This is a Story about the Austin Allegro
About The Austin AllegroLatin for 'fast', although Austin's adverts claimed that the car was not just quick, it had 'supervroom'. No car divided opinion like the Allegro. Some thought that it was bulbous and ugly, whilst others admired its soft curves and resolved angles. Some were prepared to buy British, and put up with random electrical and mechanical faults, whilst others bought one of the new wave of small Japanese cars that didn't break down - a pattern that continued throughout the 80s until Austin itself was partnered with Honda.
For some, the Allegro was the beginning of the end. Before the Allegro, the British car industry had produced a series of distinctive, best-selling cars - the Mini, the E-Type, Rover's big V8 saloons, the MGB - after the Allegro, it seemed hell-bent on self-destruction. Throughout the 80s, the Allegro was a painful reminder of strikes, three-day weeks, uncollected rubbish and power cuts, but sometime in the mid-90s its reputation started to pick up. A generation that could barely remember seeing an Allegro on the road embraced everything 70s, and it was inevitable that the chunky car would be caught up in the slipstream of nostalgia.
For the Allegro epitomised the 1970s, despite hanging on until 1982. The colour scheme, for example, was almost uniformly earth-toned, with browns and oranges blending into an organic whole that, two decades later, screams of Disney's EPCOT centre and those orange plastic chairs you had in school. The mechanical components had a habit of going on strike, and the clash of old-fashioned build with random futurism spoke of a profound misunderstanding of the modern world - like your dad trying to dance, it wanted to be young and fresh, but wasn't.
One year after the Allegro was launched, Volkswagen first sold the Golf, a well-built, sharp-looking modern hatchback that is still around, in modified form, today.