Austin/MG Maestro/Montego (LM10/11)
Following hard on the heels of the Metro, the Maestro was supposed to return BL to profitability in the 1980s. In reality, it hit the market five years too late, and lacked the showroom appeal of the sharp-suited Ford Escort Mk3 and Vauxhall Astra.
The Maestro racked up even poorer sales figures than the Allegro despite being considerably more capable. Engines and (VW-sourced) gearboxes were a disappointment, and non-structural rust continues to be a real problem.
Considering the Montego is so closely based on the Maestro, it looks refreshingly different. Hardly handsome, but certainly a departure. Built to capture the hearts and minds of the UK’s company car drivers, the Montego performed exceedingly well considering its less-than-inspired underpinnings.
Wide range of engines (from 1.3- to 2.0-litres) and trim levels make this a car for all people, and as it’s currently unloved, it’s a bargain buy. Seven-seat Countryman estate is a cheap and very stylish people carrier – just make sure those sills aren’t too rusty and the engine is leak-free.
Reviews, blogs and news stories
The Metro started BL on its road to recovery, but if it was going to be a long term thing, then it needed to be followed up by equally popular mid-sized counterparts. However, the Maestro and Montego failed to capitalise on the lead pulled out by the impressive new supermini. Back from the brink? IN […]
Andrew Davis, a former worker at Cowley, sent us this fascinating image of one of those workaday hacks that never escape the factory. This one, a pick-up conversion of the Maestro, lived a long and absolutely fascinating life.
Updated: There was an operation to build Maestros in Bulgaria, and we have the full and exclusive story of how it came together. Thanks to ex-Rover Group and BAe executives, we have been able to piece together the story of the Roadacar assembly operation in Bulgaria and conclude why it failed in the way it did.
Anyone who knows Keith Adams might be a little surprised at this choice of Unsung Hero, especially considering the chequered history he has with A-Series Maestros. However, despite the dramas, there’s no doubting that Spen King’s post-Allegro Volkswagen Golf remix was far more worthy than the sum of its parts. The unfulfilled symphony If we […]
With the number of BMC>MGR cars on our roads diminishing rapidly, we take stock of the successive companies’ 10 most popular cars during the post-war years. Some of these numbers are going to shock you, simply because the cars are so rare on the road now. In fact, even the latest car on this list is now proving to be a rather unusual spot.
Craig Cheetham ANSWER: When it’s a Yema F16 SUV… Believe it or not, beneath the SUV-style exterior of this somewhat utilitarian-looking vehicle lurks the heart and soul of the Austin Maestro… The rights to the Maestro/Montego platform were passed to Yema in 2008 by FAW, which had been building a Montego-nosed Maestro van and various spin-off […]
A couple of years after production had ceased in the UK, the Montego was re-introduced in the Indian subcontinent in order to compete in the executive car market. WHEN BMW bought the Rover Group in 1994, it has been said many times that Bernd Pischetsrieder was surprised to find the antiquated Montego and its hatchback […]
To mark the 30th birthday of the Montego, Russ Swift kindly offered to help cut the cake at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show. Mike Humble spoke to the man who did the stunt driving in one of TV’s most memorable car adverts ever… The one thing about being the wrong side of 40 is […]
Never one to pass up a celebration, David Morgan raises a glass to 30 years of the MG Maestro EFi/2.0i and tells us why the appeal of this MG is still so special to him… David Morgan Go on, admit it, you have probably overlooked this milestone in the history of the Maestro, not to […]
Can anyone shed any light on this mysterious Maestro spotted by Mark Graham in the car park of Guildford railway station on Friday August 8th? Assuming it’s a British-built example then N-plate is very late indeed, but there doesn’t appear to any vehicle record relating to it on the DVLA Vehicle Enquiry website. It appears […]
LC10 was a conventional family hatchback in every sense of the word, and followed industry standard thinking in terms of mechanical layout. However, because of internal politics, lack of resources and the fact that the Metro had to come first, the Maestro seven years to get into production. Longbridge proposal
Sometime in 1979, the Austin-Morris product planners would have met with BL’s upper management to explain the LM10 strategy. This model set perfectly demonstrates how the Montego saloon and estate were developed from the Maestro, and more intriguingly, how an upper middle market hatchback was also planned. The modular model is comprised of a centre […]
You’ve seen the photoshops and the styling proposals, but here for the first time are the images that all Maestro and Montego fans have been waiting for. Thanks to Roy Axe, we get our first glimpse of the improved versions of the two cars that failed to sell in the numbers anticipated by their management. […]
The industry norm for the mid-1980s was for a car design to last about three-to-four years before it received its first facelift. In the case of the Maestro, the first facelift was planned for even before the original hit the streets. With thanks to Stephen Harper we now know just how radically they were thinking […]
Part of a three-pronged attack on the medium car sector, the LM11 was to be BL’s new mid-sized saloon, based heavily on the upcomng LM10 (nee LC10). LM11 was originally planned to sit closer to the LM10, performing a similar role to the hatchback that the VW Jetta does to the Golf, or the Orion […]
Keith Adams Oh, how time flies! The cold realisation that today marks the 30th Anniversary of the launch of the Austin Montego hits home just how time’s moved on – and how, if events had been kinder, the company which made this car might well still be with us. Indeed, in a way, it feels apt that we’re […]
Thirty years ago, British Leyland was on the cusp of launching its most important car in a decade – the Austin Maestro. And the company management was already beginning the important task of briefing the press… The Times, January 1983 BL’s hopes riding on Maestro in the medium car market On the road special report […]
Rover Special Products was one busy department during the early 1990s, and proof positive is this design sketch from Steve Harper. Keith Adams Jacked-up Monty As we know, Rover Special Products was a hot-house within the Rover Group, tasked with devising niche vehicles that could bring additional profit and glamour to the company’s model range […]
Yema, the current owner of the long-lived Maestro/Montego platform and tooling in China, has released its third SUV model, the F12. It’s a facelift of a facelift of a facelift, and features body styling redolent of the early 2000s Subaru Forester, with a new nose that’s clearly inspired by the Kia Sportage. Currently, only one […]
Keith Adams Friend of AROnline and all-round good-egg, James Agger, is taking his latest purchase to this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour, and is hoping to raise some money for BEN, and a few smiles along the way. The car he’s picked up is an original ex-Rodacar Ledbury-built Maestro, with that ideal LHD set-up, and […]
Even small but reputable garages can muck up even the simple and routine tasks, but this one caused much head scratching for all involved… Words & Pictures Mike Humble / MMOC A great car just dying to get out? In the past, I may have made the odd pithy remark about the Maestro and Montego, […]