bring in. It inadvertently removed all incentive to put the effort in, which when combined with poor conditions just kills all motivation. Believe me, I’ve worked in a place like that, and if the motivation isn’t there the work’s not being done, simple as.

    Could they have done something similar to what some places do now (I don’t know if there’s a term for this) whereby all the workers are made into shareholders in the company and so get to share in the profits? Ergo, the harder you work, the more properly made cars you sell, the more profit the company makes, and the more money you make.

    I’m also starting to see how it was really engineering and management that truly let the company down.

    1. JCC – yes, there is a term – it’s a co-operative, like the John Lewis partnership, for example.

    2. There was a co-operative experiment in the UK in form of Tony Benn’s pet project Meriden Motorcycle Coop.
      They made Triumph motorcycles and it didn’t work.
      John Rosamond wrote a book on the history of the coop ‘Save the Bonneville!’.
      Intresting and depressing reading.

  5. Kamil touches on the UK industry’s charm and diversity, and I see what he means. Unfortunately it began to believe its own myth, thinking it could always get by on a sort of almost amateur resourcefulness, without needing to invest. The photo showing Allegro post assembly inspection, looks more like it has been set up in a disused aircraft hanger by a chancer manufacturer of kit cars.

    As JTC says, the Allegro’s story could save a social anthropologist looking at mid 20th Century Britain a great amount of research, especially once they’ve understood the very special significance of the presence, or lack of, a vinyl roof. Though that’s an awful responsibility to place on such a relatively weak bodyshell.

  6. Incidentally, the sterile, dystopian backdrops of much current car advertising has frequently been noted on this site, but BL advertising of the early 70s seemed to major in post apocalyptic landscapes. Was this intentional or subconscious?

    1. An air of bleakness certainly pervades all BL marketing of that period – whether intentional or not I couldn’t possibly tell.

      The contrast between the brochures Jaguar’s own marketing department had created – some of which are just as beautiful as the cars they were supposed to sell – and BL’s efforts on behalf of Large Car Assembly Plant No2 is particularly striking. The latter feels more like some Get Carter tie-in than luxury car advertising, what with some very strange locations and highly peculiar lighting (including some bafflingly harsh flash photography).

    2. The Allegro advert in the artice above shows cars with a lot of distortion. The Allegoro is much taller-looking/shorter-looking than the sleek vehicles parked in the quarry.

    3. I´ve always asked myself why BL advertised the Allegro in what it seemed to be a forest devastated by a wildfire, but that XJ6 shooted in front of a factory is just what I wouldn´t do.
      Mercedes-Benz also liked to photograph its new W126 S-Class in the impersonal environment of an autobahn, but at least it was a lot more adequate.

    4. At least the Jaguar brochure offers a human being (albeit a shadowy one) and the hint of a narrative (though I’m not sure what the narrative is). Possibly we have a loner, ex special ops guy, now working as a PI, but only on cases where he feels he can right the bad things he did in his previous life. However, overarching this narrative is the visceral need for him to get even with the secret organisation responsible for stealing his headlamp wipers.

  7. From AROnline: “Technically, the rest of the story with the ADO17 was pretty much as with the ADO16, with one major difference: Issigonis finally had his wish for a subframe-less car realised with the new car.”

    Subframes are not the route to greater overall bodyshell rigidity and strength. Quite the opposite. Mechanical engineering 101. Issigonis got that part right but it’s not exactly a secret anyway. Budd proved it back in the 1930s.

    Physically measuring chassis stiffness depends also on where the suspension pivot points are attached to the chassis (separate, sub, or full unit-body it doesn’t matter) front and rear, so there’s not much standardization. Most quotes these days are likely from the computer model. The Vauxhall Victor FB was a notorious bender whose doors didn’t want to open and close when it was jacked-up to change a flat tyre. Seen that first hand. Luckily BL kept this piece of Allegro rubbish from most export markets. The nonsense quality Marina was quite enough to be inflicted on an unsuspecting world.

