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One car I have long craved is the A70 Hampshire. Firstly, there is my abiding fascination with the immediate post-war era, as the Austin made its bow in October 1948 into a world of smog, Woodbines and black and white films starring Nigel Patrick.
You’d have thought the “Allegro Joke” was utterly and totally played out circa 2002, but even today Alexandra Phillips of Gloucestershire still occasionally encounters a few remarks along the lines of ‘when I say I have classic cars “Oh, what have you got?” Austin Allegro. "Ha ha ha ha that's not a classic"’ plus ‘always you've got the “All Aggro" comments – I just block them out’.
The year is 1951, and one of the star attractions of the London Motor Show is the latest small Austin. Countless visitors to Earls Court marvelled at the ‘chassis less’ construction – a ‘first’ for Longbridge, the smart lines and the new 803cc OHV engine.
As with many of my generation, I first encountered the Austin K2/Y via re-screenings of Ice Cold in Alex on television. It is a film that showcases the talents of John Mills and Anthony Quayle at their considerable best and one of the principal characters is the battered but indomitable ambulance, which was one of the key British military vehicles of the Second World War.
As the Land Rover Defender has recently passed into motoring history, it is timely to remember one of the British pretenders to its crown. The Austin Champ now seems to belong to a black and white past of National Servicemen in Pathé Newsreels and low-budget science fictions films about alien beings invading Chobham Common. - Written by Andy Roberts
There is one question that Steve Waddingham is often asked regarding his 1975 Austin Allegro – 'where's the square steering wheel...?'.
Anyone who visited the 1980 Motor Show will recall the crowds around the new Austin Min Metro and Ford Escort Mk. III – plus a new Lancia, for the Trevi made its British debut at the NEC.