1983 Rover - Austin Maestro MG 1600 1.6 from UK and Ireland

Summary:

A wolf in sheep's clothing

Faults:

Fuel system would evaporate petrol and cause misfiring in hot weather.

General Comments:

I had a lot of fun with my 83 MG Maestro.

Great handling gutsy engine was surprisingly rapid: comparable to the early Golf GTI, but 2/3 the price.

Ride was hard and trim rattled; but the gearbox was slick and a world apart from my first car, an Austin Maxi.

Interestingly enough the engine was based on the old late 1960s Maxi transverse engine. With twin Choke Weber carbs, it was a world apart in performance.

The quirky digital talking dash was ground breaking. The interior space age hi tech, and it was a nice place to be and a decent drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th May, 2008

1983 Rover - Austin Maestro MG 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland

Faults:

Blown head gasket at 60k - easy home repair - cleaned/decoked head at same time. CV joints both sides at 65k.

Leak into passenger footwell - poor seal on windscreen, never fully fixed for life of car.

Carpets shrunk!!

Rust on arches & door bottoms.

General Comments:

A car slagged by many, but was quick, 105hp from an old 1.6 (twin 40mm webers) and generally comfortable and reliable, if a little rusty. I bought it for 750ukp, ran it for 18 months and sold it for 800ukp.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st March, 1999

16th Jun 2001, 05:43

1983 MG Maestro 1600, bright yellow, twin 40 webbers, K&N filters, cherry bomb exhaust system, voice box in full working order, real eye catcher, great fun to drive. Passed it's MOT first time again.

1983 Rover - Austin Maestro HL 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland

Faults:

Steering fails occasionally, made us crash into a shop once!!!!!

Roof collapsed on us while driving.

A few new exhausts.

Fan belt slips a lot.

General Comments:

Fairly unreliable but OK once we've got it going!!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th February, 1999

23rd Dec 2000, 16:31

How does the clutch slip?

The Maestro does not have a thing called a fan belt simply because the fan is electronic... one of the first of its kind...?

This is the sort of comment that puts British excellence into distress!

31st Jan 2001, 16:35

May I make one correction to the 1st person who commented on this review, you said the Maestro was one of the first of its kind to have a fan being non-belt driven, the Allegro was the first to do this which also was thermostatically driven, therefore it knows when to cut in - now that is brilliance from BL's best, the Allegro along with other great features such as Hydragas suspension making the Allegro the most comfy car to ride in.

24th Feb 2001, 17:24

I think you are both mad! I had a Maestro 1983 vintage and from new was nothing short of a disaster area. Lovely to sit in, stationery with the engine off, but once it was going, it was like a nightmare come true. A complete bucket of spanners.

28th Apr 2001, 05:05

You're all semi right, but you've missed the point - you're correct in saying the Maestro has a thermostatic electric fan, but the original message was referring to the alternator belt - simply meaning it required adjustment. A slipping belt is not caused by a design fault.

This car and I expect a lot of others were so unreliable because it was simply neglected!

As for the failed steering that sounds like crap - more like failed driver.

12th Nov 2001, 07:27

I had a 1983 1275 cc Maestro. It had a clear lack of sound insulation, but was a good car, with only minor faults for 90000 km. At the same time, my brother-in-law had a VW Golf and his sons agreed that my Maestro had more interior space and greater loading space access, better suspension, better performance.

22nd Nov 2004, 10:31

While it is interesting reading the above comments, I have owned about three 1.3 maestros of varying vintages and found them to be cheap to run, easy to service and repair, practical, spacious and very reliable - maybe because I kept them well serviced, OK they do rust, but, they were no doubt a vast improvement on the allegro it's predecessor (of which I have owned two).

The maestro at least in 1.3 form, does not deserve the verbal kicking it gets from the press/trade etc. Cheap, cheerful and good fun!