Guess What This Austin Allegro Actually Is Underneath

I’m sure for our regular readers who spotted my byline here, this isn’t really a difficult question. Yes, under that 1980 Austin Allegro body beats the air-cooled heart of an old Volkswagen Beetle. Actually, it’s the whole chassis, not just the engine, so maybe it’s beats the heart and resides the, um, musculoskeletal system? Whatever. It’s amazing.

The badge is a nice touch

The Austin Allegro doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation, and is usually only discussed when people want to talk about the decline of the British motor industry. And, sure, quality control was pretty abysmal, and the factories seemed to produce more strikes than cars, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Allegro, mostly due to its looks.

I’ve always thought the fastback look of the Allegro was quite handsome and sleek; sure, it makes no sense it wasn’t an actual hatchback, but that only helps this particular conversion. The idea of the attractive (well, to me) and unusual Allegro body on a Beetle chassis seems sort of ideal.


You get a roomy, four-door body, and the easy-to-maintain, well-known VW mechanicals. It’s sort of like an alternate-universe version of a VW Type 4, in a way.

Here’s what the seller says about it in the eBay ad:

Here we have a 1980 Austin Allegro 4 door bodyshell, proffesionally restored to a high standard, no rust. Any rusted or damaged areas have been cut out and replaced with new metal, not filler. It has the Vanden Plas dashboard and door cards, MG ZR seats and new carpet and headlining. There is an essential metal firewall welded in place behind the rear seat making the seat useable but mainly for show.

This body has then been mounted on a Volswagen Beetle, 1984 Mexican import floorpan. complete with the VW steering, suspension engine and drivetrain. The car is registered as a VW Beetle 1200. This is all legal as the floorpan has not been altered and the body is mounted to the original beetle mounting points. The car has disc brakes on the front and adjustable coilovers on the rear. What you see in the photos is its normal running height. The engine has been upgraded with 1650 twin port pots and twin carbs. There is an electric convector heater fitted inside the allegro heater box, which works as good as the vw system and no risk of gassing yourself. Spare wheel and fuel tank under the bonnet.

Drives, handles and sounds like a Beetle—-Looks like an Allegro

What gets me about this conversion is just how well it appears to have been done. Look at how nicely the front trunk was converted from the old Allegro engine bay:


That’s pretty nice, and looks like a good amount of room, too!


It’s got a twin-carb 1650cc engine back there, a configuration that should be good for 65-70 horsepower or so, most likely. That’s a bit of an improvement on the Allegro if it had many of the engine options, which ranged from 1100cc to 1275cc and 45-62 hp. There was a 76 hp option and a 1748cc 90 hp monster, but aside from that the VW flat-four should have power in line with what this car was designed for.

There’s one video of the unholy chimera out there, and, yep, it sounds like a Beetle:

I think this thing would be a nice, confusing blast. If any of our UK readers happens to part with sanity long enough to snap this thing up, please let me know!

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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)