Austin Mae­stro

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - NICK LARKIN ED­I­TOR-AT-LARGE

1989 AUSTIN MAE­STRO

No one could ev­ery say that my Mae­stro doesn’t move in var­ied cir­cles, and visit dif­fer­ent places. In the past month or so it has done ev­ery­thing from ap­pear­ing on BBC Ra­dio 2 to caus­ing con­ster­na­tion at the lo­cal tip (sorry, civic amenity re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity).

Ra­dio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show car­ried a spe­cial re­port on the joys of 1980s cars, en­gag­ing our good friends at Prac­ti­cal Clas­sics magazine to present the case for the de­fence.

Need­less to say the Mae­stro was sum­moned to CCW HQ, along with a Metro (sorry, Rover 100), Sam Skel­ton’s Austin Mon­tego and var­i­ous other de­lights from the decade to as­sist with sound ef­fects.

Lis­ten­ers across the land were treated to the sounds of doors clos­ing, en­gines revving and horns blow­ing – a blend so tune­ful that I’m sure it was re­peated on Fri­day Night is Mu­sic Night.

A rather dif­fer­ent as­sign­ment for the car was an ex­pe­di­tion to the lo­cal cit­i­zen’s refuse fa­cil­ity/pub­lic re­cy­cling amenity/coun­cil dump loaded with non-work­ing elec­tri­cal goods, mys­te­ri­ous pieces of metal, a col­lapsed spice rack and var­i­ous other things that even I saw fit for dis­posal. The Mae­stro is so per­fect for th­ese ex­pe­di­tions that I brought a cam­era along to cap­ture its bril­liance.

Scarcely had I pressed the shut­ter when an of­fi­cious gen­tle­man in a hi-viz jacket dashed out from be­hind a pile of dead cook­ers like a ra­bid fer­ret and de­manded to know why I was tak­ing pho­to­graphs. I’ve al­ways be­lieved that you should re­main po­lite in th­ese sit­u­a­tions, so I told him that it was be­cause the Mae­stro was an old car that my friends said should be on the tip. ‘Oh,’ he replied, dis­ap­pointed, re­turn­ing to his lair of had-it Hot­points and zonked-out Zanus­sis.

I was a lit­tle wracked with guilt on Drive-it Day, be­cause I de­cided against tak­ing the Mae­stro to Brook­lands, where I had been sent to cover a spe­cial gath­er­ing. Be­cause the piece had to be writ­ten that evening – and I didn’t fancy yet an­other four-hour ses­sion of ad­mir­ing the back end of some­one’s Lexus dur­ing a mas­sive traf­fic jam on the M25 – I de­cided to take the train.

How­ever, I left the Mae­stro in the sta­tion car park with a prom­i­nent de­scrip­tion of its joys. Who knows, I might have con­vinced some­one!

Mae­stro meets Mon­tego and Rover 100 be­fore air­ing on Ra­dio 2.

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