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I'm a bit of a car nut, and I own 4 cars, including a BMW 760, 540 and my dream car a BMW 850. But my pride and joy is my Montego.
I have owned my Montego for around 10 years, and have had many happy times driving her.
She is a 2.0 SLX four door saloon. The O series carb engine produces 104bhp, which compared to today's cars isn't a lot. But she weights around 1 tonne, which gives a 0-60 time of under 10 seconds, and being lightweight I average a combined mpg of 35.
My Montego features central locking, front electric windows, electric sunroof and power steering. Other features available included an LED dash with voice alerts, and full leather seats. For a nearly 30 year old model, the Montego did come with quite a range of equipment options.
Inside is spacious with seating for 5, and the rear seats fold down allowing for carrying larger items that would not have fitted in the boot alone.
The dash on my Montego has started to crack, but is repairable, and the headlining fabric did sag, but was easily replaced.
The exterior is pleasing, with simple lines. Rust is an issue, but wheel arches and other panels can still be purchased quite cheaply. Unfortunately, as numbers drop, they are getting rarer at scrapyards, and there may be some difficulty getting less common parts but service parts can still be found at most motor factors.
The car handles quite well, the suspension is soft which means the car does roll when going round corners. The brakes are decent even though the rears are drum brakes, and the 5 speed manual gearbox is smooth and cooperative.
My Montego has been very reliable. The Montego was one of the first cars to have an electric choke, which I understand was the cause of a lot of the breakdowns. This had been removed from my car by the previous owner. There have only been 2 breakdowns, the carb needle got stuck, and a burst cooling pipe, both of which were easily repaired by the breakdown service chap.
With the numbers of this seemingly unloved model dwindling (there are only 9 2.0 SLX left in the UK), they are just starting to go up in value. If you want a fun British built car that could be a good investment, I would recommend a Montego.
Good fuel economy.
Bullet proof O series.
Spacious saloon, even more so estate.
Starting to appreciate in value.
Soft suspension/comical handling.
Parts just starting to get a little difficult to find.
My Dad was looking for a workhorse car and found one of these at a local independant garage.White 2.0 litre fuel Injected Mayfair model 1988/89 with 40,000 odd miles on the clock,4 ears or so old and not too many owners.
After 5 minutes of me driving it I pointed out the clutch needed replacing! It had a rev counter and the "slip" was obvious,he drives around very steadily without really testing it so did not notice.This did not put him off for some reason,they fitted a new clutch and threw in two tyres for the back wheels.He bought it for £4K, a bit expensive maybe but it was well equiped being a "Mayfair".
He had been spoiled for years,owning Executive class company cars since the 1970s,cheap motoring was taken for granted and he just isn't into cars like me.
OK,time will tell if the Montego was any good,the only other one to buy a Montego was my mad cousin.He had the super quick MG Turbo and quickly got nicked by the Police doing 120mph+ along the M6,yes they were very fast! He came very close to losing his licence in court,sold the car on and bought something else just as mad.
My dads Montego was quite good too,2.0 litres were more than enough to pull this estate along at a respectable rate of knots,unfortunately on the Motorway while sitiing in the back I noticed the car was wobbling horribly,very worrying and I advised Dad to take it back to the garage.Turns out they fitted cheap remould tyres and over 40 Mph it was very noticable they were not that round! It was like a Flinstones car,wobble,wobble at the back.They relented and put two decent tyres on for him just to get him out of the showroom!
My Dad does not look after his cars too well,he runs them into the ground.After a few years and clocking upto 80,000 miles plus,rust started showing around the arches,bottom of doors and the tailgate,typical BL crap quality build,it was embarrasing.Luckily to our amazement it was stolen one night off the driveway and we never saw it again!
Security on these cars was non existant and Dad never fitted an alarm or immobiliser to it,quite frankley they did him a favour.He didn't buy another one but still insists it was a good car,maybe he was right?
I think this was when he bought my Sierra estate off me,a far better car in my opinion.
Thanks for reading my review and I hope you found it interesting.If this has been useful to you and you take time to leave Your rating it will be appreciated and hope you will take a look at my other reviews sometime.I also leave reviews on the Ciao website about this and other items,many thanks!
