The Austin Maestro / Montego Story

  • Published on: 28 July 2019
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    The Maestro was the car that killed Austin Rover. Poised on a knife-edge in the early 80’s between survival and disaster, this car, and its booted Montego sister, caused its death. Not right away – plenty of Government subsidies and deals with Honda and BMW gave the company another 20 years, but this was the critical moment when it all went wrong. When the company lost its ability to chart its own destiny. So why were these cars such poor-sellers, and why did a company that made the critically successful Metro, get it all wrong with its follow-up?
  • Runtime : 18:48
  • austin maestro austin montego rover montego rover maestro


  • Big Car
    Big Car   6 months ago

    Errata: Roy Axe came from Chrysler, not Ford.

  • Roger King
    Roger King   18 hours ago

    I bought a Maestro within a year of its introduction and the design was fundamentally sound, particularly with regard to interior space, which we needed with two kids. Oh, I forgot to mention reliability; over the course of three years I had four door handles just snap off in my hand, the fuel computer that controlled the carburettor failed (the guy in the dealership genuinely told me that "they all do that sir", as if that made it alright), the gear linkage constantly fell to bits, the passenger floor became wet every time it rained, it would often refuse to start when hot and had to be left to cool down for a couple of hours before trying again, the dashboard lights mostly failed, etc. You'd think I was unlucky, but my next door neighbour had the same model and he literally had all the same faults. I was one of the reasons that Rover went bust because I never touched another one of their products.

  • gixeff 750
    gixeff 750   3 days ago

    "The definately not boring Cavalier" what the feck are you on about!? The MK2 Cav was one of the squarest, flimsy looking blando-mobiles ever made and looks very late 70s even though it was an 80s car... At least the Maestro/Montego range looked modern and chunky..

  • gixeff 750
    gixeff 750   3 days ago

    Roy Axe couldn't style a fart, just look at his back catalogue, shite

  • gixeff 750
    gixeff 750   3 days ago

    4.19 shows a 1275 A series, not the R series...

  • Paul Francis
    Paul Francis   6 days ago

    This is the most factually inaccurate video so far. Still more entertaining than television though, keep it up.

  • fordlandau
    fordlandau   1 weeks ago

    The rot set in when BMC was formed. BL just inherited the smelly corpse. The result was a zombie car company tottering around on transfusions of tax payer money. The longest running joke in car manufacturing was euthanased when BMW dumped Rover. Now MG is a Chinese creation. Mini is still the inheritor of bad British build and design. The Morris Marina looks like a winner in retrospect.

  • Robert Willis
    Robert Willis   1 weeks ago

    It was the Unions and Management that killed BL. Too many staff, not doing enough work when there. Very poor quality control.

  • Perfect Gentlemen
    Perfect Gentlemen   1 weeks ago

    Look I know it was a long time ago but it looked shite compared to the golf even then.

  • Alejandra y Alan Bowman

    The Maestro was an excellent car. The early Montego estates were quite good but the later ones were too plasticky and the plastic deteriorated so fast that as fast as you replaced it, it broke up again.

  • Guy Jonson
    Guy Jonson   1 weeks ago

    Very unexiting styling. No wonder it fell. Just like all the rest, Metro Allegro. ...

  • james hill
    james hill   1 weeks ago

    I bought my wife a nearly new MG Maestro.A brilliant motor.Well balanced power to weight,great on the M/way.An all round brilliant car.

  • MAUS
    MAUS   1 weeks ago

    The Monstro......Hilarious :)

  • tonycatman
    tonycatman   1 weeks ago

    Montego 1.6 was my first company car. It left me stranded in different towns all over England.

  • Dead Hand
    Dead Hand   2 weeks ago

    The worst car I ever drove was a 6 cyl Marina that a mate had when I was 18 it was old and clapped by then and literally wouldn't turn at over 20km it was so nose heavy lol such a death trap

    TWTR4EVER   3 weeks ago

    The Austin Maestro/Montego were the equivalent of the AMC Pacer. Fishbowls on wheels that nobody wanted.

  • James Latimer
    James Latimer   3 weeks ago

    You all ways make really good videos thanks and keep it British if you CAN people ,, not MUCH left of good old Blighty,!!

  • James Latimer
    James Latimer   3 weeks ago

    The Maestro GTI or EFI turbo look nice and it drove nice as well great cars and quite easy to work on unlike modern cars and they did not have DPF problems at all

  • Alan W
    Alan W   3 weeks ago

    Wow, never knew how unsuccessful these were. Saw plenty of them around when I was a kid but always preferred the look of the Montego as the Maestro looked like the rear was cut off. Great story as always.

  • R08Tam
    R08Tam   3 weeks ago

    The Maestro was the last British car my Dad owned. Every time you shut the door the dashboard popped up. He bought a Datsun Cherry and never looked back.

