Blog: Dave LeggettFor sale: 'brand-new' Rover Maestro, only eight years old and eight miles recorded...

Dave Leggett | 2 July 2003

I spotted a rare car near just-auto's offices in Bromsgrove yesterday. Parked outside a local garage was a brand-new Rover Maestro Clubman Turbo D - with just eight miles on the clock. So where did they get that? It turned out the Maestro was the official "last of line" example which rolled out of Rover's Large Car Plant in Cowley (now BMW's Plant Oxford which makes the new Mini) in 1995. The diesel Clubman was one of a couple of Maestro variants kept in production - to fill a gap in the market for a cheap diesel fleet special - long after the model line's replacement, the Honda Concerto-based 200/400 series, was launched in '89.

Our local garage told us they got their milestone car from a recent Bonhams auction held to sell off some of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust (BMIHT) vehicle collection. These cars are displayed in the purpose-buit Heritage Motor Centre (HMC) in Gaydon, Warwickshire, next door to the former British Leyland proving ground, which is now a major development and test centre for Ford UK operations including Land Rover and Aston Martin. For years, BMIHT had "first-refusal" rights to the former British Leyland and Rover Group's first- and last-of-line models - I've seen the first-ever production MGF, the last-ever Range Rover Classic and the last two MGBs ever built on display at HMC over the years.

The centre was originally built and run under Rover's direction (the car collection is independently owned by the trust) and control subsequently passed to BMW, during its ownership of Rover, before moving to Ford when the US giant acquired Land Rover from the Germans.

In November last year, BMIHT decided, as reported on just-auto, that its collection was "somewhat limited in its appeal, as it consisted mainly of marques that came together to form British Leyland" and that the "collection needed to reflect more accurately the diversity of the British motor industry as a whole". So BMIHT said it would "dispose of a number of duplicate and similar vehicles" by first offering them to other car museums (the UK has many including Lord Montagu's famous National Motor Museum complex at Beaulieu near Southampton) before offering "selected vehicles" to the public.

Graeme Roberts


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