Austin Maxi (ADO14)
BMC became British Leyland in 1968, and one of its first products was the Austin Maxi. Of course, it was really the final new BMC, and Leyland management was keen to tell everyone that at launch – so, the Maxi ended up being unloved by those who built it. Which is a shame, because it was a great concept, and with those who ‘get’ it, the Maxi makes for the perfect classic car.
It was essentially a good car with some innovative ideas, but the finer details, lack of quality, and poor execution let the Maxi down – traits that would later go on to characterise BL. It was Britain’s first genuinely family-sized hatchback had plenty of space and seats that folded down into a lumpy double bed, yet taking the passenger doors from the 1800/2200 meant looks were strange and disjointed.
Hydrolastic (and later Hydragas) suspension and five gears were its good points, but the gearchange itself was memorably bad, even after it was improved in 1972.
Reviews, blogs and news stories
‘All the fives’ was the Maxi’s high technology tag line when launched – with a five-door hatchback body and five-speed gearbox, Austin’s new mid-range fighter really did seem to have it all. Sadly, the technology might have been there, but the execution was a little less than marvellous, and this avant-garde car failed to sell […]
The biggest criticism normally aimed at the Maxi – other than the early model’s obstructive gearchange – is usually reserved for its plain Jane styling. The Aquila showed how it could have been made into a far more stylish beast. Alas, it was only ever to be a one-off styling exercise.
Ever wanted a full breakdown of BMC>MGR production figures, but didn’t know where to go? Fear not – AROnline has all the numbers you’ll ever need.
Phil Rixon takes a rare opportunity to compare the Morris Nomad with an Austin Countryman and an Austin Maxi to see how closely BMC’s tailgated trio are related.
Designed and specially built to become the Corporation’s new mid-sized engine, the E-Series had a troubled early life, but eventually matured into something very worthwhile indeed.
Words and photography: Alexander Boucke At times it happens to all of us: something bulky needs to be carried, typically after a visit to your local Swedish furniture store. In our case, a friend of the family had a surplus musical instrument – a small organ, a harmonium to be precise – which he wanted to get […]
The main problem with Hydragas is that, over time, the sealed units would lose gas and become less effective. Alexander Boucke describes the steps involved in getting your Hydragas suspended car back into rude health Update: More than 11 years after the initial work, the first units that were fitted to a Maxi in autumn […]
Keith Adams Here’s proof, if it were ever needed, that one of the finest musical talents the world has ever seen had a great taste in cars – or, at least, he ended up driving one for a family outing in Liverpool on 26 June 1969. The Liverpool Echo has revealed some fascinating new images […]
The Maxi received a couple of facelifts before it reached production in 1969. Here are a number of prototype images of the ADO14 project before it received its final Roy Haynes penned front and rear ends. Pictures supplied by Ian Nicholls. Styling sketch Full-size clays Full-sized prototype The four-door Morris Maxi Thanks to Ian Nicholls […]