The Maxi was another one of the many cars that my parents owned during the 1970s, although, as was often the case, the decision to purchase one was more my Dad's idea. He became almost obsessed with changing the car every six months, but we experienced the pleasure(?) of driving around in a blue Maxi for a short while, at least!
Now, my Dad usually bought low mileage second hand cars such as demonstrators, but decided to splash out on a brand new maxi. He told the local garage to deliver it on a Saturday as he never took delivery of a car on Friday due to some weird superstition about it being bad luck.
The most famous person to drive a Maxi was John Lennon. He managed to crash a snowberry white one on 1st July 1969 while on a family holiday. They had actually set-off from their home at Tittenhurst Park in a Mini Cooper, but found it to be too small, so rang Apple records to ask for a driver to deliver the staff car to their relatives in Liverpool, where the family had stayed the night.
Indeed, the Maxi was a spacious and practically designed car, although the styling was very mid 60s, so it quickly became dated. There was a distinct lack of curves that could be found in rival car models such as the Ford Cortina Mk 3 with its coke bottle styling. Cost-cutting measures meant that the door panels on the Maxi were the same as those used in the Austin 1800.
The Maxi was the last car to be designed by the British Motor Corporation (BMC). A 4 speed automatic gearbox option was made available in 1974. The E series 1485cc and 1748cc engines were built at a brand new plant in Cofton Hacknett at Longbridge.
The Maxi was superceded by the Austin Maestro, the first of which were produced in 1983.