    I agree with the premise that management was to blame for the BL cockups. Said so at the time when I was studying in England on scholarship and getting plant tours courtesy of the Dept of Trade and Industry. They sponsored about fifty new Canadian engineers each year for postgrad study in Blighty and plant tours. I was there ’69 to ’74. They were quite open that the scheme was to advertise British industry and products so that we wouldn’t always specify American goods when we went home to work in industry. I’m afraid the opposite effect happened when we saw the labour relations, outdated plant and devil-may-care attitudes, let alone the ancient products. The CIL, er, ICI factory in Liverpool, I think, was like something out of the dark ages! And the caste system between management and workers was obvious everywhere, while the technical people had their own little empires. The whole country needed a good shake up. Not sure that going full-bore Thatcher was the answer — she was management personified and a finger-wagger of some strict Head schoolmistress story in her head. Clarkson is in my view a rude dolt as well, so I’m rather leaning towards Mr Herriott’s general point-of-view above.

  8. The underlying conundrum is that all businesses only exist in order to make a profit. Their purpose is not to make things or provide services, or indeed to provide employment. Those are merely the means by which they generate profit. What they then do with that profit depends on the principles, beliefs and whims of the owners. The ideal business is one which recognises that workers are most productive when they believe themselves to be treated fairly along with striving to keep the customers coming back for more – and, of course, investing the profits in R&D. The ethos within any business comes from the top, not the bottom. Strikes are always the result of management failure.

    Unfortunately the basic principles of running a business have been steadily lost to the nonsense of modern economic theory, based entirely on the tale of the king’s new clothes. As Abraham Lincoln very nearly said and James Thurber did, you can fool too many people for too much of the time.

  9. Gentlemen: I would like to point out that I wasn’t inferring that ADO17 used subframes, although I do concede that the manner in which that section was phrased may have inadvertently lent that impression. The point I was making is that ADO17 was exceptional in body rigidity terms, which is hardly a controversial position to take. But a body of opinion suggests that for instance, a lot of the Mini’s frontal rigidity came from the use of a front subframe.

    As well as being something of a packaging zealot, Issigonis was also on a weight crusade, so having to admit defeat with subframes must have rankled. He is known to have wanted to abandon them for ADO16, but the principles of interconnected Hydrolastic defeated that idea. He clearly solved that problem with ADO17, and just maybe its industry leading torsional rigidity offers some clue to that.

    But I’m not an engineer, just a humble pen pusher, so I must defer to those who know more on these matters.

    1. ADO17 Cell Leader Chris Kingham’s thinking was that as the perimeter opening and fixing points for the subframe aperture had to be structurally reinforced to support the subframe and the heavy components it accommodated, adding unnecessary cost and weight, eliminating the subframe and engineering its functions into the bodyshell was the way ahead.

      It’s likely that the ADO17s horizontal Hydrolastic displacers in their own tunnel just forward of the front bulkhead were part of this philosophy – it’s a clever idea in principle as the loads are put into an area where structural strength is required anyway.

      Structurally it makes sense, less so for production of maintenance. And yet the Maxi, which had a similar arrangement of horizontal front displacers in a tunnel, but built into a subframe, was over 400lbs lighter than the 1800, despite being not much smaller. In the bigger car the principle was fine, but its objective was never achieved.

      In relation to the Allegro, putting these displacer loads into an inner front wing turret follows industry practice used for steel suspension, but perhaps just wasn’t right for Hydragas. That top wishbone must have been a hefty item.

      I wonder if MacPherson struts were considered for the Allegro? Dr. Moulton wouldn’t have approved. When I asked him if the combination was possible, he said that they could have been made to work with Hydrolastic or Hydragas, but it wasn’t a good idea.

    2. If the Maxi arrangement ended up making it quite a bit lighter compared to ADO17, would ADO16 or an updated version have likely benefited from a weight reduction had it been possible?

  10. Has Filmer Paradise’s “bonfire of the dealerships” been mentioned yet? The peremptory denial of the franchise to hundreds of low-volume small-town and suburban former BMC agents would have hit the Allegro particularly badly.

    The Marina was unashamedly a company fleet car. The Allegro was aimed at private buyers – BMC’s traditional heartland. These customers had lost a trusted support network, but BLMC also found themselves looking down the barrel of the gun they had just thrown away.

    Many of the disenfranchised garages took on European and Japanese “challenger brands”, and were eager to sell the potential Allegro buyers a readily available and well-made Cherry, Sunny, Corolla, Civic, R12, 104, 204 or Kadett.

    All BLMC could offer was a nebulous delivery date, without even a firm price as inflation raged.

  11. @ Charles

    Thank you, the name had escaped me. No idea if such a thing would have helped BL. Considering everything else, probably not.

