The Austin Maestro / Montego Story

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  • Published: 28 July 2019
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    The Maestro was the car that killed Austin Rover. Poised on a knife-edge in the early 80’s between survival and disaster, this car, and its booted Montego sister, caused its death. Not right away – plenty of Government subsidies and deals with Honda and BMW gave the company another 20 years, but this was the critical moment when it all went wrong. When the company lost its ability to chart its own destiny. So why were these cars such poor-sellers, and why did a company that made the critically successful Metro, get it all wrong with its follow-up?
  • Auto Auto

Comments • 798

  • Big Car
    Big Car   1 months back

    Errata: Roy Axe came from Chrysler, not Ford.

    • Merv Stent
      Merv Stent  1 weeks back

      Big Car yes Rootes which Chrysler bought out!

    • jurgen bussche
      jurgen bussche  1 months back

      45 min the police says a new good car :)

    • jurgen bussche
      jurgen bussche  1 months back

      if you want i translate

    • jurgen bussche
      jurgen bussche  1 months back

      in belgium they made a intro in a dutch speaking movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NSeDodI-mI on about the 40 min mark they used the car to escape and talk about how good this car is

  • Johnny Trott
    Johnny Trott  24 hours back

    It seems cars from that era had much better visibility from inside than the cars of today.

    • Gavin Adams
      Gavin Adams  6 days back

      I loved the Montego considering in my opinion was ahead of its time. Fuel economy was probably the best at 33 mpg from the 1.6 petrol boot space was enormous and I always dreamed and still do of getting a Vanden Plas with the digital dash, which most cars now have. For me bring back the Montego.

      • Yanuchi Uchiha: Anime, Games and Ramdomness

        They produced the maestro in Bulgaria... those were better than the UK-built ones...


















        still inferior when compared to the Yugo

        • rolf050
          rolf050  7 days back

          Why did British car industry lost the battle? Because they didn’t have the German innovative engineering and design, they were far more inefficient than German factories. British management was weak. British workers were striking more than they were working. That’s why Britain lost Rover, Jaguar and all other British brands. Even Rolls Royce and Bentley are German owned. In the eighties and nineties the rest of Europe said “Made in England, made by idiots”.

          • dannyboyspain1
            dannyboyspain1  1 weeks back

            Addictive viewing beyond belief. All i'm watching are your videos lol. Do you do a Sierra video?

            • Big Car
              Big Car   1 weeks back

              I will do it at some point.

          • Roberto Zanoner
            Roberto Zanoner  1 weeks back

            Maestro.....my first car.....

            • Johnathan Doe
              Johnathan Doe  1 weeks back

              ‘Sales started strong then declined’, probably because they came with rot as standard. How the hell do you take £2.8 billion and turn it into... that.

              • 77MrAH
                77MrAH  1 weeks back

                The Monstreo 🤣

                • Fiveo waf
                  Fiveo waf  2 weeks back

                  The econometer was wonderful in the 1.3, you'd be in 3rd and it would tell you to change to 4th, but didn't have enough power to pull it so then would tell you to change back to 3rd.

                  • Fiveo waf
                    Fiveo waf  2 weeks back

                    I worked for a company in the early 80's that had these as company cars. They were appallingly badly made, unreliable and in 1300 form still used the old A series engine. My part of the company hd some MKIV Ford Cortinas they were so much better than the Montego even though they were long in the tooth and soon to be replaced by the Sierra. One of the Maestros had a big gap around the front door and was found to have one side of the car 1" longer than the other. It didn't help that they looked horrible too.

                    • John freeman
                      John freeman  2 weeks back

                      What about the triumph acclaim .the best triumph and most reliable because it was honda

                    • Stephen Warhurst
                      Stephen Warhurst  2 weeks back

                      LOL Monstro

                      • video99.co.uk
                        video99.co.uk  2 weeks back

                        Back in 1995 I had a B reg (1985) Vauxhall Cavalier GLS, and considered trading it in for an E reg MG Montego Turbo. So I went for a test drive. Everything rattled in the Montego, it was awful. I got back into my Cavalier and knew I was in the better car, so stuck with it until 1998. (The car I then bought, I still drive! 1994 Toyota Celica.)

                        • Ishfaq Ahmed
                          Ishfaq Ahmed  2 weeks back

                          This guy hasn't got a clue.

                          • Big Car
                            Big Car   2 weeks back

                            I've got at least 7 clues.

                        • Rogue Sheep
                          Rogue Sheep  2 weeks back

                          My brother had the 2 of these models and they were great fun

                          • Dai Kil
                            Dai Kil  2 weeks back

                            My first car I bought in 1992 was a fire engine red with grey mirrors and bumpers G plate (1990) Montego 1.6 L. The S series engine pulled well but it wasnt a pretty car and I got teased about being an old git when I was only 21 years of age. To hell with everyone though. I washed and waxed it every week right up until I crashed into a bridge and wrote it off following a rally in Mid Wales by getting to the next spectator spots as quick as possible.

