Austin and MG Maestro
‘Maestros still feel modern but are rare enough to be interesting’
When Austin-Rover launched its new mid-sized hatchback in March 1983, it was marketed as ‘the Miracle Maestro’. It was a classic attempt at hyping the brand in a bid to persuade buyers that Britain’s biggest car maker had turned a corner – that all those ghosts of the strifetorn 1970s had been laid to rest. Beneath the dowdy looks it’s a hatchback that’s fun to drive, and tough enough to withstand being used every day.
Launched simultaneously in Austin and MG guises, the Maestro initially came with the option of a 1.3 or 1.6-litre engine, the MG getting a twin-carb version of the latter. However, within a year the MG had been pepped up with a fuel-injected 2.0-litre engine, but the ultimate (and most coveted) Maestro of all was the Tickfordbuilt Turbo. Launched in January 1989 and fitted with a turbocharged and carburetted 2.0-litre engine, just 505 of these 152bhp hot hatches were built. Good ones rarely come up for sale. However, more workaday Maestros do. According to www.howmanyleft.co.uk there are just a thousand or so of these neat-looking hatchbacks left, four-fifths of which are off the road (although that may be largely down to the time of year). But with demand at rock bottom there are more low-mileage minters available than the market needs. Anyone looking for a clue-chip investment should probably look elsewhere – non-MG/ Turbo Maestros are unlikely to be truly sought after any time soon – but these unfairly maligned cars still feel modern, despite being rare enough to be interesting. They’re painless to own, too and can be run on a shoestring budget.