Monday, 19 September 2011

ADO 35 is alive and well

There have been two takes on the Mini by the great Pininfarina, and both prototypes were made in conjunction with BMC themselves. Although we will probably never be sure about it, I suspect the British Motor Company to have been impressed by David Ogle's Mini based Ogle SX1000, speeding up their plan to build a similar car themselves, a task they asked the corporation of Pininfarina for.

The two different prototypes built were named 'ADO 34' and 'ADO 35' for 'Austin Drawing Office' and the subsequent numbers that the projects were given (some more information here). ADO 34 comes as a two-seat, open-top sports car that is well known among Mini enthusiasts. It has featured in umpteen magazine articles and books and spends it days in the British Motor Heritage Centre in Gaydon as 'The roadster that could have been'.

ADO 35 is the opposite in many ways. That particular prototype came as a closed coupe to seat four in the first place but, secondly, has just about never seen publicity, triggering me to find out more about it. The car was said to have been built as a potential Sprite/Midget replacement and was thought lost for decades untill it resurfaced in the late 1980s. In fact, not much more than the all aluminium body survived but still there were some Italian fittings to be found such as Ferrari door locks and a Ferrari window winding mechanism. The car's owner decided to restore it to its full former glory and over 20 years have passed since.

It took me a while to track down the owner, and now that I have spoken to him I understand he'd rather not have his unique coupe photographed and wishes to remain anonymous, which of course I respect. He told me that progress has been slow because of the inability to source front and rear screens, but that the car is now in one piece. I understand it comes in its original colour now, which is aptly named Farina Grey. Never the less he was kind enough to send me a lovely line drawing of ADO 35. So, boys and girls, see here the Mini based coupe that could have been...

A line drawing of the Pininfarina designed 'ADO 35' Mini based coupe


  1. Does it have a square steeringwheel?

    (design taken later on to produce the (in)famous...A..gro?)


  2. Ah, you mean the legendary Quartic steering wheel...
    Personally I think ADO34 as well as ADO35 share much of their lines with the Peugeot 204 roadster and coupe - also Pininfarina designs.

  3. So sad the owner doesnt show his car as it is such a beauty (magazine cover look). Pininfarina studio was at its best!