I’ve got a bit of a thing for unloved classics. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Muira as much as the next slobbering petrolhead, but there’s just something heart-warming about a slightly ugly, chronically slow, cheap old motor.
And in particular, the much-maligned Austin Maxi.
The Maxi was an integral part of my childhood: shopping trips, family holidays and communal journeys to football training were all done in the trusty Maxi. My old man had a couple, even trading up to a newer, ‘posher’ model when he won a few quid on Spot The Ball.
Not so long ago, you couldn’t walk down a street in Britain without seeing a Maxi, but when was the last time you saw one pootling about in general use? These days, you’ve got more chance of seeing a Ferrari than a Maxi.
Which is why, when I stumbled across this advert on Car & Classic, I stopped dead in my tracks. For a start, the title grabbed me. The best Maxi in the world? That’s quite a claim.
Here’s the advert text in full:
“Purchased in 1980 by the renown Maxi collector Dr Goodfellow of Leicester as one of the last Maxi mk1s made. He had 6 Maxis and 9 houses. This was the one he was keeping for the next life, professionally stored since 1983, I purchased the vehicle with 2,500 miles on the clock in February 2016.
The seats had been covered, and it had been heavily Zeibarted. It was in an ‘as new’ condition. I have put on a new exhaust, tyres, battery etc and taken the mileage up to 6000. It is a 1750 HLS model with a unique walnut dashboard, MGB instruments and even a rear wash/wipe. The car featured heavily in the recent ‘Leyland Legacy’ article written for the Car and Classic magazine.
The term time warp is an over used one in classic car adverts, but this one even smells like a new car. It runs well and is faultless, It would suit a museum or serious collector. It will qualify for historic vehicle status in April. I will be sad to get rid of it but just have too many cars to store. I don’t have to sell it so please save mine and your time by not coming up with any offers or trade ins. This car will amaze and convince the first viewer. If you want the best Maxi in the world – this is it.”
And what a lovely looking thing it is. Even if you don’t have the same weird fetish for Maxis as I do, it’s a very clean, almost limousine-like side profile. (Pictures pilfered from the Car & Classic website – they ain’t mine)
And that interior! To paraphrase Ol’ Henry, ‘any colour you like, as long as it’s brown.’
So now the interesting bit. It’s £9,000. Nine thousand pounds for an Austin Maxi. That is eye-wateringly steep, even for an ‘as new’ unmolested one. I still kick myself for not picking up the Concours-winning example I saw advertised for £200 a few years ago, so seeing one go for the fat end of ten gees is more than a little bit galling.
I suppose on the flip side, that’s only £1.50 for every mile its covered in its unusually cossetted life.
So if I had the disposable, would I buy it? I have to say, I think I probably would. It’d make a great lugger for my photography gear, but would probably cost me a wife and the respect of most of my friends.
And for that reason, sadly I’m out. However, if you’ve got nine grand to spunk on The Best Austin Maxi in the Whole Wide World™ (and good luck to you if you do), you can find the advert here.