Tuesday, February 22, 2011

1986 (Austin) Maestro Vanden Plas - In The US!

This is a luxury car. The Brits are great. Until recently our idea of a luxury car was something big, chromed, floaty and gaudy. Not so the Brits. They would throw wood and leather in just about any car, slap a Vanden Plas badge on it and create an instant luxury car. You gotta love it.

This is a Vanden Plas version of a Maestro. The Maestro, introduced in 1983, essentially replaced the beloved Maxi and the not-so-beloved Allegro in BL's lineup. Over the years it was badged as an MG, Austin and Rover. Roomy, economical and pleasant (if not exciting) to drive, it, like so many of BLs late-seventies / early-eighties cars, was not well put together and had more than its fair share of problems.

Who cares about all that, though? This is a cool car and it's in the US.

The seller says this car is mechanically "fine". The body has some issues, including some minor rust and a paint job that seller says makes "the car look like it has leprosy". The interior looks to be in overall good condition.

Driving a RHD car in the US can be scary and that would be the only thing that would keep me from buying this car.

Legally imported, the seller has all the EPA and Customs documents you'll need to register / title this car.

Located in New Orleans, LA, click here to see the eBay listing. This appears to be a no reserve auction.

The link to this car was sent to me by JaCG reader, Alex. He also included a link to a website / forum called Autoshite.com. (Alex posted a little blurb about Just a Car Geek there - Thanks Alex!) It's now 1:30 AM and I've been reading it for most of the night. It's addictive as hell and something any JaCG reader would enjoy.


Max Power said...

Holy moly a friggin Maestro in the US? Very cool indeed and the Autoshite website is amazing however the link in the post does not work as it is linked to the Just A Car Geek URL.

For more information on the Maestro and all of its Austin Rover/British Leyland/BMC etc....visit www.aronline.co.uk

Just A Car Geek said...

I fixed the link. After spending half the night reading Autoshite.com, I was pretty tired by the time I finished that post!


Blair Russell said...

I love the Autoshite name, mainly because it is named Autoshite. But, the content that I've seen from poking around is rather amusing. Of course, the readers of this site should love the other site, and vice versa.

I've seen in person some RHD vehicles around here, so I guess that some people are fine with it. Not too surprisingly, both cases were old-school Mini's, which I thought was pretty great. The second example just happened to be earlier tonight on a major toll road in Orlando! I was able to spot it rather easily as I passed it by.

Anyway, it's pretty great to see a Maestro Vanden Plas in America.

Jon said...

RHD in a left hand drive world?

I did it for a while, and would not wish to repeat it.

Here is a typical scenario. Imagine you are behind a school bus that is picking up kids and slowly making its way up a narrow two lane road. After a dozen tedious minutes, you finally decide to pass the bus. The bus slowly starts to take off from a standing start.

With a RHD Fiat (yeah, laugh it up fellas...) I used to be able to lurch my body left into the passenger area (with my right hand on the wheel) and "peek" around the corner. The altruistic part of me had to make sure the road was clear before unleashing those 750cc's of pure Panda fury on the unsuspecting masses. The vastly smaller and more intelligent part of my brain did'nt want to end up looking like a squashed bug on the grille of an oncoming truck.

With a low slung sports car, this maneuver was IMPOSSIBLE to do. Passing became a game of Russian Roulette. At one point I thought about fitting a mirror on the left side of the car which would allow me to see oncoming traffic. I gave up on the idea when I thought of the headlight factor at night.

It was far easier to go out and find a LHD model.

Off topic rambling follows...

It's funny you mention the "wood and leather" trim on the Vanden Plas. You would be surprised, but the French went this route with the "Baccara" editions of the Renault Super 5 and Clio. While there was a larger motor under the hood, the real attraction was the well put together leather seating package and power assisted everything. From the Wiki:

"The Baccara and GTX versions also used the 1.7 engine - the former sporting a full leather interior, power steering, electric windows, sunroof, high specification audio equipment and as extras air-conditioning and On-Board Computer."

A lot of folks thought this was a crazy idea, because the price was really through the roof. However it became a best seller with well heeled women from Paris (due to the parking issue) and the chic western suburbs.

rrshadow2 said...

I know you're going to Say No F-ing Way, but I have one of these Too! I live in Seattle! Mine is a 1983 in Burgundy with a brown cloth interior, I imported mine 3 years ago and when I found out about this one, I was sad! I now don't have the Only one in the US

Anonymous said...

i just bought this car and wanted to know if any of you know where i can get parts? thanks for all your help.

rrshadow2 said...

Since I have the Only other Masestro in the US here in Seattle I can tell you right now, you're not going find Anything for it in this country, you're going to be a slave to E-bay that's where I get all my parts I need for mine. It took me almost 3 years to find a speedo transducer when my speedometer quit working, which it will, so hunt a spare one of those down while you can still get one, any other questions you can e-mail me at rrshadow2@yahoo.com