1969 Leyland Maxi 1.5 from UK and Ireland


It was a reliable old bus!


Minor electrical problems.

Suspension problems and collapse.

Driver's seat broke.

General Comments:

The car that wouldn't die

I bought my Maxi on the advice of an older relative. Ugly dull and totally lacking in charm; it was cheap to insure as a new driver and spacious.

I was the laughing stock of some of my mates, who had Cortinas and Escorts. But it was only going to be a cheap first car. I had a high powered Yamaha 750 motorbike for fun, so I really didn’t care.

Practical and boringly reliable; I just filled it with petrol and serviced it regularly, and it went on forever.

Well until the rust devil killed it. It had so much filler in the end, that it was hard to find metal under the paint. The jacking points were so corroded that if I ever had to change a wheel, the car would have partially disintegrated into dust!

Driving a Maxi was an interesting experience; the gear change was legendary; you had to kind of stir the long lever to change gear. It required some practice, but it you could drive a Maxi smoothly, you could drive anything.

The suspension had a few problems and collapsed in its last months of use; but overall I kept it for 4 years more than intended, as I didn’t use it much, and it was a reliable old bus!

I sold it for scrap after 5 years; with the engine reincarnated into a newer model.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th May, 2008

18th Oct 2008, 06:11

Couldn't have said it better; a brilliant synopsis on the Maxi.

19th Feb 2009, 13:41

That gear-change really was something. Synchromesh on mine had gone on 2nd gear so double declutching was essential. I agree, if you could change gear on these, anything else was easy.

1980 Leyland Maxi 1.7 L4 from UK and Ireland


Frumpy old rattletrap


The head gasket failed several times.

The shift linkage failed.

The carburettor developed a fault, and had to be replaced.

Heater core was plugged.

Numerous electrical gremlins occurred.

Driver side seat frame broke.

General Comments:

This is perhaps the ugliest car I've owned. What were they thinking? The Brits are so capable of building fine cars, but they punted here. Still, the bodywork was sound and well engineered. The doors and panels fit together well, and the car was reasonably solid.

The engine was another story. Clattery, smoky, and always leaving chips of metal in the oil, it just wasn't very good. I gained proficiency in changing the head gasket, and could repair it in about four hours. Still, what a clunker. It would frequently stall or misfire right in a roundabout, which always provided great thrills.

Still, after all the drama, it did a good job of getting me around whilst not taking all my money. Not bad for a car that is considered by some as one of the worst ever.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st January, 2006

19th Dec 2007, 07:47

My Maxi was wonderful for my social life. I have never met so many breakdown Patrols. Clutch oil seal failed regularly due to worn out crankshaft. Changed crankshaft twice in five years due to primary drive gear winding its way through the locating flange. Oil pump failed twice. Gearbox was worse than stirring porridge. Fuel consumption was horrific. Having to open both back doors to fold down the rear seat was not much fun in the rain, although the space under the rear seat was useful for carrying the tools and spares necessary to fix it. Handling was non-existent. I experimented with different tyres and pressures over the time I owned it, and nothing improved it. Hoses blew with monotonous regularity. Fuel pump failed.

The reason I bought it was because it was spacious and I had two small children. Consequently, it was some time before I had the spare cash to replace it. We took great delight in taking it to the crusher.

18th Jan 2008, 10:48

These are all common maxi problems. The E series overhead cam engine is a notorious oil burner and eats head gaskets for a hobby. the gearbox was no good even when new, and failure was likely at any time from 5000 miles onwards.

Crusty sills were par for the course, and the odd profile made fixing them tricky. a shame really, it had a lot going for it if only they'd built it properly, and some styling would have been nice. Leyland at the time worked on the basis that "it doesn't matter what it looks like as long as it works"