  12. This wide-ranging in-depth presentation of the Allegro fiasco is just amazing. It’s like a rich torte for the mind; Eóin, I’m glad you’re serving it in small pieces! Each segment complete in itself, yet throwing a bit more light on the whole from a different angle.
    No wonder it failed. And from what I’ve been reading at AROnline recently, its successor had plenty of issues too. It seems they never learned, except how to make new mistakes, perhaps…

  13. JCC, I don’t think a co-operative would have helped, but I get what you’re driving at – whether offering the workforce more of a stake in the company could have helped. I think it would have done.

    Peter, yes, I’m reading that too and it’s very frustrating. While I would like Britain to have a British-owned car industry, thinking back, the BL/ARG/MG Rover saga became too much in the end and I think everyone was glad to see the back of it.

    I get the impression that the tectonic plates are shifting somewhat in the automotive industry as a whole, so who knows what will come out of it.

  14. One further thought – I came across the documentary, below, which tries to explain how empires rise and fall. It’s by US billionaire investor, Ray Dalio. I think he knows his stuff; I found it very interesting, anyway.

    I wonder if the same applies to companies and industries – that various events almost inevitably conspire to lead to their downfall. Or perhaps industries are hostage to their host nations’ fortunes – that’s probably more likely.

  15. When I read the first paragraph I thought “Plus ca change”.

    50 years on and things are no better.

  16. What I find perplexing about the Allegro regarding its body design is how much of the principals of the thing were ignored in ADO88/LC8. Metro really was son of the Mini and nothing else. It featured Hydragas, horrendously butchered and almost dangerous before Moulton finally got Austin-Morris to listen and came with subframes. Its body also rusted, something which the Allegro wasn’t really noted for.

    Why wasn’t ADO88 or indeed ADO74 let alone LC8 not just a rebooted Allegro with carry-over components? Clearly Austin-Morris thought the Allegro had life left in it as they created a mk4 which was culled due to the cost of the changes.

    1. Steven – the Metro’s engineering looks as if ADOs 17, 14, 67, and 71 never existed. To oversimplify – but not too much – it’s Hydrolastic Mini with prostheses, namely the front telescopic shock absorbers and coil springs at the rear to pre-load the Hydragas displacers. And then there’s the omission of front to back interconnection you mention. What were they thinking?

      The Allegro’s front suspension was too compromised to take proper advantage of Hydragas, but its rear suspension, with the fixing beam serving as a vestigial sub-frame, was good enough to be carried over to the Princess and Ambassador, and must have been far cheaper than the Metro’s massively larger and more complicated subframe. The Allegro wagon even got Dr. Moulton’s clever “Gothic arch” progressive-rate rear bump-stops, a cost-effective alternative to self-levelling.

      In Michael Edwardes’ grand recovery plan, the programming of the ADO88/LC8 gave it precedence over the LC10 series, effectively shelving any meaningful development of the Allegro and Marina successors until the Metro was in production. Adoption of Hydragas, rather than steel was promoted as time-saving measure, as integrating front wheel drive and steel suspension would require a time-consuming learning process for the designers.

      This seems specious given that Triumph had been making steel-sprung front wheel drive cars from 1965 to 1972, and Issigonis’s 9X pet project was also steel-sprung. Somebody must have made a good job of selling the Hydragas idea to Edwardes, but it made it a very expensive – as in marginally profitable – car. Honda, VW and Ford had – long before – shown how to achieve effective results with very simple suspensions, learning at the fountainhead of Dante Giacosa. Renault, PSA, and Opel were soon to follow.

      The counter-argument in favour of the Metro’s ‘evolutionary’ Mini-derived suspension was that ten years on they got it right, and brought something sui generis with genuine ride/handling benefits to the market.

      Another counter-argument was the total arse BL/ARG’s engineers made of the ‘clean-sheet’ Maestro and Montego. These cars’ suspension was actually ok, having been shamelessly copied from VAG designs, but just about everything else was wrong.

  17. What changes if any were planned for the mk4 before its culling is another question?

    Beyond the two-tone paint, was the mk4 Allegro to be an interim model along the lines of the Ital and Ambassador with reskinned front/rear and possibly a 1.6 R-Series (thereby sparing the Maestro) or something altogether more extensive despite likely lasting 1-2 years or so (1984-ish)?

    Was under the impression the Metro back to ADO74 was in some respects a swb Allegro by way of similar width afaik, even if it also carried over much from the Mini.

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