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Maestro, please. - Winga Dinga


vulgalour
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My Parents had an F plate Maestro, I remember picking it up with them in 1989 from Charles Clarke in Wolverhampton,  they part exchanged an Ital estate and drove away in a brand new motor!  Within 5 years or so the rear arches had rotted and needed replacement, they also enjoyed multiple FTPs normally related to the fuel pump. Soldiered on until it was 12 and I weighed it in. It was basically a crap car, but I'd love another just for old times sake. 

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One of the earliest cars of my mothers that I remember was an F-plate Maestro, it was beige, can't remember the reg - it would have been a low-spec model for sure. I vaguely remember driving to Nottingham for it, I think we traded in her old FSO Polonez. This would've been the late 90s some time. Had it for a couple of years and then sold it second hand when my dad started getting company cars and mum inherited his Primera, around 00/01.

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That ZX estate looks great.  

 

The garage looks pretty damned good too.  What's the room above it, is it habitable? I'd love to put an office room above a garage in our garden, but the chance of getting planning is less than zero.

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Very nice indeed. The Maestro was in Buckingham, which is an hour's drive up the A413 from where I live. It was up for pocket money and I saw the ad within minutes of it being posted, well before anyone responded. I thought about buying it but I have no affection for Maestros and it's too late to start a relationship now, hence I kept my hands in my pockets. 

Any chance of you posting more about your S124 please? 

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4 hours ago, loserone said:

That ZX estate looks great.  

 

The garage looks pretty damned good too.  What's the room above it, is it habitable? I'd love to put an office room above a garage in our garden, but the chance of getting planning is less than zero.

The ZX TD Avantage estate is a fully working car in use. We have had it for 9 years. 

The room above the garage is a guest bedroom, unfortunately it restricts height in the garage so we can't have a lift.

I have my study on the ground floor, but in the crook between the original house and the garage so I have a restricted view of the cars on the drive. However this week the Maestro has been in prime spot outside my window for me to ogle at.

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Maestro has landed.  Initial impression is that it's actually better than anticipated and while it does have some of the usual Maestro foibles (see headlining, or you will tomorrow) it wears its copious miles remarkably well.  @worldofceri very professional and unloaded and parked it up for me in no time, also demonstrating the Maestro starts up and runs just fine, a bit of fettling will see improvement there no doubt.  Can't take it out tonight, and even if I could I'm not sure I'd want to since freezing fog isn't my favourite weather.  Did a quick run through of the various controls and everything seems to work just fine, as you'd expect of a car that's just been MoT'd really.

I love it's miserable little face, looks right at home with the Princess.  Weather makes it look like I've gone a bit mental with the fog machine but that's the best my camera can do tonight.

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I did wipe the steering wheel and other controls down before fiddling with stuff, Covid precaution stylee, and nothing came off on the cloth.  Kinda weird buying a car with a clean steering wheel.

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Congratulations.

I have a very big, very soft, spot for Maestros. My brother - in the days before he was a millionaire - ran a Green clubman with much charm and myriad faults. I drove it once in 2000 and couldn’t believe how much people slagged them off. It was better than my Metro in every conceivable way! 

The fact you’ve been able to buy this at y2k prices is testament to what a great place this is. 

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Had time to have a proper look at this today and I'm pleasantly surprised.  There's something off with the tuning, probably just carb settings, and the rear suspension is a bit hard (probably shocks) but other than that it's actually pretty good.  Gearchange isn't woeful, it's probably the long selector rod I can see in the engine bay that's bent that's causing the issue, replacement rods are already on my watchlist and that looks a really easy job to do.  I've missed having an A series, they really are a great little engine.  I'll be releasing a proper video and updates later but the long and short of it is that it's actually a pretty good example of a Maestro, the mileage really isn't an issue, you could shave 100k off and it would still be believable.

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4 hours ago, vulgalour said:

it's probably the long selector rod I can see in the engine bay that's bent that's causing the issue

The long selector rod isn't supposed to be straight. Besides, you'd pop the sockets off the ball with such ham-fisted use long before you'd bend the metal rod.

A quick check to make; the end of the 'long' linkage is attached to a ball which itself is at the top of a vertical riser - the other end of which holds the rod from the base of the gear stick. The holder for this rod is a collar welded on to the vertical riser piece, I have seen a couple of these welds fail and the vertical plate no longer sits vertical, and ultimately you lose the ability to change gear.

Also; check you still have the correct clips and rubber spacer holding the clutch cable to the arm on the front of the gearbox.

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Well, thanks for the info on the selector rods, etc. When the video is all processed and uploaded later tonight (too late to go back and edit it now really) past me will reinforce the incorrect assumption on the rod but at least I have something to look at more properly when I start trying to fix things.

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To recap then, @Six-cylinder had this thing up for sale over in the for sale section (obviously) and I got @worldofceri to deliver it because of my stupid working hours, it's not that Six Cylinder is that far away, Buckinghamshire is very doable from here, I just couldn't get a chunk of time free at a time that would be at all practical for collection.  Both shiters highly recommended, the whole transaction was entirely trouble free and exactly the way it should be.  Here's the Maestro on Ceri's swanky tilting triple axle trailer.

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Unfortunately for Ceri, the night of delivery was a murky one of freezing fog and while our driveway is easy to unload onto, I'd completely forgotten how awkward the estate is to navigate in the dark if you've never been here before, it's all curving streets and similar looking little houses and road signs that you see just as you drive past them.  Not a problem for Ceri, who fired up the Maestro and parked it up in the new spot before heading off for a well earned evening's rest no doubt!  Then I had to sit on my hands for the evening because I literally couldn't do anything about the car until today due to a lack of light.  It's been a busy day at work but I finished almost on time for once, and got an early (for me) start.  Probably the excitement, you know how it is.

