The proposed replacements - Aerodynamic saloon


In 1967 rumours of a merger between BMC and Leyland had begun to surface and Issigonis was keen to have a smaller car developed just in case new management might have a different view from Harriman's. Issigonis arranged for Pininfarina to be sent an 1100 platform from Innocenti, which assembled the car in Milan. Fioravanti was keen to show that the same aerodynamic shape and proportions, applied to the original 1800 concept could be transferred to a smaller car.

BMC had figured that if reaction was good the car could go into production very quickly. The motoring press had been criticising the present family saloons of looking alike and sharing the same three box design. BMC's 1100, 1300 and 1800 range was an exception to the trend, they were beginning to look "dumpy".

Pininfarina had in effect suggested the next step for the BMC transverse engine, front drive layout, and would go a long way to meeting the anticipated needs of motoring in the early '70s. These thoughts were echoed by Autocar who wrote: "a demonstration that so far as styling for the '70s is concerned, this it the kind of shape we shall all be driving". Something BMC/BL should have picked up on and run with, but sadly the BL management under Lord Stokes wanted nothing to do with either an ultra-advanced small car or Pininfarina.

Good all round vision, this could have been the start of the safest cars on Britain's roads...

Perhaps the biggest failing of the car is the length of the nose. It could be considered that if this was cut down in size it would perhaps spoil the clean lines. However, Citroen managed this with the GS and ended up with a fantastic product.

Four selling points of the car were:

Spacious interior for passengers and luggage.
Good aerodynamics, with blending lines for minimum wind resistance and silence.
Big windows all round for good outlook and safety.
Simplicity of line, no bright metal, no radiator grille, rubber bumpers and enclosed headlamps.

The interior was also designed with safety in mind. There were padded and rounded surfaces and edges and recessed into the dashboard. Headrests were fitted the seats in order to make the car safer in the event of an accident. In addition to safety features the car also featured a central locking device to all five doors in order to lock them at the flick of a switch. Ideal for night time driving, or those less desirable areas.

The ADO16 version of the aerodynamic saloon

The rubber bumpers perhaps a basis for SRV5?

The larger aerodynamic saloon based on the 1800.

The boot in the aerodynamic saloon was slightly more accessible than in ADO16, but the rear valance could be a hindrance to the load space.

The steering column is mounted on a double knuckle to allow it to adjust to suit the driver. The controls are easy to access and the level of padding in the passenger cabin can be clearly seen.

BL gave up on the idea, but Citroen were quick to jump on the idea. Whether or not Pininfarina had anything to do with it remains open to debate. I'm sure you'll agree the GS looks more European version.


Rover SD1


David Bache appeared to use the Aerodynamic saloon to base the SD1 on. Granted it has been brought up to date, but a number of the original features still are in there!

     Back to the top

Subscribe to the RSS: Want to keep up with the all the changes as they're made? Click the logo to below to subscribe to the RSS feed Subscribe to What's New.

Got any comments? If you've something to say about the page content, or have something that you feel relevant you'd like us to add then please contact us using this link.

Spotted an error? If you've noticed a factual or typographical error, missing image or broken link on this page, please let us know about it using this link. Limited is registered in England and Wales number 10466013. Registered office: 43 Marquis Drive, Heald Green, Cheshire, SK8 3HS.