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‘I absolutely love this particular car which took me over 20 years to secure, so it’s going nowhere’. Ian’s 1975 Austin Allegro 1300 Super is certainly an eye-catching machine, not least the paint finish – ‘“Citron Yellow”; a rare survivor and a colour that is seen on MGs of the same period and the Jubilee Marinas’.
There are certain once ubiquitous cars that often cause people to suddenly ask ‘when did I last see one of those?’ It is an extensive list, one to which you could include the Ford Sierra Mk.1, the Austin Montego, the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk. 3, the Peugeot 405, the original incarnation of the Renault 5 – and the Morris Marina.
There are certain sights and sounds that can immediately recapture the past – Nigel Planer singing Hole in My Shoe, the opening to The Comic Strip Presents... – and the sight of a well-preserved Marina or Ital Van. It would not be a typical month in 1980s suburbia without seeing a BT Morris attending to yet another malfunctioning telephone box.
The year is 1982. Adam Ant’s solo record Goody Two Shoes is topping the charts, and the tabloid press is ranting how a forthcoming BBC programme called The Young Ones will cause the end of civilisation. Meanwhile, a holiday in Weymouth awaits, and your home from home is a Morris Marina 575 Suntor. James Ebden’s rather stunning example is a reminder of this camper’ popularity in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
One of the rarest versions of the Morris Marina was never available in the UK. 1973 saw the Australian-built Red Six debut, with power from a 2.6-litre version of the E-Series engine. Today, Don, who resides in New Zealand, owns a very rare example of one of BL’s most intriguing models.
It would be mission impossible to select a Car of The Show from the thousands of fine machines at the recent BMC & Leyland Show 2021. However, it would be fair to say that one of the vehicles that attracted the most attention was the Austin 3-Litre Ambulance owned by John Wilkins.
There are those rare occasions when your rare and desirable classic turns out to be even rarer and more desirable than you first imagined. For example, 37 years ago, Edward acquired a 1969 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk.
You could not miss an Austin Allegro Equipe, even at midnight, in the middle of the fog during a power cut. It was not just the way in which the orange and red stripes complemented the metallic silver coachwork; it was the black spoiler, the GKN alloy wheels and the front fog lamps. Inside there was an alloy-spoked steering wheel, all-black headling and the orange & black houndstooth check upholstery. This was not merely a two-door 1750 HL with ideas above its station – this was executive living, late 1970s style.
A major pleasure of the classic world is encountering a car that you a) had only ever read about and b) were convinced had completely vanished off the face of the planet. A vehicle that fulfils both of these criteria – the Austin Metro Cooper was shown at the NEC show last month.