A video is coming, which will go into more depth, but our internet is still cable rather than fibre so the upload takes a little while.  Fibre upgrade is coming, it's just not here yet, apparently.  Anyway, my first look at it in the daylight was actually a pleasant surprise.  Maestros that survive now do tend to be pretty solid and the two I've had in the past - one borrowed from @skattrd years ago that first sold me on the idea of Maestros, which I then followed up with a Ledbury which was reliable but dog slow -  had meant they were always in mind as a good reliable old hack, which is what I was after.  I'm not the sort to abuse a car, as you all know, I'm more the sort to spend too much time and attention on them and then sell them at a loss because I never learn.

For the £395 paid, I was not expecting much, I'll be honest.  That's not a complaint, or a slight on six-cylinder, it's just facts.  You pay less than £500 for a car and it's going to have problems, that's a given.  The problems the car does have, that I've found so far, are all ones I was made aware of or were expected for something of this age, price range, and mileage.  What I didn't expect is how little rust I could find.  The rear arches are no worse than other Maestros I've seen with half the mileage, the front valance and rear valance are both in great condition, the bottom of the doors have some rust staining but are generally pretty solid, and the tailgate is one of the cleanest I've encountered on a Maestro in terms of rust, of which there doesn't seem to be any.  There's a tiny bit of lacquer peel on the roof (which is normal for red BL stuff of this era), and a couple of very minor dents on the body as is to be expected.  The boot is letting a very small amount of water in somewhere, I suspect the rear light cluster seals, but is otherwise pretty much pristine complete with toolkit, a funnel, and two spare belts.  I don't think there's usually a board under the carpet in Maestros, I'm pretty sure it was always just a piece of carpet.  Struts are in good shape too.

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  It has had a bump at the back, looks like it's been reversed into something, and there's signs of a couple of bits of welding inside the boot behind the bumper which might be from an attempt to straighten the panel out.  The bumper is pushed in a bit more on the driver's side than the passenger side so I'll pop that off (it's only two bolts, from memory) and see if I can improve that a bit more.  The bumper doesn't foul the tailgate or cause any problems, particularly, I'd just like it to sit a bit nicer than it does (so much for it being An Car, I'm already getting finicky).  Those rivets aren't normal either, though rear bumper corners do seem to be fairly plentiful still, as they were when I had the Ledbury.

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The engine bay is fine.  It's quite clean and tidy, the battery isn't some ancient old lump and it genuinely looks like things have been taken good care of in here.  There's a minimal oil weep from the rocker cover which is normal for an A series, and some tin foil under the carburettor which I think is some sort of home-made heat shield.  The only odd thing is the car is VERY loud at idle when cold, at first I thought it was the exhaust or manifold blowing but I can't find any evidence of that, it's more like induction noise so I wonder if there's no air filter, I haven't looked.  The tuning is off too, I feel like it's idling too low and running too rich.  Since it's an SU carb that'll be easy to sort out, parts are plentiful and it's something I know my way around.  Honestly though, the noise the engine itself makes isn't that bad, a little tappety when cold which you expect from high mileage old mills like this, but otherwise it pulls well and seems quite content to do its thing.  It is hilarious that the air box completely hides the engine and there's so much space in the engine bay I can't see anything being difficult to work on.

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Up at the front, I think it's had a replacement wing, the paint is crazed a bit on the leading edge and I think the coach bolt through the bumper cap is to make up for the plastic locater block being damaged or missing.  When the new bumper corner I ordered arrives, I'll investigate further on this.  For now, not an issue.

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The fabric of the headlining is gone.  You can still buy the foam backed headlining to redo this, it's a fairly easy job.  The old board is in reasonable shape and has been painted white, this is fairly standard practice and I don't mind it for now, though I will recover this because it's something I enjoy doing and it's a cheap job to do.  The sunvisors have also lost the cloth fabric and instead seem to have sandpaper glued on which is... fine... just a bit odd.

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I was delighted to see the original head unit is still in place.  I don't know if it works or not yet, I'm just happy it's still there.

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The blanking plugs for the driver's side grab handle are missing, and one of the end caps for the passenger side handle is missing.  This is very normal, they're usually fairly easy to get hold of and cheap.

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There was some treasure in the ashtray too.  I don't know what the yellow thing is, it doesn't come apart.  Hypodermic needle tip was a bit of an odd thing to find in there, the screws, safety pins, bulbs, and pound coin less so.  Car has now cost £394.

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The one thing I couldn't resist doing today was taking the seat covers off and I was astonished at what I found underneath.  Every single Maestro I've ever seen has worn out side bolsters on the driver's seat, without exception, and some have worn through fabric.  This car, this 180,000 mile winter beater of distinction, has the most perfect seats imaginable.  They're not even dirty, you can still see the very subtle paler grey pattern in the fabric.  The carpets, likewise (my camera ate the photo, but they're in the video) are pristine.

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This car has been loved in its life, that's very obvious.  The only bits of it that are damaged or worn are bits that just wear out because they weren't made the great to begin with.  There's no layers of bodges to wade through, no questionable modifications and I reckon, with just a little TLC, this car will turn into a very nice example.  I am quite frankly amazed at how good it is and I know, without a doubt, I'm going to end up getting attached to it, which wasn't the plan.

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54 minutes ago, vulgalour said:

This car has been loved in its life, that's very obvious.

The chap who had it before us passed away and his family was disposing of the car. He had owned it from new and kept it garaged all its life. Other than its brief sojourn at ours, it is essentially the 'one owner car'.

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