I was a very happy owner of a 1985 Austin Montego until it clapped out on me during winter 2 years back. It lived a good long life. I had very little trouble with my Montego in the 3 years I owned it for. During the time I had my Montego I bought another spares or repairs so I was able to swap any parts over. What is an Austin Montego? An Austin Montego was produced to rival the likes of the Vauxhall Cavalier and the Ford Sierra. The Montego can be bought in Saloon and Estate form. The Montego is mainly aimed for a family, as it’s a very spacious car. Equipment. Radio Cassette Solid Paint. Sunroof. Cigarette lighter Rear seat belts This is all I can think of for now, but as this car was the basic model equipment was very very low. I would truly recommend you spend a few hundred extra for the Vanden Plas, which has all the extras available in its time. Value. I bought mine for around £1000 almost 4 years ago. I thin I got a real bargain with my Montego because I had covered over 70,000 miles since I bought it. These cars can be bought for much less than this now about £400 for one in good condition on a G registration. I had almost trouble free motoring in all the years of owning mine, which may come as a surprise to many. Reliability. I have heard that some Austin Montego’s have been an absolute nightmare. I think it all depends they have been previously looked after. My Montego in the 70,00 miles needed 4 new tyres at the front and 2 new ones at the back. Other problems I had with my Montego were the clutch and cable, battery, radiator and some welding to the rear wheel arch which is quite expensive, about £100. Interior. The interior of the old Montego’s can’t stand up to much wear and tear especially the seats. I had the lower spec model the standard 1.6 engine (bottom of the range). I thought the higher class the bet
ter the interior but looking at my old spares or repairs Montego things were worse. The interior was all very cheap looking and it was all quite plastic. Exterior. My Montego was not the most of attractive of cars neither on the road nor in its class. Metallic paint was not standard on my entry model so I had to make so with white. The car comes with full size wheel trims, which on mine had fell off! The build quality of the exterior trim is quite poor for example the plastic door handles. Whenever frost arrives the handles go brittle and often snap off which makes the car a M.O.T failure. Performance. A 1600 engine is not the biggest of engines but produces adequate performance for all road driving. When new the 1.6 would have reached to 60 mph in 10.9 seconds, which I can’t believe, and a claimed top speed of only 102! The Montego has a very willing engine but very noisy especially on the motorway. I have reached 80 with not too many problems but when you try to exceed that you would be quite disappointed. The 1600 pick up speed quite easily in the lower gears but when accelerating at high speeds of 80mph the car dies. Brakes. The brakes on the Montego are reasonable and were quite affective in there day. I had no Abs but they were still adequate performers. Steering/ Road holding. The steering is quite heavy when paring so I would recommend that PAS is standard. The road holding wasn’t bad but in 1980’s you couldn’t find much better. The Montego did handle quite well but there was quite a bit of body roll when it was pushed hard around corners. Build Quality. The build quality of the old Montego’s is very poor. Everything is very cheap and easily breakable. The exterior of the Montego is also built to a poor standard. I had a bash to the front of the car, which was claimed on the insurance. The 1990 golf I bashed into came of a lot bet
ter than me. Numerous panels had to be replaced such as wings, bonnet, and bumper. Luckily there was no mechanical damage. Servicing. Servicing is very important if you can’t afford to buy another car. Servicing is cheap at little private garages. A service needs to be done every 8,000 miles to keep your car healthy. With a car this old don’t go to a Rover garage and assume they will do a better job, they wont and you will pay through the nose for it. Engines. Montego’s are good workhorses if they are looked after well a Montego, which has had regular servicing all its life and has been kept garaged shall live a long age approximately 16 years+. Rust. Garaging this car is so very important because these cars are rust magnets. Rust is there worst enemie and is a problem, which happens to all poor treated Montego’s. Rust mainly appears under the wheel arches and underneath so WATCH OUT! Model range. The prices now don’t vary much whether you go for the standard 1300 or the 1600 Van den Plas. There are plenty of models to choose from such as: Miles Per Gallon. Like all cars this performs best on the motorway for m.p.g. If you stick to a steady 60-65mph you can get around 40-45 mpg on a long run. Around town you get around 33 mpg. Not bad for a car of this size. · Standard 1300 · Standard 1600 · 1600 L · 1600 HL · 1600 Mayfair · Vanden Plas Efi. · 1600 Est. · L Est. · HL Est · 2000 HL Est. · Vanden Plas Estate. · Mg Turbo. Overall. If it’s a cheap family run around your after you cant go wrong with the Montego because there so cheap. Watch out for rust and maintenance records. Avoid high milers with little or no service record. It’s a good idea like me to have another spares or repairs. A Montego spares or repairs can be bought for as little as £40 Eng
lish Pounds. Thanks. If there is anything I can add let me know. Sam Williams © P.S I can’t believe imp the first to write about the 1.6 Montego, or is every one ashamed they ever owned one!?
