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 section and several front/rear sections, which can be added and removed as neccessary. It is amusing to think that in some high level strategy meeting, a member of the Austin-Morris team would have been juggling these models in order to demonstrate the possibilities…
Thanks must go to the nice people at Gaydon for allowing us to photograph these models for posterity.
The LM10 – or the Maestro that we all know and love. The shape had been settled in 1976, signed off in 1978, and this forms the basis for the schemes demonstrated in the modular model set…
Saloon model scheme is almost an identical replica to the full-sized prototype that Roy Axe set eyes upon the second day after he joined BL. It is evident from this model, how the LM11 was pretty much set for production and the breadth of Axe’s changes were rather limited.
Estate version was changed a great deal between this model and the final production version: thanks to the drooping Maestro shoulder line, the rear side windows were extremely deep, as was the tailgate glass. This was subtly changed by Axe, thanks to the door top ‘moundings’ used in the production Montego. Also, the rear end of the production version was significantly more characterful than this bland effort (which looked eerily similar to the stillborn SD1 estate prototype.
Here’s the one that got away: strikingly similar to the Chrysler Alpine, this model would have been pitched above the LM10 and LM11, perhaps being aimed specifically at the European market. Certainly, it would have been conceived as a direct replacement for the upcoming Austin Ambassador, where (it would be hoped) a premium could be charged over its saloon brethren.
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Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.