AUSTIN ALLEGRO REVIEW

Tips on how to find an Allegro you can depend on...

 

In 1973 British Leyland unleashed the Austin Allegro on to a world that probably wasn’t quite ready for it. Replacing the much-loved but aged 1100/1300 was never going to be easy, but the roly-poly styling and an attempt to reinvent the (steering) wheel with its rectangular Quartic helm meant it had an uphill struggle from the get-go. Unfortunately, as British Leyland’s woes worsened and the Allegro became the pin-up for its problems, fewer and fewer customers decided to indulge. 

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Austin Allegro 1300 Super

Engine                                    1275cc/4-cyl/OHV

Power (bhp@rpm)                  59bhp@5300rpm

Torque (lb ft@rpm)                 68.5lb ft@3000rpm

Top speed                                84mph

0-60mph                                  18.4sec

Consumption                            31mpg

Gearbox                                    4-spd manual/4-spd auto opt.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

BODYWORK & CHASSIS
 

Front valances rust – an MoT failure – as does the metal behind the fog lamps/dummy grilles. Corrosion can also strike around the sidelights/indicators and in both front wheelarches. Front wings deteriorate by their bottom corners, and look for rust under the windscreen. In the engine bay, look for bubbling paint due to fluid spills from the brake and clutch reservoirs. Wet carpets indicate water can’t drain from the bulkhead air intake grille. Series 2-on cars had plastic sill covers, which can mask rust underneath. Door bottoms will start to disappear if their drain holes are blocked. Look for bad corrosion at the bottom of the rear arches, which can spread to the rear subframe mountings.

ENGINE

There are two engine types: A-series 1000s, 1100s and 1300s, and E-series 1500s and 1750s. A-series engines are tough and simple, and parts are plentiful. Excessive blue smoke from the exhaust during starting and on the overrun points to significant wear. Fumes from under the filler cap are also a concern. In 1982 stronger, smoother A-plus engines were fitted. The E-series engine is the weaker of the two units and parts are less plentiful. 

Head gasket issues can also strike, and noisy timing chains are trickier to replace. Identify worn crankshaft bearings as a growl from the bottom end.

RUNNING GEAR

A-series cars have four-speed gearboxes, which suffer few troubles. E-series have five-speeders that are usually quite baulky in use and top gear can be very difficult to find. Auto boxes go on for ages, but stretched selector cables will cause issues and are not easy to source for 1500 and 1750 models. Check the car is sitting level all around – if not, the worst case scenario is failed displacer units, though they’re still available. On your test drive listen for clicking noises from the wheels at full lock, pointing to a worn CV joint. 


INTERIOR

Basic Allegros had vinyl upholstery, which is more resilient than the brushed nylon of Series 3 and velour of HLS types. Dashboards and trim often rattle, sag or come loose. Vanden Plas models had wood and leather to worry about, which will obviously cost more to put right if shabby. Electrical issues are usually down to bad earths or corroded connections, especially around the underbonnet fuse box.   

OUR VERDICT

There’s been a growing appreciation in recent years for these characterful, practical classics. Custodianship of an Allegro is often a quite hilarious experience and you’ll never be far from a good joke or two. Best of all, these Austins are cheap and cheerful to buy, run and maintain, and there are still plenty to go around. Forget your prejudices and try one – you may just find yourself growing to adore it.    

 

 

 

Recently Added

42966 1Sponsored Ad
1965
€72,500
  • 558
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1088709
Incredibly gorgeous Dearborn 1965 Ford Mustang GT convertible available. This is the original A c...
20
+31 575 564 055
View details
42885 1Sponsored Ad
1962
€57,500
SPRINT
  • 3,453
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1088597
Beautiful Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint. Delivered new in Switzerland in 1962 and comes from second owne...
20
+31 575 564 055
View details
44428 1Sponsored Ad
1992
£185,000
(964) RS Touring
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1094007
Following the demise of the 1973 Carrera 2.7RS, the 964 Carrera of 1991 became the next Porsche t...
3
01926 321 950
View details
P1230181Sponsored Ad
1992
£9,995
HF Turbo
  • 65,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1099632
1992 Lancia Delta HF Turbo. Black with unmarked alcantara upholstery. The Delta started productio...
20
01604 593 445
View details
P1230262Sponsored Ad
1972
£13,995
1900
  • 45,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1099626
1972 Opel GT 1900 Coupe Left Hand Drive. A striking car in Factory Orange with black upholstery. ...
19
01604 593 445
View details
HeraldSponsored Ad
1965
£5,750
1500
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099640
Herald 1500 estate
1
01823 729 687
View details
Merc 280slSponsored Ad
1983
£25,950
SL SPORT
  • 52,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099638
280SL Sports
1
01823 729 687
View details
Armstrong siddeley (2)Sponsored Ad
1937
£11,995
Upgraded Engine
  • 34,830
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099637
1937 Armstrong Siddeley 12/6 Saloon. Beautiful in Maroon over Cream with Barley leather upholster...
18
01604 593 445
View details
Ford escortSponsored Ad
1977
£12,995
MK1
  • 29,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099636
Ford Escort Mk1
1
01622 611 849
View details
10Sponsored Ad
1986
£16,995
  • 101,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1079590
Full service history, always garaged, starts every time, bodywork is solid, no rust, regularly se...
19
07952219157
View details
See All Classic Cars for Sale