Austin Allegro by Andy Saunders
Austin’s Allegro cannot be considered a high point in the history of the British auto industry, and indeed some see it as emblematic of the difficulties that faced British Leyland in the seventies. It had a style that many considered unattractive and thick, and the well-publicized quality issues that plagued Leyland during this period did not add to the model’s reputation. Nevertheless, over 640,000 were built from 1973 to 1983 and with ample interior room and good handling and ride from the Hydragas suspension it met the needs of many family motorists, mostly in the UK market.
In spite of an original television advertisement showing the Allegro being driven aggressively through a rock quarry while a James Bond-like voice proclaimed its virtues, the much-derided model would seem to be an unlikely candidate for transformation into a sleek, stylish roadster. However that is precisely what Andy Saunders has done in “All-Ego”. It sprang forth from a 1977 Austin Allegro and was built in an amazing three days in December 2006 for a television pilot called “Juice My Lemon”, described by Saunders as a cross between the American program “Pimp My Ride” and “The Benny Hill Show”. His vision was of a speedster, which entailed strengthening the car to allow for the removal of the roof, re-shaping of the front and rear, adding a pair of faired-in headrests and a chopped windscreen. Deep side air scoops, “angel eye” headlights and slim, curved Fiat taillights complete the look.
Large 195 x 40 x 17 tyres mounted on alloy wheels and a two-tone “acid yellow” and grey paint finish give “All-Ego” the requisite design prototype appearance. Following the taping of the show, an additional 150 hours were spent refining, tidying and sorting the car.
“All-Ego” has never been displayed at any shows, but has been featured in Classics Monthly and Brit Chop magazines, as well as The Sun newspaper. In regarding “All-Ego”, it is difficult to conceive that Andy Saunders creates his cars without drawings or plans. He “sees” the car in his mind, then with unique talent executes it flawlessly according to his vision. Perhaps there is no transformation from lumpy saloon to sexy roadster better realized than this!
Sources & Photo Credits: Andy Saunders and RM Auctions