More Car Show Classics From Spain: (Austin) Montego Mayfair – Maybe Fair

When I found the picture of the Lotus 7 clone in Spain yesterday, I foolishly didn’t make the connection to some other shots posted by kurtzos too, and said it was the only one.  My bad: we’ll cover a few more, starting with this Montego. I know the Montego has a quite a story, but its going to be the bedtime version, and a scary one at that.

The Montego was the trunk-back sedan counterpart to the hatchback Maestro. The fact that the development of these cars started in around 1975, and they finally hit the market in 1984 probably suggests something about the state of BL at the time. The Montego was to be a technological showcase, with a solid state talking dashboard that was famous for calling out “Abort! Abort!” whenever it sensed some impending dysfunction. I kid; but not about the problems with this technological disaster of an IP. It was soon aborted by BL for a more conventional one.

In an apparent change of technological priorities, the Maestro/Montego dumped the famous Issigonis Hydrolastic suspension for one almost perfectly cribbed from the VW Golf.

That’s Chapter One of the Montego. I’m going to have to skip some of the ones in the middle, like when it lost its Austin. But the last one is about how the Montego earned the distinction of being one of Britan’s most-scrapped cars, and only some 8000 are still in existence; or were when that fact was last proclaimed. Who knows how many are left today? But this one in Madrid looks positively hale and hearty, given the Montegos compulsion to rust under its body cladding, which was not painted prior to having said cladding applied. This one must be one of the last years of production. After a few years of beta testing on its customers, BL sometimes did manage to get things right.

I know the Montego had redeeming qualities, otherwise BL wouldn’t have sold some 436k of them during its decade of production. But I’m going to leave it to others to extol those virtues.