Austin manufactured a small family car on May 1973 and named it as Austin Allegro. It was made available in the market since 1973 to 1982. A total of 642,350 Austin Allegro cars were sold during its 10-year production life, the majority of it were bought on the home market. The car’s launch timing was perfect. The ADO16 sales were falling. The Maxi had failed to enter the market.
Image Source: classicandperformancecar.com
The Austin Allegro is a technologically advanced car but was highly criticized and becomes the center for all that was wrong with British Leyland. During its existence in the market, it suffered a lot from bad publications and jokes it eventually stopped its production in 1982. But the sale of the Austin Allegro 1100/1300 is not bad at all. If in the past, the car suffered a lot because of its negative image now it has become more appealing, and one of the sought after affordable classic.
Allegro Impressive Features
The 1275cc engine for 1300 variants. Image Source: ado16.info
At first, it was only available in 2 and 4-door saloon design. After several years, the range was extended to add a convenient station wagon body form. The term Allegro may mean to perform or move at a fast speed, but with this little saloon, they should have called them Lento (a slow tempo in music) instead. The engines may vary from a 49bhp 1.1 to a 1750cc unit with twin-carb 90bhp. Cars with larger capacity can perform well.
The 1.5 and 1.7 vehicles got 5-speed gearboxes, and the small A-series 1.1 and 1.3 has 4-speed units, for other models an automatic could be appropriate. The equipment levels were tight, with entry-level vehicles having with vinyl seating, no radios and wind up everything. If you choose the one with a radio and has a better trim, suggested were the mid-range models. But if you prefer a real small car opulence, go for the Vanden Plas models. Most of the models have optional automatic transmission and feature a wood and leather trim, with picnic tables at the back. Unfortunately, a ridiculous looking front grille was a standard fixture.
Image Source: telegraph.co.uk
One of the useful features of Allegro is the new Hydragas suspension, advanced electronic cooling fan, and the front drive layout. It also has a Quadratic rectangular or square steering wheel, manufactured to provide easier viewing of the lightly equipped dashboard equipment, it was pulled out of the market in 1975 as what car owners saw was red. Earlier the suspension is somewhat unrefined but was improved over the years and the Series 3 were managed well and with smooth riding.
In the past, the Austin 1100/1300 encountered serious negative feedbacks that affect its reputation. But they were able to address concerns thru the Series 2 models in 1975 with improved suspension and interior. Most of the issues were dealt with in Series 3 in 1979 both minor and major. At present, the issues that plagued the Allegro in the past, whether mechanical or political are resolved. The car is fun to drive with, reliable and the spare parts can be found.
Common Issues with Allegro Austin
Some of the usual problems that Allegro owners encountered are as follows:
- The Allegro spare parts are difficult to find. However, if you join the UK Allegro Club, you will have easy access to their stocks and will give you advice about maintaining the car and other concerns.
- The A series engines may be slow, but you can find more parts for them, and they are more reliable as compared to the bigger 1.5 and 1.7 E- series engines. The E-series having A-plus specs engines are smoother and are recommended if you can find one.
- The older models lack structural integrity, and it might have undergone major chassis repairs and stress cracks. The Series 1 build quality was likewise inconsistent, the later models were much improved, but the dashboard issues and loose trim is not yet resolved.
- The 4-speed gearboxes and automatics are durable. Stretched cable selectors can be replaced easily.
- During the Allegro time, rust is a very common problem, especially the trouble areas on the Allegro are front wings, corrosion on the rear arches and windscreen. Blocked drainage holes can easily destroy a good door. Improved cars are resistant to rust than their European competitors.
- Electrical systems may cause a problem if the connections are rusted. Otherwise, they are reliable.
Image Source: curbsideclassic.com
The Austin Allegro 1100/1300 may experience its worst time in the early 70’s, but it was resolved now, and the car is having the time of its life. The phrase “Good or bad publicity is still publicity” may have worked for the Allegro. It is now considered as a fun classic car that is very affordable. With a small but keen group of supporters, the much-criticized Allegro is now one of the world’s little first classic.
Written by Stephen Foreman http://innovatecar.com