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An astonishing Austin Rover Ledbury Maestro with only 4,701 miles.
The Rover Ledbury Maestro, a fascinating car with a story to tell. Originally destined for assembly operations at the new Rover Groups Project Enterprise plant in Bulgaria, only 2,200 units in KD, (Knock Down), kits were produced ready to be exported. The plant was expected to produce 10,000 cars annually when built in 1994. The projects rapid demise due to advanced competition from other car makers and broken contractual agreements meant that 621 ‘cancelled export order’ Maestros mainly hatchbacks but some vans, left-hand drive and crated up in complete kit form were snapped up by the multi-millionaire boss and ex Formula One team owner, Paul Stoddart. His warehouse at a garage he owned in Herefordshire that he could convert to build the cars was called Parkway Services, it was in Ledbury, hence the name Ledbury Maestro. The conversion from left to right hand drive which involved a new dashboard, steering components, wipers and headlights. The first cars have R-reg plates but they’re available on anything up to a 51 plate and at the time they were sold for £4,995 making it Britain’s cheapest car. Source: Rover, Bulgaria, and an F1 team owner: The curious story of the Ledbury Maestro by James Foxall and Ledbury Maestro – Rodacar’s Bulgarian Austin by Keith Adams.
Bolt-on wings, laminated windscreen, childproof rear locks, locking fuel cap, internally adjustable door mirrors, digital clock, illuminated cigar lighter, manual choke with warning lamp, heated rear window, rear wash/wipe, height adjustable seatbelts, rear seatbelts, twin swivelling sun visors with docket pockets, two speed wipers with intermittent and flick-wipe, lockable glovebox, rake-adjustable front seats, coat hooks, coin tray, ash tray. Dealer accessories; Genuine Rover rubber overmats.
Available in only three colours; White Diamond, Flame Red and Midnight Blue, as in this example, being the rarest of the trio. A beautiful gloss finish is a testament to the miniscule miles covered, pampered low ownership and indoor storage. Based on Clubman specification but without a sunroof, the 5dr design is practical and roomy with bundles of nostalgic charm. The silver pinstripe is still fitted and the front screen has minor delamination to the corners. The Ledbury cars use suspension designed for the diesel model with its heavier engine given them better ground clearance for the shocking state of late-1990s Bulgarian roads. Present at many classic car shows, this example is used to pulling in the crowds!
Simple and very functional the Flint coloured seats with Sports Crayons facing and interior trim is in excellent condition. Room for five adults with a generous boot for luggage, 60/40 split rear seats and large glass area allows for enjoyable family outings. Ledbury experts will be aware of some trim differing in shade due to the nature of assembly and the km/h speedo despite being RHD! The boot area is very clean complete with jack and tools and the BNNNN chassis tag which is correctly tag-welded to the boot floor. Unique and fascinating.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The renown 1.3 litre A-plus engine needs little introduction and is legendary for its driveability and excellent economy, this low mileage example being no exception. The 62bhp feels spirited, is quiet and offers very low maintenance costs. Performance figures are quoted at a top speed of 98mph and 0-60mph in 13.2secs. The VW derived five-speed gear box is precise and light.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
14in steel rims with full width wheel trims have a few barely noticeable marks and are shod in Goodyear GT 175/70 R14 tyres with excellent tread. The diagonally split dual-circuit hydraulic brakes with servo assistance offer strong stopping power.
Registered brand new on the 3rd January 2001 by Parkway Prestige Garage in Ledbury before long-term custodian Mr Cottle purchased it on the 11th January 2001. In his prized care until 2020 and used solely for pleasure and strictly garaged at all other times. Only two further British Leyland Austin Rover enthusiasts subsequently, this example is a rare and preserved part of Maestro history. Gracing the classic car shows and always a topic of interesting conversation! All handbooks, spare keys, brochures are included in the history file along with documented invoices for works and historic MOT certificates warranting the miniscule 4,701 miles covered. To watch period videos of the Ledbury Maestro please click on these links: Top Gear Video and Men & Motors Video
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