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I love the Austin Maxi - I drove a few too - an Olive Green one, and a Tango Red one and ... wait for it ... A Vivid Yellow One with a Blue Vinyl Roof!
It was like driving a boat for the main part, though the top-end 1750 could actually go a bit if you worked hard on the revs management.
But - The reason I loved it so much is - it made me a star!
This link shows the oldest surviving vehicle in the UK: http://youtu.be/ALYZ2IQCaSI
So - what's the backstory?
When the Maxi2 was released, the garage in Lancashire where I was parts manager took 6 white ones straight off the first batch off the production line.
These cars were the first "paramedic" style vehicles and were deployed by Burnley NHS in that role - they were ideally designed for that - a longer wheel-based hatchback.
The Maxi2 had a rod-change gearbox to replace the sloppy cable-change version that had been in the Maxi Mark1. There my adventure began ... The rod-change gearbox was initially a DISASTER! And we had the first six off the production line - eek!
They all broke down with gearbox problems within two weeks - all of them more than once!. My "workshop service counter", was inundated with requests for synchros, rods, spigots, bearings and all such other gubbins. And our ordering and recording systems were CRAP!
By the time the crisis was over - after each car had been through the warranty workshop two or three times, I had a HUGE pile of parts - much, much bigger than the Cowley factory production line store had.
I received a call from Frank (surname withheld) at the Cowley factory and he said "these cars are now starting to ship en-masse and they're all breaking down - send your excess parts back please".
I contacted EVERY Leyland outlet in Western Europe, telexed them a stock list of such parts and told them they were available - though with no trade discount. The effect on my personal fame (relatively speaking of course) was huge. They didn't care about the price - they just wanted the parts to get the cars running again.
The effect on the inter-trade business that our garage conducted was equally large - we became the de-facto place to go to for Maxi and Allegro engine and transmission parts from all parts of the globe.
As a direct result - I was headhunted by a much more famous garage in Yorkshire as their No. 2 manager in a huge parts department. I went on to procure and install a very powerful computer system - one that would ensure I never got myself into such a gigantic over-stock situation ever again. That's how my career in computers started.
The Marvellous Maxi!
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