Fully original throughout, partly restored in 2014
Drives and behaves well
Memories have a funny way of recalling information, especially in the automotive world. Most of us will have a particular recollection of car, which - for better or for worse - will often stay with us. The MG Maestro could well be one of those cars. In somewhat typical British Leyland fashion, the original MG Maestro had a rather disastrous start, not helped by cash strapped Austin-Rover installing a troublesome 1.6 engine resulting in a disappointing flat fanfare.
The 1.6-litre (‘pain-in-the…’) R-series engine ran like a badly maintained Massey Ferguson, was difficult to start particularly when warm and its twin Weber carbs were unable to be tuned by dealership workshops, long accustomed to SU carburettors.
However, 18 months after the original, the boffins at Austin Rover installed an excellent new 2.0-litre ‘O’-series fuel-injected four pot in the MG Maestro – and called it the Maestro 2.0 EFi (later just 2.0i).
Once paired with a decent Honda gearbox, anti-roll bars, tweaked suspension and uprated brakes, the potential in the car was unleashed. It was the start of several hot (okay, but quite a bit warmer than ‘luke’) MG Maestros and for the MG brand, it looked like there was justification for a melodic song and a bit of a dance.
The Maestro 2.0 EFi gave Austin Rover its first serious rival for the Golf GTI and Escort XR3i. It had a claimed output of 115bhp, a top speed of 115mph and a 0-60 mph sprint time of 8.5 seconds, which was quite decent for its day and none too shabby even today, to be fair.
Sadly, over 15,000 R-series MG Maestros were manufactured and, with a history of questionable build quality and the dismal reputation of THAT engine, the fate of the 2.0 EFi was essentially sealed. Lamentably, the car never really got to go to the Hot Hatch Ball.
Production of this particular MG Maestro 2.0 EFi was completed at Austin Rover’s Cowley facility in Oxford towards the end of February, 1987 and received its first UK registration on Tuesday, 17th March.
Almost 35 years to the day, its highly presentable condition suggests that each of this MG’s six former keepers loved it as much as the previous. The current owner acquired the car in February, 2014 for his wife to use as a daily. However, after eight years, the car needs to make way for a new and exciting addition to what is an eclectic collection of cars.
Accompanying the sale of this '80s icon will be the V5C registered in the current keeper’s name, the MoT and an expansive file of recent and past service/spares/maintenance paperwork, some of which is pictured in the accompanying gallery.
If you like your '80s automotive offerings in grey, brown and red…walk this way! Some won’t like it, but many will appreciate its originality. Finished in a blend of ‘flint grey’ sawtooth fabric, velour and red piping (Code LCH), the interior of this 1987 MG Maestro 2.0 EFi is a throwback to an altogether different automotive era when things were simpler, less complicated and far easier to live with.
While somewhat removed from showroom condition, the interior of this automotive gem does present very well indeed, to the extent that the writer frequently had to remind himself that this is a thirty-five-year-old car.
There is a swathe of red carpeting front and rear, all in very tidy condition. The dashboard, sun visors and door cards present very well and all are more commensurate with the car’s age than mileage. The aftermarket Pioneer audio system sounds great, by the way!
Minor interior niggly nagglies include a small tear behind the driver’s headrest, the gear lever rubber boot needs affixing to its right side and both side bolsters of the driver’s seat appear to be parting ways with the centre squab.
Presented in the original White Diamond (Code NMN) paint colour, the exemplary condition of the interior continues to the exterior of this car and is indicative of the love and care afforded the car during the past few years since its part restoration.
The front and rear bumpers are in remarkable condition and blemish-free. The original, model-specific alloys are shod with a good set of rubber all round. Since the passing of his wife, the custodian has kept the car in a garaged state when not in use. The light lenses are clear and show no hint of sun-bleaching often associated with a car of this age.
A cursory glance down each flank of the car shows no evidence of damage and even the front bumper, number plate and chin spoiler - for all their vulnerability, remain blemish free.
Upon taking ownership if the car in 2014, the current keeper undertook some urgent restoration and repair work which included replacing three doors, the tailgate and having the car fully resprayed in its original colour.
Like the interior, there a few small niggly nagglies to this car’s exterior. There is a small area of rust (quelle surprise, it’s an '80s Austin Maestro) at the base of the offside passenger door and a chip to the grille at the front.
Detailed images of these exterior and aforementioned interior issues and shown at the end of the accompanying gallery. To be fair, they are all minor and any professional body shop/detailer worth their salt would make short shrift of them – and for not a lot of money either.
At the photo location, the MG was frequently repositioned by this writer and photographer to obtain the best of the challenging light at this time of year. As expected, the car started first and every time and settled into an appreciative four-pot burble.
Honda’s five speed manual gearbox connected smoothly and the clutch engaged with no drama, requiring a just the gentlest of revs to get underway.
The custodian reports the car to be in good mechanical condition with steering, brakes, engine, drivetrain and running gear performing as well as their respective engineers intended nearly forty years ago. There is a spare fan belt in engine compartment and the car has received new shock absorbers, new tyres, a new exhaust system, a new exhaust manifold, new HT leads, spark plugs and a rotor arm.
Like the immediately visible parts of this car, the underside and lower sills of the car present in good order with a degree of natural oxidation that may reasonably be expected on a car of this age and mileage.
Driveable examples of the MG Maestro are very few and far between. Indeed, there are only 15 MG Maestro 2.0 EFi models current registered in the UK. We’ll wager that few of those will present in the condition as the one offered here.
In D201 OYD, we have a tidy and healthy example of what could have been one of the UK’s hottest hatches back in the 1980s, as the MG Maestro neared the end of its production life just months later, to be succeeded by the Rover 200/400 MkII models.
In addition, membership to the MG Owner’s Club and Maestro & Montego Owner’s Club, are open to everyone with historic, current and future interest in this prestige marque and their respective members are as knowledgeable, helpful and enthusiastic as they come.
G’won, because you’re here, pop on a cheeky bid…you know you want to!
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1987 MG Maestro 2.0 EFi
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