  • Arjuna Krishna-Das
    Arjuna Krishna-Das   3 weeks ago

    I had a Maestro. I got given it. I paid too much. It was fairly roomy, and went well enough... when it went. I kept a bag in the boot specifically for keeping bits that fell off. Unreliable as feck, I kept vowing to get rid of it, but every time I forked out another £400 repair bill, like a fool, I felt like I had to get my money's worth. In the end, an ex drove it into a Mercedes truck and wrote it off. The Merc had a scratched bumper.

  • gilburton
    gilburton   3 weeks ago

    Had a maestro 1.3. It worked well enough was roomy and cheap to repair. Shame about the handbrake cables though,bad design.I also hired a montego diesel estate for a week and that was some car. Not sure what the model was but it had the 7 seats which is why I hired it.Took us up to Scotland and back and I couldn't believe how economical it was.As cars they did the job but they just didn't have that sparkle that a lot of new cars had.Just look at old videos of 70's Britain that has street scenes in it and look at the British cars back then. Very few foreign cars lol

  • Samjai Sam
    Samjai Sam   3 weeks ago

    No that wasn't the end yet - the MG brand was finally sold to the Chinese who are now using it to produce cars that have no relevance to the original MGs at all!

  • Brian Nicholls
    Brian Nicholls   1 months ago

    My first ever car given to me by my aunty, 1.6HLS faster S series engine than an XR3 controversial ! Proven many times up Blackgang hill. It leaked a LOT of oil.

  • Peter Peter
    Peter Peter   1 months ago

    60mpg tat 56 mph sounded good for the time.... IF it was accurate!?

  • Peter Peter
    Peter Peter   1 months ago

    I don't think they looked dated. I thought the dashboard was very modern. Montego especially had a good style.But the Vanden Plas and MG looked way ahead of even the HLS interior wise.

  • Peter Peter
    Peter Peter   1 months ago

    Yep appalling quality.My father had one. Seduced by the leather and walnut and trip computer etc.Engine packed up within a year. By 18 months they agreed to give him a new engine... engine for the car, not a new car.He asked "a new engine". They said no "we can do better than that... a gold seal reconditioned engine".Sounded like BS, but apparently these, due to testing were more reliable than new engines of that series.Soon after he was back to Volkswagen who were LIGHT years ahead of Austin.

  • Piotr Malewski
    Piotr Malewski   1 months ago

    I don't see why Roy Axe compalined about Montego's and Maestro's design. Sounds like a typical yelling of a man who wants to make everybody in the room sure, that he knows better. Both cars look exactly as any typical car of the times, that is similar and equally awful.

  • soco13466
    soco13466   1 months ago

    British cars have a look that says, "Good enough for who it's for, the proles." The styling generally is second rate. Government can't be in the car business. Bureaucrats are too dull and grey minded to create consumer products. Add to that, the oil leaks, bad fit and finish, and bad wiring will kill a car company, added to labor problems. It all amounts to cynicism and mediocrity.

  • ridderkerk93
    ridderkerk93   1 months ago

    If only the Maestro/Montego were like the Rover R8. They got it right there.Mind you, if only is a phrase I think a lot when it's about BL's history

  • barry rudge
    barry rudge   1 months ago

    Rover became another way of spelling shite

  • robsa walker
    robsa walker   1 months ago

    Brilliant, so there are RHD Maestros out there registered is 2001!! On UK roads! Nuts.

  • G Cooper
    G Cooper   1 months ago

    Where does the Morris Ital fit into all of this. I remember we had one when I was a kid in the 80s and it looks very like a Montego, but maybe a more 70s version. Edit - I'm just looking at some photos online. I'd forgotten what a huge chunky thing it was. Looks a lot less like the Montego than I remember.

  • area51isreal
    area51isreal   1 months ago

    I love your channel mate and I wish somebody here in Australia would do the same about the cars we produced here. Any chance you could have a look at the Australian cars that were exported to the UK? Chrysler Australia started exporting Valiant Regals in the mid to late sixties. By the early seventies the Valiant Charger, Valiant station wagon (estate) and long wheelbase Chrysler sedan were exported too. Ford Australia also exported cars that were made here to the UK.

  • sally tang
    sally tang   1 months ago

    I have to say, the Maestros I had were pretty good and much better than my metro. These videos look to be well researched but not the product of any first hand knowledge.

  • N0rdman
    N0rdman   1 months ago

    Even though these cars really didn't encourage much interest or come on my radar at the time because of (naturally) styling but also reliability; the story behind them and their struggle are very interesting. Thank you for weaving an intriguing and interesting story.

  • burntorangeak
    burntorangeak   1 months ago

    Remove VW transmission,Install it in a Golf,Drive that.