Car of the Month : June 2010

Already generally regarded as a forward thinking classic car, the Austin Maestro has aged exceptionally well. James Sergeant’s stunning Vanden Plas, complete with voice synthesizer dashboard, is a corker…

And here he tells us all about it.

Words and pictures: James Sergeant

Encore, Maestro, please…

A lovely car in a lovely setting…

I WAS out today in my cherished Maestro VDP and as it attracted so much attention I thought I’d take some pics. Must admit (as usual) the sun flatters it a little but generally it’s in great nick. I bought it as a one owner, FSH with just over 20k on the clock. The previous owner had been an elderly lady who had bought it on her retirement (trading in a Maxi!) and then ran it irregularly until she was unable to drive. It was laid up for a couple of years but is now in pretty much tip top condition.

Not sure if it’s unusual as it’s got the original rattly electronic dash – which all still works – but has the S-series engine… and registered Aug 85.

It’s a great drive, very tight and smooth, easy round town thanks to the optional PAS and a doddle to park – it’s amazing how much bigger cars have got isn’t it? My neighbour’s Focus seems much bigger in every direction – but has no more room inside. It attracts attention wherever we go and on a good day I reckon it looks pretty good in its original Opporto Red. It’s not perfect but there’s nothing too worrying to deal with, just a few stone chips here and there and the odd patch of bubbling…

My first trip in it was a true ‘bangernomics’ style leap of faith from Brighton up to Hull – admittedly with an overnight stop along the way – but the little thing sailed through it without a hitch. My first ever brand new car was a Maestro back in 1990 and I absolutely hated it – but for some reason I love this little VDP. I’m really proud of her and wondered if there was a Car of the Month potential in it? I know you featured a similar one but that was back in 2004


Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

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.
Keith Adams

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1 Comment

  1. The Maestro has aged well.
    I remember at the time of its launch (I would have been 14yrs old) I was a bit disappointed. After the Metro, to me it seemed a bit fat and podgy. It lacked the Metro’s charm and more youthful appeal. However, as the years have passed and all cars grown in size, the Maestro has grown on me.
    VDP’s and Mayfairs in a light metallic are pleasing. The appearance of MG versions has always appealed.

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