I have nothing against English people per sae, some of my best friends are English, but...there seems to be alarming amount of Brit nationals managing (or rather mismanaging) our major corporations. It seems not a day goes by without one of these characters trying to give a positive spin on their disastrous management polices on National Radio's Morning Report. Why I think with all my highly competent NZ friends largely under utilised (if not unemployed) do these idiots have these jobs? When that happens I think of Reginald Perrin. Not that I hold his bumbling bureaucratic nonsense as any way to proceed, but rather I think about how whenever his mother-in-law was mentioned he thought of a hippopotamus. Well when I hear these prisoners of misguided thinking talk, I think of well...the Austin Allegro.
I know this is weird. But this is British management for you. You know the empire and all that, they won the war with the Spitfire (and later used the British engine in the P51 Mustang) the bouncing bomb, the first computer, Concorde etc. then the Allegro. How did they f%@k it up? I think it should be compulsory for all of these corporate highflyers originating from mother England to have a an Austin Allegro on the front of their CVs! To remind us how bad British Management all got..
However (and before I get accused of hate speech) back when things were good they produced these two fabulous marvels of automotive engineering. And they are marvels, they are British and they rate! The fact they are both bottom dwellers on the NZ classic scene is completely beyond me.
Lets start with the Triumph, this came from nowhere, how Triumph suddenly started making this superb saloon from a bunch of old Vanguard parts I don’t know, but they did. These cars have timeless quality, they still look good, seem incredibly hardwearing, don't seem to rust and have lovely dynamics. This was recently brought home to me when I got out of a late Model Mazda6 (itself not a shabby piece of automotive engineering) and drove one. Next to the Mazda it felt... possibly... tens years old. certainly not fifty! And it handled. Get behind the wheel of one of these Triumphs and suddenly your brio is up! You want to take the next corner far too fast and it loves it! Nothing unsettles it, and it's pin point steering gives you that gorgeous precise feeling on the road. With its independent chassis all round it just flows and rides and corners, its beautiful, with it's silky smooth six it puts to shame so many cars on the road. It feels so safe. (give it some airbags , I'm sure it would fly through the Ancap rating) It would outperform the 3 previous posts cars in every way yet these cars remain stubbornly cheap.
Talking of lovely dynamics the Rover if anything is even better! With its stylish good looks (I'm bias here I think the Rover is one of the best looking four door saloons ever) the P6 doesn't feel quite as modern as the Triumph, but it does feel...Everything has tactile edge of quality about it. (An Aston martin or Rolls could hardly be more) There is is no skimping here. Nothing is tacky. Everything is built to last (except the Lucas electrics) and they do last, Just look at the lovely 3500 lingering on trade me at 2.5K! Non-restored, still could be a daily driver. You could run it easy, despite the gas and maintenance bills for less than your modern is depreciating. And they are fast! the 3500 runs out of steam at 125 mph, but its accelerated all the way there. My personal fave, the 2000TC is good for 115mph! (In my youth I spent my time dragging off RX3s, I couldn’t get them at the lights but on the highway I slaughtered them; in the speed zone just where their steering was getting wobbly and the rotary sounding coarse the Rover just roared on by) Why are they so cheap? If they had more exotic nameplates (Alfa, Citroen or BMW perhaps) they might be more collectable. But they don’t and they're not, they're over here and they're cheap.
They're cheap because they were made here (we even exported them to Australia), because they last forever, because there were lots of them.
Its a funny thing, How did the British loose their car industry when they made such good cars as these. They should still be making them, Updated of course, the way BMW and Mercedes developed their sixties models they still make. The Japanese did alot better with a lot worse. Imagine what they’d done if they’d taken over one of these cars. Instead British management stuffed it up and gave us...the Austin Allegro. You wander how they ever won the Battle of Britain? Oh that’s right there was a New Zealander in charge!