By Julian Mounter Motoring Correspondent
A completely revised and greatly improved Austin Maxi is announced by British Leyland today. Quieter, with a smoother and more positive gear change and modernized interior layout it is offered with a choice of 1500c.c. or 1750c.c. engines. The Maxi was heavily criticized after its launch in April last year.
After a road test at the beginning of last summer I wrote: “It is a car that with one or two substantial improvements would probably become a considerable success, but which in present form is often tedious.” These changes have been made and having given the new cars a brief test at Silverstone and in the lanes near by I feel thev are good value, well designed and well put together. Introducing the revised models. Mr. George Turnbull. group managing director of Austin-Morris said vesterday.
“We would be foolish not to concede that the original Maxi needed more refinement and a more positive gear selection mechanism. It is in these areas that we have concentrated our research and development…”
The new 1750c.c. power unit is developed from the 1500c.c. E series engine. Of the former gearchange I said: “It feels like stirring treacle with a long thin cane”.
Now rod- operated, instead of cable, it is a vast improvement: not wholly positive but completely acceptable. The seats, they were good on the old Maxi,are better and have a perforated finish. In summary, I said of the previous Maxi: “The consumer is obviously prepared to put up with the disadvantages because the advantages outweigh them. Get rid of those few disadvantages and… The missing words I now feel are: you have an excellent family motor car.”