Concepts and prototypes : Austin Maxi

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

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

There's no disguising the fact that it was always going to be a tough task to incorporate the BMC 1800's doors on an all-new car...
There’s no disguising the fact that it was always going to be a tough task to incorporate the BMC 1800’s doors on an all-new car…

Full-size clays

Front and rear styling was limited in appeal - with a particularly nasty 'V' kink in the front...
Front and rear styling was limited in appeal – with a particularly nasty ‘V’ kink in the front…

Full-sized prototype

Closer to the final production car, but still not resolved around the nose
Closer to the final production car, but still not resolved around the nose

The four-door Morris Maxi

Four-door Maxi was dropped because of the management's desire to avoid direct competition with the Ford Cortina. The failure of the Maxi to sell in sufficient numbers may well have nailed the coffin door shut on this derivative. (Photo: Men and Motors, Barney Sharratt)Four-door Maxi was dropped because of the management's desire to avoid direct competition with the Ford Cortina. The failure of the Maxi to sell in sufficient numbers may well have nailed the coffin door shut on this derivative. (Photo: Men and Motors, Barney Sharratt)
Four-door Maxi was dropped because of the management’s desire to avoid direct competition with the Ford Cortina. The failure of the Maxi to sell in sufficient numbers may well have nailed the coffin door shut on this derivative. (Photo: Men and Motors, Barney Sharratt)
Maxi saloon out testing in Portugal before the launch... (Photo: Maxi Marathon, BMIHT)
Maxi saloon out testing in Portugal before the launch… (Photo: Maxi Marathon, BMIHT)

Thanks to Ian Nicholls for the pictures

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk 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

6 Comments

  1. That Maxi Saloon looks mighty like our Austin Tasman / Kimberley from 1971 which replaced the Austin 1800. Had a 6 cyl motor.

  2. This is very different to the Tasman/Kimberley: They both used the same rear screen as the ‘normal’ 1800, basically just the 3rd side window was filled in and the roof gutter was placed differently – quite a clever re-design with not too many changes to the roof structure (or panels). That Maxi saloon has its own roof construction that shares nothing with the landcrab (and only the front half with the hatchback).

    Personally I don’t think the Maxi ever was a pretty car, but that saloon is ever so ungainly…

  3. Alec Issigonis was a very flawed genius- he should never have been allowed to style his own cars unless in a class of his devising (eg Mini).

    ‘The four door was dropped because management wanted to avoid competing with the Cortina’… well if not competing adequately with Ford was BMH’s main objective, then they certainly achieved handsomely with the actual production car range (as did BL and later AR…). Although the word ‘handsomely’ is somewhat inconguous in any sentence referring to an Austin Maxi…

    The Aquila project could have rescued this long maligned car, but like so many sensible and low cost alternatives for replacing their models, it was yet another missed opportunity.

  4. Without the 1800’s doors, is it known how much shorter and lighter the Maxi would have likely been compared to the real-life Maxi as well as ADO16 and the Allegro?

    There is the suggestion such a car could have easily been a suitable alternative to the Allegro or even ADO22, though while the Maxi was originally intended to be powered by a 1.3 E-Series could this Alt-Maxi have been light enough for such an engine let alone the 1.3 A-Series?

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