                            • Steel Nerves
                              Steel Nerves  3 weeks back

                              Quite liked the montego

                              • Uncle Joe Stalin
                                Uncle Joe Stalin  3 weeks back

                                Over 100k views after 4 weeks! Definitely go with the monetisation plan we all discussed on Patreon. It would be great if you could get some coin for your work BC.

                                • Megadriver
                                  Megadriver  3 weeks back

                                  I'm Bulgarian, aged 26 and an ex of mine had a Maestro. I rode in it a few times and drove it once. And I have to say, it's on the same page as a Lada... Terrible to drive, uncomfortable, low quality and my exes one had a problem with the compression. So to start it after it had been sitting for a few hours you needed about a minute.
                                  Is it safe to say that the government should never dictate the production of cars? Cause that's how I feel it.
                                  Weird to think that the W140 S-class was manufactured in the 90s as the Montego was... You could do a video on the W140 S-class, a car I love and believe to be one of the most high tech and over engineered cars ever made. That thing had TV, soft closing doors and a radar guided cruise control in 1997. My 2005 C-class doesn't have that! And my 2007 E-class doesn't have soft closing doors, as those only came with the S-class.

                                  • Richard Benjamin
                                    Richard Benjamin  3 weeks back

                                    In many ways it was ahead of it's time - it was quite tall and loads of glass when lots of cars were going jelly mould and low - but I still enjoyed its handling. Then in the 21st century everything went tall and 'mpv' and then 4WD looks.

                                    • Stormin' Normie
                                      Stormin' Normie  3 weeks back

                                      My dad had a montego with the vw gearbox. It wasn't bad (except the computer & gearbox) it felt more light & airy than his bigger Carlton & much better than his awful Orion. It still suffered from BL- itis though. Worst car he ever had by miles however; yep, the Allegro. What a wobbly, unreliable p.o.s that was.

                                      • Simon Chaddock
                                        Simon Chaddock  4 weeks back

                                        My wife and I owned three Montego Estates. A 1.6 & 2.0 petrol and a 2.0 turbo diesel. All did a superb job ferrying the family and dogs around. They were simple enough for me to do the great majority of maintenance including changing the timing belt on the 1.6! Ride and handling were quite acceptable and the cabin space made long journeys comfortable even with a mountain of luggage.
                                        Just to complete the picture our second car at the time was a Meastro! A 1.3 and a 2.0 non turbo diesel. In the smaller Maestro body the non turbo Perkins Prima was a gem. First compression starting every time and sufficient torque that you could get under way and even change into 2nd still at tick over!
                                        If you didn't mind the lack of "street cred" they were seriously capable cars.

                                        • Chrisst
                                          Chrisst  4 weeks back

                                          Is this it?

                                          • Andy Peek
                                            Andy Peek  4 weeks back

                                            I was unfortunate enough to have had both those cars as company vehicles, back in the last century. They were both designed in collaboration with Mothercare, Better known as, The car with the built in rattle. They were, and still remain as a piece of bad British engineering. Long may they rust.

                                            • ferkemall
                                              ferkemall  4 weeks back

                                              Leyland managment could find their arse with a mirror on a sunny day one look at what the europeans were driving would have shown that they could sell abroard in numbers that mattered in those days of strike ridden Britain and job insecurity they were on a looser from the start != someone who lived through it all !

                                              • Nigel Harrison
                                                Nigel Harrison  4 weeks back

                                                Great informative video thank you. I recall my father getting a Montego 1.6L company car in red when the model was first released. Incredible the number of kids giving thumbs up or shouting out nice car mister - due to the futuristic looks. Car was very unreliable though. Thankfully he moved to a Ford Sierra which was awesome to drive whilst I was learning to drive!

                                                • John Mitchell
                                                  John Mitchell  4 weeks back

                                                  So hate is a strong word. There are lots of cars I dislike, but these cars? Yeah I genuinly hate them. If I got into an argument with someome about how fantastic British cars are, with the other person saying they are rubbish, and that person mentioned the Austin Maestro as an example of how/why British cars are so bad, I would not have a comeback to counter that.

                                                  • AC MC
                                                    AC MC  4 weeks back

                                                    the montego looked cool i remember as a kid, maestro looks good in the sports version

                                                    • Daniel Williams
                                                      Daniel Williams  4 weeks back

                                                      The Montego 4x4 was developed by Rover Special Products and eventually became the Land Rover Freelander.

