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Austin AR6 (1987)
08 October 2007 11:41
So what went wrong?
In a word – money, or the lack of it. Product planners and designers had the AR6 penned it in for a 1988 launch, but when the £400m-or-so that was needed to get it into production wasn’t forthcoming in the run-up to the 1987 General Election, the programme was put on ice, and replaced by the R6 plan – re-engineering the existing Metro to accept K-Series power.
So futuristic was the AR6 back in the 80s?
Cheerily described in internal documents as an aluminium-bodied 100mpg supermini to beat all-comers, the AR6 project made it no further than the glassfibre bodied prototype that survives today at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon – and which was scooped in the pages of CAR Magazine back in 1986. When the political storm of the mid-Eighties robbed us of that car, Rover's chances of long-term future survival were almost fatally damaged.