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1988 Rover Maestro 1.3 City X - 180,000 miles and counting.

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  • 1988 Rover Maestro 1.3 City X - 180,000 miles and counting.

    It all starts here.

    This is currently my daily driver. It's on over 180,000 miles and is essentially a one owner car before me. The second owner had it long enough to make sure it was safe enough to get an MoT and reliable enough to be used as a car. I paid, including having it delivered, less than 500, which is nothing for a Maestro these days.

    It replaces a Citroen BX 1.7 non-turbo diesel. I really liked the BX a lot, they're one of my favourite cars, but after moving house I found a diesel wasn't that practical any more since I no longer needed to do the semi-regular 600 mile runs I had been for a few years. All I really needed was a happy shopper. That and the BX started messing me about with an air-in-fuel issue I couldn't pin down that self-healed pretty much as soon as it was sold to the new owner, typically.

    In short, this Maestro is worn out. It's not rusty, and it's not particularly abused, it's just well used. It came off the road for only a very brief period of its life when the first owner died and had been spending its time tucked up in a garage which is probably why it had managed to survive for so long. It's had work, it would be surprising if it never had, and I'm in the process of fixing anything that really needs it and improving as I go along. Fundamentally it's a solid little car. The bodywork has some issues, particularly the rear arches, but it's nothing that can't be fixed. The floors are generally very solid and the sills are original except for the usual trailing end repairs that most cars of this age end up needing.

    I decided this would be the car that would take me into regular Youtube videos and that has been a decision that so far has helped my little channel grow nicely. I'm also documenting as much as I can so there's information out there on what goes wrong with Maestros, what doesn't, and how to fix things. I'm doing this for the enjoyment of it, rather than any sort of profit, and I've definitely already spent more time and money on the car than it's ever likely to be worth. And I'm okay with that.
    Last edited by Vulgalour; 29th October 2021, 01:23.

  • #2
    Now, I've been keeping more in depth written posts to go alongside the videos on other fora. Rather than spend ages copying all of that over, I'm just going to do brief synopsis and video links here for now. Later I'll do the same updates here as on the other fora, so consider this the potted history. Also, if you visit my Youtube page you'll see the Maestro playlist so you can just watch the videos if you prefer.

    When the car arrived there were a few issues to deal with I knew about already. The seller was very honest about the car's condition really and that was nice. I do like an easy purchase. The key thing I needed to sort out was that the fuel and temperature guage were inoperative. I investigate to find out why, and fixed the problem.

    Happily, it was an easy fix. NOS parts to the rescue.


    • #3
      The next item, which I hadn't been aware of, is that the car let water in when it rained. Quite a lot of water in fact. I'd end up dismantling and removing the entire interior to resolve this issue and at the time of posting this, I'm still on the look out for a decent tailgate or, at the very least, a section of rear screen surround so I can repair the rust issue in my existing tailgate. If anyone has any leads, drop me a line.

      It took several videos and several weeks to get to the bottom of that issue, including a little bit of my own stupidity when I left a window open overnight when it was raining. It all worked out okay in the end, happily.


      • #4
        Along the way, little jobs were tackled. The rattling passenger head restraint for one. Tried and failed to fix the clock illumination and replaced the dash bulbs that had blown. Stuck my Mel & Kim tape in the deck to see what would happen too.

        Then it was time to reinstall the interior. I was fairly confident it wasn't letting water into the main cabin and was instead only letting it into the boot area, so it was a risk I was willing to take. This would not be the last time I'd have the interior in and out of this car though.


        • #5
          Then more random jobs to do. To sort out the clock I dismantled it to find out what was broken, and then replaced it with a NOS item I'd found online. Did some paint detailing for a bit of OEM+, and installed a new steering column shroud to replace the broken one. It all went fairly smoothly.

          After all that, I found I was still getting water in the boot and this was when I finally discovered the rot in the tailgate. I knew this was a weak point on Maestros. Because I'd eliminated all the other leaks I could find, the process of elimination led me to the tailgate in the end. Made a temporary repair until I can find a good replacement tailgate, or a repair section. I'd really like to just swap a tailgate on, I'm not looking forward to attempting to de-bond the rear screen should I have to repair my original panel.


          • #6
            One thing the car hadn't had up to this point was the first proper deep clean. Or rather, the outside hadn't. The interior did since I'd had it out of the car. That first proper wash gives you an opportunity to inspect the car more closely and to decide which jobs you're going to ignore just a bit longer.

            It revealed rather more rot in the rear arches than I was happy with. At the time of writing (spoiler alert) I've already replaced one rear arch and am well on my way through replacing the other. The videos run on a bit of a time delay since I like to try and keep each one self contained rather than rushing to give an update with every new item I've worked on and possibly not finished. Nothing horribly surprising, just something I had to put on the list as an MoT item. I thankfully had plenty of time to get around to them, source parts, etc. due to the long MoT the car came to me with.

            Then, to make life a little bit easier, someone turned up with a huge van load of spare parts which I'm still working my way through. Just an immense help really, so many items that had I had to source otherwise would have added up to really rather a lot of money what with collection and delivery costs and all that stuff. Such a boon to have received really.


