Low mileage, restored and resplendent in light lemon, this classic Austin needs a new home
By Matt Bird / Saturday, 28 October 2023 / Loading comments
Old cars that aren’t worth a million pounds tend to fall into two camps. There are those legendary automobiles that were revered back in the day and then even more so decades later; the ones that are expensively restored and even get manufacturers recommissioning spare parts for. The ones we all wished we’d kept in a dry garage when they were dirt cheap (or not crashed into trees).
On the other hand, there are those cars that were never really feted as greats in period or in the 21st century. Without such a dedicated following (or the values that go with it), there aren’t that many survivors, parts are harder to come by, and restorations go unfinished. Assuming they were ever undertaken in the first place, as it takes a very dedicated soul to put a lot of money into a car that’s never going to be worth a great deal. The survivors from this camp tend to be those untouched, original examples that have never seen rain and were kept for best. It very seldom happens.
Yet what we have here, quite obviously, is an Austin Montego estate. That profile really is as recognisable as any wedge of supercar. Not really an iconic car of any kind, but one that’s been lovingly restored nonetheless. The selling dealer says there’s a video documenting the progress, and you’d have to assume plenty of paperwork to go with it.
Furthermore, while only so much can be ascertained from pictures (and using the eye of a non-expert), this Montego looks like a good job. Everything fits and is finished as it should be, the paintwork in particular looks great, and BL fans – we all know they’re out there – will love the interior, complete with those cut-out headrests, two-spoke wheel and brown plastic trim. It’s not so much a nostalgia trip as an all-expenses paid, round-the-world nostalgia cruise. Those of us familiar with the rear bench of a Montego estate might not know what to do behind the wheel…
This one is a lowly 1.6 L, which makes the effort lavished on it all the more exceptional. It never would have been fast or wildly desirable in the mid-1980s, yet here it is almost 40 years later showing just 34,000 miles – and probably looking better than it ever has. Which still isn’t conventionally beautiful, granted, but we’d guarantee more attention and appreciation in this than almost any ’80s supercar.
The asking price is £8,200. Which is… well, who can say, really. Montegos and Maestros of any stripe come up for sale so seldom now, let alone restored, that it’s hard to know really what constitutes good value. And even that question alone might be immaterial; this Austin is certainly going to be a heart rather than a head purchase, and another opportunity won’t be along soon. If you want it, you’re going to get it. And potentially be in with a chance of winning something at Festival of the Unexceptional come 2024 – it’s got the right numberplate for it…
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