1980 Austin Maxi – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

Restored cars are wonderful. The energy and passion that is put into bringing a car back to life is something to be in awe of. Not only that, the act of restoring a car can be relaxing and enjoyable, and in today’s chaotic world, that’s no bad thing. 

The only problem with restoration and classic cars is the widespread assumption that every classic has, at some point, been at the hot end of a MIG when that’s not the case. Out there, in the vast and wonderful world of classic cars, there are immaculate, time capsule-esque survivors that shine today as brightly as they did decades ago. A case in point would be the car we’re looking at here, a beautiful 1980 Austin Maxi

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Despite turning 40 this year, this Austin Maxi has covered just 6,000 miles. Of those, 3,500 have been covered recently by the current owner. The keen-eyed amongst you may recognise the car from our Leyland Legacy feature. In that feature, we explored how this car had, until Paul’s ownership, only covered 2,500 miles. How it was bought and then almost immediately stored, but stored properly. It was rust-proofed, it was lifted off the ground, the seats were covered as was the whole car. It truly was treated as a time capsule. 

After Paul bought the car at auction, he had it recommissioned. Hoses, fluids, battery, tyres – the stuff that no matter what you do, time will push it into being unusable. It was all renewed and the car was pushed back into service, and what a car. The body is immaculate, the trim looks as though it’s barely been sat in, it still smells like a new car. It’s remarkable. 

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But then, so was the Maxi as a car. People may like to scoff and joke about the vehicular exploits of British Leyland in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but they do so incorrectly. The Maxi was a success for BL, despite being a British Motor Company design (the Maxi would be the last car from BMC before BL took over). It might not have been a best-seller like the offerings of Ford and Vauxhall, but for BL it was a huge leap forward in terms of drive and reliability (it wasn’t perfect, but it was no Allegro). 

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The car here is a 1750HL, meaning excellent specification. You get acres of brown velour, you get wood veneer, you get Smiths dials, you get Hydragas suspension and you get the overwhelming thrill that comes from driving an original, unrestored yet immaculate car. The advert states that this £9,000 Austin Maxi is the best in the world, and honestly, we can’t see any way in which it isn’t.

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