Adventures In British Leyland Marketing: You Ain't Seen Nothing Like the MG Maestro Yet!

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
adventures in british leyland marketing you ain t seen nothing like the mg maestro

Even though I’ve never been in a Austin/MG Maestro, I feel fairly confident in stating that the Rover Group’s little front-drive compact was unexciting at best. Still, the advertising folks must have though (after 11 rounds of Singapore Slings down at the pub) we can make it look cute and sexy!

You decide. Bachmann-Turner Overdrive plus models in post-apocalyptic/crypto-punk outfits plus a general jittery sense of enforced silliness equals… big sales? Not really. The surreal touch of having the post-chick-consumption car say “BURP!” with a Mylar balloon poking out of the trunk adds something special, though.

You want happy silly instead of grim silly? Those ad hucksters should have gone to Japan for some education in making miserably underpowered small cars look fun. For example, pick just about any Starlet ad.

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  • Mharrell Mharrell on Nov 16, 2011

    As one of the few North American members of The MG 'M' Group (1998), the club for MG Metro, Maestro, and Montego enthusiasts, I must protest! The Maestro is, ah, um.... Well, honestly, I have no idea. I've never seen one. I've just got a Metro. I believe it is best described as "an MG."

  • Beerboy12 Beerboy12 on Nov 16, 2011

    OF those cars the Renault was actually quite good, especially when they ripped the engine out the front and put it in the back to make the turbo version. One other thing, I know those adds are rubbish but honestly, they aren't any better today. Still a pack of lies trying to make an abysmal product seem tolerable...

    • Theirishscion Theirishscion on Nov 17, 2011

      Yes, having owned a succession of first and 2nd generation R5s, I can confirm that, whilst fairly dreadful by today's standards, they weren't _nearly_ as bad as you might expect. Mine were fundamentally quite reliable as well, I never had to walk anywhere as a result of mechanical failure, though I did have to learn how to drive variously without clutch, hydraulic brakes, headlights and a self sustaining idle at various points. I also spent quite a bit of time listening to wheel bearings and CV joints noisily failing. And the wipers weren't terribly good and the seats were terrible (replaced with the driver's seat out of a Corolla on a custom adapter bracket, solved that problem). But the suspension was surprisingly good, they were tardis-like in interior space, and the little engines and transmissions were functionally unkillable. Of course, I never paid more than 500 punts for one either, which goes a long way to explaining why mine were catching a touch of unreliability.

  • Mr_min Mr_min on Nov 17, 2011

    Actually the 4wd turbo starlet was a bit of a hot hatch in the day. Classic Toyota conservative tune, meant that if you found one you could wind the boost up and create your very own GLHS :) The rest of the car was crap tho..

  • VanillaDude VanillaDude on Nov 17, 2011

    I never thought the 1980s were cool. Honest. I never did. I never owned any of those clothes. Nothing in those colors. Never. And the hair. I never did that with my hair. If you have any photos of me in clothes that look like that with hair like that - that isn't me. And I would pay you some nice cash for the photo negatives.