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.