                                                      • Axeman Steele
                                                        Axeman Steele  4 weeks back

                                                        Hi Daniel, the freelander running gear was actually fitted to a maestro van and was run around for months in the midlands to iron out any faults, I worked for Rover group at the time

                                                    • Edward Talbot
                                                      Edward Talbot  4 weeks back

                                                      When I was 8 years old, I wanted my Dad to buy an Austin Maestro because of the digital dashboard which looked like it was off Knight Rider!

                                                      • kenzohkw
                                                        kenzohkw  4 weeks back

                                                        I remember my dad's Montego back in 1985. It was a hideous beige colour and it defied gravity by leaking water up through the floor whenever it was driven in heavy rain, which in Glasgow was quite often lol no garage could fix it and he eventually chopped it in for a Vauxhall Belmont which didn't leak 😁

                                                        • Matt G
                                                          Matt G  1 months back

                                                          Both models were a absolute disaster. Poor build quality & engineering. Which is a shame because the Montego was actually a nice looking car and the M.G & Vanden Plas spec we’re truly beautiful looking.

                                                          • incognito96
                                                            incognito96  1 months back

                                                            They made a turbo k series engine in the metro which was rapid , but never bought it out as they didn't want a boy racer tag. So ford had the xr2, 3,4 which sold to boy racers. That killed rover just playing catch up.

                                                            • Truth4all2014
                                                              Truth4all2014  1 months back

                                                              YOU HAVE NO CLUE MATE

                                                            • Alan
                                                              Alan  1 months back

                                                              Great 😃

                                                              • Rish ap Wiliam
                                                                Rish ap Wiliam  1 months back

                                                                I remember going to see a friend and when I left got into my maestro and drove off. I turned the radio on and realised the tape playing was not my music - it was someone else's car who hard parked next to mine - the key not only opened the door but started the car! I parked up again and got in my car and drove off!

                                                                • dudleyblokerave
                                                                  dudleyblokerave  1 months back

                                                                  Maestro was the only car that made my brother carsick every time he rode in it.

                                                                  • dudleyblokerave
                                                                    dudleyblokerave  1 months back

                                                                    Nice video. Subscribed and shared!

                                                                    • Issie wizzie
                                                                      Issie wizzie  1 months back

                                                                      I remember all this ... we just couldn't compete ...and this is where we want to go back to ... so sad

                                                                      • blakaeg
                                                                        blakaeg  1 months back

                                                                        Please can you do a story on Citroen C4 2004 to 2010 please :)

                                                                        • Lea Morgan
                                                                          Lea Morgan  1 months back

                                                                          I had a montego estate for a few years, 1.6 petrol engine, 7 seats, it was a cracking car TBH.

                                                                          • hoodles78
                                                                            hoodles78  1 months back

                                                                            whats with the editing of background and immediate silence and then to background again?

                                                                            • Big Car
                                                                              Big Car   1 months back

                                                                              I'm editing out the breaths. I've stopped doing that in newer videos.

                                                                          • Brian Castle-Rees
                                                                            Brian Castle-Rees  1 months back

                                                                            I had an 1.3 l in 1985 ex demo model and the following year traded it in for an 1.6 Mayfair. I actually loved the Mayfair although there were definitely some design faults with the engine breather system that caused problems. However, I actually loved the design. Funnily enough my current car is an Hyundai Kona 1.0 l turbo with approx 33 more hp than the Mayfair although if you get a picture of them both together and squint, you’d think they were related. I obviously like rounded dumpy cars lol. I learned to drive in an Austin Allegro, another dumpy cousin lol. Take care Brian Castle-Rees PS my Hyundai Kona is the best car I’ve ever had. Xxx

                                                                            • Paul Pateman
                                                                              Paul Pateman  1 months back

                                                                              I had a 1.3 Maestro then a 1.6 vanden plas maestro with talking dash then a 2.0 litre mg maestro. Then finally my baby the Maestro Turbo 1990 awesome car wish I had never sold it but had to buy a house 🏠

                                                                              • Twiglet
                                                                                Twiglet  1 months back

                                                                                What a total missed opportunity and shambles from all involved

                                                                                • Malcolm Abram
                                                                                  Malcolm Abram  1 months back

                                                                                  The Maestro, for all its flaws, was the most revolutionary design concept of all time. It ergonomically set the car over the wheelbase. Before then cars we largely bonnet, living space, boot. Have you noticed how so many cars are now this 5 door hatchback principle? The Maestro started it. British Layalnd produced in terms of quality, crap cars, but with revolutionary designs.

                                                                                  • SteamboatWilley
                                                                                    SteamboatWilley  1 months back

                                                                                    Somehow delayed and rushed at the same time. Wut?