            • #7
              Which brings us up to the most recent video where I get rid of the delaminating and warped number plates (which aren't the originals to the car anyway) with some lovely period appropriate ones. A job that ended up being rather more involved than simply unscrewing the old plates and screwing the new ones on!

              And that's you up to speed on the Maestro progress so far, at least for online updates. I'm further on in the real world than the videos suggest and I've got a fair few videos lined up in the schedule queue. I shall keep you all appraised of progress as and when it happens and if there's a particular Maestro job you'd like to see, let me know. If I can accommodate, I will. I'm all about sharing info and helping other owners out where possible.


              • #8
                Period Tat for the Safety Dad in this video.

                I'll be doing a little write up with some photos in a couple of days for those that prefer that.
                Last edited by Vulgalour; 9th November 2021, 18:59.


                • #9
                  In the latest Maestro episode, Safety Dad Period Tat, it was all about adding some aftermarket guff for nostalgia and reinforcement of the car's survivor status. I want it to look like it might have done in the 90s when it would have been worth about the same as a Freddo. Most of these items are purely cosmetic and don't actually do anything.

                  The one exception is the door buffers which are handy when you're in a tight parking space since the car is too low a trim to have any bump strips as standard. These are pretty close in design to what you could have got in the 90s, and importantly I made sure they were red to match the car.
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                  A genuine NOS static strip was found on eBay. Again, new ones of these are available for some reason, the reason I didn't go for one of those is that the designs are wrong for the era I'm trying to create so a NOS item was the only way to go. The point doesn't touch the floor so it's unlikely to wear away and since these things don't do what they claim to do anyway, that doesn't matter.

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                  Another reproduction item is the Keep Your Distance sticker. This isn't the type I wanted, I'm actually after the ones that were blue and red on a white background, I just haven't been able to find one or a photo of one to get it reproduced. This style is older than I would like but not out of the realm of possibility for the age of the car.
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                  Wiper blade aerofoils are another brand new item. The Maestro doesn't need these, it's purely cosmetic, however I did find they worked well to keep the BX's wiper down when you were going over 50mph. I had thought someone had tried to prise them off not long after fitting them and ended up using some mini cableties to keep them in place. Turned out magpies were trying to pull them off, which they've stopped trying to do now. It's probably the same ones that climb the garage wall for fun and then play hide and seek over the edge of the roof.
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                  Swapped the silver grille out for the red one that came with the recent parts haul too. I wasn't sure which I preferred at first. Now I definitely prefer the red one.
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                  I do have a couple more items to add, and I'm on the hunt for other items too. If there's any 80s/90s 'safety' accessories you remember do let me know. There's been some good suggestions in the comments on the Youtube video so there's a few more things I'm hunting for in part based on those suggestions.

                  Dashboard compass and steering wheel wrap - secured from a shop in Bulgaria
                  Wiper boots - some of those offered by Mr Bump, thanking you.
                  Hella spotlight grille
                  Heckeblende/tailblazer reflective rear panel
                  Reflective bumper tape
                  Sunvisor strip, ideally graduated/fade tint
                  High level brake light, incandescent bulb type - I got one of these for the BX, had to come from Australia
                  Roofrack - a Rover branded one would be nice
                  Headlight protectors
                  Atlantic 252 window sticker
                  Tax disc holder and maybe a scrap of paper with Tax In Post written on it rather than a repro tax disc
                  Key lock scratch guard, ideally Austin Rover branded
                  Door window wind deflectors
                  Dashboard MPG calculator device, digital or analogue

                  I'm sure there's loads more things. As long as it's along the lines of 'safety' or 'driver aid' rather than 'sporty' or 'performance' then it'll fit the ethos of the build. Not trying to make something cool here, just a rolling nostalgia sculpture.


                  • #10
                    Recently, got a visit from Vampire_Echidna in their rather nice Maestro Clubman. His car is on a third of the mileage of mine, and eight years newer, so this is a little video looking at how much of a difference that sort of thing makes. I won't be doing a words and pictures update on this one since it doesn't really translate, so please enjoy this short video.


                    • #11
                      It's video day again here and it's the Maestro's turn. This time it's tyres and tyres are important. I was driving it on the tyres it came to me on for a few months and they were okay, not great on the motorway or in the wet, just okay generally.

                      If you see just a blank square with an arrow, click on the arrow and the video will play. Alternatively, there's a Youtbue playlist here:
                      Last edited by Vulgalour; 15th February 2022, 15:20.


                      • #12
                        Short one this week. Cleaning and fitting some Special seats.


                        • #13
                          Looking good angyl, certainly getting that time warp feeling.
                          can I make a request for your silver grill please if your not using it?


                          • #14
                            I've flip flopped on that silver grille since fitting the red one, I don't seem to have fully made my mind up on which one I actually prefer. When/if I do decide I'm keeping the red one you've got first dibs on the silver one since you've asked. I need the weather and work schedule to line up so I can finish the welding and get it MoT'd again, then I can actually look at the cosmetic stuff and make up my mind properly.

                            Got a new video in the meantime. New radiator and fan switch lottery time.


                            • #15
                              Time for another video. This time trying to get to the bottom of the fan switch issue, which I do... mostly.