WHILE I was away enjoying myself with Andrew Elphick and Dave Smart on CzechWrecks 2008, AROnline‘s Deputy Editor and self-confessed Maestro fetishist, Alexander Boucke, dug out a nice story about the re-appearance of the Maestro/Montego in China. You know how it is with manufacturing these long-lost model lines – they tend to move from one company to another, making great start-up fodder for those looking to get into the business. A good example of that is the Nigerian production line that’s churning out facelifted Fiat Mirafioris as we speak… it had been through Turkey and Egypt after leaving Italy.
Anyway, with the re-re-arrival of the Yema-produced Montego on the new car price lists in China, came the extraordinary appearance of facelifted versions, which ranged from the addition of a natty new bumper to a light re-skin which turned the poor old car into a cheap copy of the Subaru Forester. However, the one that really got my juices flowing was the little buggy-like car that got the crowds excited at a recent motor show.
Regular readers of the site and other confirmed petrolheads will have no trouble identifying the car though – it’s either a very close copy or a lightly reworked original of the innovative Matra M72 prototype, which hit the European show circuit around 2000.
However, the one that really got my juices flowing was the little buggy-like car that got the crowds excited at a recent motor show.
I started wondering to myself why the thing would make a re-appearance around the world and eight years on in China. Then it hit me – Pininfarina’s been working closely with the Chinese industry for some time and, for the past couple of years, the troubled carozzeria has owned what’s left of Matra. Is it possible that Pininfarina’s been cooperating with Yema or has simply supplied the car to the Chinese company?
There are a number of changes on the newer car – but, to my untrained eyes, nothing significant enough to make me believe that it’s no more than a re-packaged version of the original prototype.
Then another thought struck me: is Pininfarina working alongside Yema on other projects? Perhaps the Montego update? Could it be? Perhaps we should be told…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics 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 unfeasible adventures all across Europe.