The Austin-Rover Montego was another of the British cars of the time that seems destined to be wrote into history as a typical British Leyland failure. However if you scratch beneath the surface it really is significantly different this. As everyone can remember the British motor industry was in ruin in the late 70's and early 80's with the famous British Leyland (BL) 3 day week with strikes, lack of funding and some badly taken decisions by Leyland management. What BL needed to do was to produce some good selling cars and fast as the vultures approached. Luckily enough they came up with three winners in the Metro, Maestro and the Montego. These all sold very well and all of these models were produced for over 10 years. So in actual fact the Montego was a success in helping maintain the British motor industry and it's the Montego that i'm going to talk about today. As I said BL needed a range of cars to compete in the market. They had the Metro/MiniMetro developed for the small car market, the Maestro for the small family car and hence needed a car to develop for the executive/family market, and this is where the Montego came in. The Montego was launched in 1984 with a wide range of options. There were several engine choices to ensure a wide appeal. Firstly at the low end the trusty Austin A+ Series 1.3 engine, in the middle the pretty beefy 1.6 litre R series (this was soon modified and became the S Series) and at the high end the speedy 2 litre O series. Aswell as the standard Austin versions, an MG version was developed. This had a 2 litre EFI (electronic fuel injection) engine which kept it up with the MG sporting badge offering a very nippy 115 bhp. To complete the MG range a Montego Turbo was developed with a whopping 150 bhp and a 0-60 of just 7.2 seconds! To complete the full line up an estate was developed, and these have become remarkably popular with there spacious boots, 7 seats and good engine
s. This is why the Montego's were popular. Although early models were plagued by suspect build quality, rust was always a problem and the brand name of Austin-Rover had taken a bashing, here they developed a nice range of cars with some very good engines, excellent practicality particularly with the remarkably spacious 7 seater Montego Estate and all at what were reasonable prices. Also the Montego helped to sustain the MG name throughout the 80's and early 90's, a badge that has such a tradition with British motors. All in all the Montego was a nice motor and should be looked for even now. They have low second hand sale values which means people can pick up excellent second hand bargains which will give them many years sterling work. There are many Montegos who have done well over 100,000 miles and are still going strong so this shows the quality of the engines powering these motors. Just remember when looking at these second hand motors to check for the most hard thing to remedy, rust. The main black spots are the rear wheel arches, pillars and sills. Although remember a little rust can be remedied and to find a car of these ages with no rust at all is rare.
The seven seater 2.0 Montego Countryman estate variant is available on the 2nd hand market for very reasonable prices. An M reg 1994 with 55000 miles costs around £1500. Compare that to a Renault Espace of equivalent age and mileage, £5500. Now let me clarify my position. I do not for one minute suggest that they are equivalents, they are patently not. The Espace is a modern purpose built people carrier, with a large dose of style and panache. The Montego is an old design with absolutely no style or street cred and the bodywork and fittings are of poor quality. However, if you consider three things, a) what can I afford and b) What do I actually need, c)Am I a fashion victim, then I think I can make a very strong case for the Montego. If you are on a limited budget you want a car which has low maintenance, is reliable and practical. The Montego is all of these. You may have a large family and need a car for the school run, shopping trips, family visits. Again the Montego will cope admirably. The Montego has the same versatility as a people carrier, the reat boot seats fold down to return the car to its estate mode and the middle row fold down to provide a huge load space. Spares are readily available for the Montego, definitely not the case for some of the imported People carriers, the Montego is cheap and also the engine is basic and lends itself to self maintenance. My biggest concern is security, I have been told that you can break into one with a teaspoon. It has no factory fitted alarm, immobiliser etc. I recently hired a Peugot 806 and was impressed with the concept but unfortunately my budget did not stretch to more than the Montego which we bought yesterday. Hopefully I am correct in my assumptions!! Breaking news. The lock on the rear door has packed in and needs repaired. I think the comments regarding the quality of the locks / security could be ominous.
Can you remember the Austin Montego? I actually had one a few years ago, an F reg 1.6L model in white. I bought it because I needed a car and it was cheap. The operative word here is, cheap. You realised this when you climbed aboard, and just peroused the tacky cock-pit. Buttons on the dash that once had a purpose, now fell off when touched. The gear stick felt nobbly and crunchy. And those awful cloth seats showed every stain that had been spilt since it had been bought. There were annoying rattles inside when the car moved off. Although the Montego handled quite well, and the engine was very willing, everything else on the car seemed to be falling off. Can you remember the adverts of the late 1980's when Montegos were thrashed around the company car park and spun 180 degrees into that tight parking space? The Montego was shown as a capable car with flair and style. I can remember, too, when the Mitsubishi Galant was seen as a neck and neck rival of the Montego, and it was hoped that it would steal the Montego's thunder. Funny, eh? The Galant was a far better car than the Montego could ever dream of being, and still is. The fact that you can hardly find a Montego on the roads these days, even though Rover built them up to 1995, believe it or not, must demonstrate that the Montego was hardly a car to be taken seriously, even though Austin Rover would have you believe it was 12 years ago. Funny how time reveals all, eh?