Myth Buster MG Mae­stro Turbo

De­bunk­ing the most com­mon old wives’ tales

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Giles Chap­man

1 IT WAS A VW GOLF GTI RI­VAL

The Mae­stro’s im­age and back­ground was never go­ing to en­dear it­self to the 1980s yup­pie gen­er­a­tion, which wor­shipped the Golf GTI’s pace, im­age and qual­ity. Make no mis­take, though – it was a very rapid car, hit­ting 0-60mph in 6.7sec on its way to a 132mph top speed. The driv­e­train was very sim­i­lar to the heav­ier Mon­tego Turbo’s, but lost much of that car’s alarm­ing ten­dency to­wards torques­teer. It was good fun to drive and han­dled well, but lacked much of the Golf GTI’s sub­tle so­phis­ti­ca­tion and in­nate build qual­ity.

2 IT WAS THE LAST NEW CAR FROM AUSTIN ROVER

Cor­rect. The com­pany trans­formed it­self into the more up­mar­ket-sound­ing Rover Group months af­ter the MG Mae­stro Turbo took its bow at the 1988 Bri­tish Mo­tor Show. But this car wasn’t down to Austin Rover alone. Tick­ford de­signed and fit­ted the MG’s none-too-sub­tle five-piece body kit at its Coven­try plant, and added other touches such as Lu­cas driv­ing lights and body­side graph­ics, for the strictly lim­ited edi­tion run of 505 ex­am­ples. Red was the most pop­u­lar colour choice for the £13,529 car.

3 IT WAS THE ONLY TUR­BOCHARGED MAE­STRO

At­ten­tion within the com­pany switched away from the Mae­stro af­ter the MG Turbo edi­tion was launched, and that looked like the end for the con­tro­ver­sial five-door hatch­back. How­ever, a new model was in­tro­duced in 1992 with a 2-litre Rover/Perkins Prima tur­bod­iesel, of­fer­ing 81bhp of mid-range boosted power in a bar­gain-priced util­i­tar­ian pack­age. It was noisy, but eco­nom­i­cal and – thanks to its tur­bocharger – could de­liver a sur­pris­ingly swift turn of speed.

MG MAE­STRO TURBO

Ag­gres­sive bodykit and ex­ter­nal tweaks came cour­tesy of Tick­ford.

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