By Maz Woolley
All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.
The Austin Maxi was one of the last cars developed before BMC became British Leyland and was one of the last to have input from Alex Issigonis. It replaced the long in the tooth Austin Cambridge and was followed by the Maestro. A five door hatchback with lots of space it was functional like the Mini and 1100/1300 and this restricted showroom appeal compared to the jazzed up interiors from Ford, Vauxhall and Chrysler. The 1750HL was a second generation car and had a larger engine and an improved five speed gearbox. Unfortunately the build quality was not good with rust and failure of electrical components frequent. My wife’s first car was a 1750HL Maxi and yes it rusted, things like windscreen wiper boxes broke, internal switchgear failed, and the thinner wiring under the bonnet broke so often that I carried a crimping kit in the car to fix it. But it was otherwise a comfortable, quiet and relaxing car to cruise in with lots of space for luggage and friends. It should remembered that cars from its competitors were often no more reliable or free from rust.
The Maxi has not been modelled very often. The only contemporary model that I am aware of was an Airfix kit to 1:32 scale. Since then a white metal model has been made but it was not a very good representation. Then more recently Silas made it in Resin. The 1500 was initially sold a couple of years ago and now a new batch of the 1500 and some 1750HLs are available. Though as only one hundred are made in each colour they will no doubt sell out quickly. The 1750 is available in Harvest Gold, Teal Blue (as photographed), and Tartan Red.
The Silas model has a good profile but this is let down a little by the very flat tops and bottoms of the PE chrome round the windows which need to be slightly more curved to fit the apertures properly particularly at the top,
This front three-quarter view shows the model at its best.
The rear is not quite so good with a slight twist to the resin body, the number plate printed slightly at an angle, and the PE window surround kinked at the bottom. The lights and bumper are nicely modelled.
A good front end with Grille and badging well modelled and the detail on the 1750 badge is extremely fine.
Another picture that shows the slightly distorted rear window surround. The interior is all in black with steering wheel part picked out in silver. I would have preferred the dash to be in the simulated wood finish that our car had.
The tiny wipers seem a little to delicate to me. I seem to rememeber them as quite substantial assemblies. But maybe that is just because they stuck across the screen so often!
The wheels are slightly shiny and would have benefited from some black detailing but are otherwise quite good.
Finally a quick look at the very simple base.
Silas have made a good attempt at this rarely modelled car, though it is not as good as their Rapier or Herald but better than their Hunter. I am glad to have this model as I will be very surprised if we see it modelled in diecast metal by Corgi, Oxford, or even Ixo/PCT.
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