1981 Austin Maxi 2 1750 L

COLOURChampagne Beige
INTERIORPaprika Fabric

1981 Austin Maxi 2 1750 L

  • 1750cc engine
  • Unused for several years
  • Recently recommissioned
  • Good original condition
  • One of the last Maxis produced
  • Champagne Beige with Paprika interior
  • Please scroll down the page past the video to see the bidding and to read a full description for this lot

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  • 1750cc engine
  • Unused for several years
  • Recently recommissioned
  • Good original condition
  • One of the last Maxis produced
  • Champagne Beige with Paprika interior


The marvellous Maxi introduced a series of pioneering firsts that have lasted to this day. The classic Austin Maxi also signalled the end of one era of classic British motor car production and the start of another. For these alone it should be very highly regarded. Maybe even put on a pedestal.

The Austin Maxi began development in the mid 60’s at a time when the British Motor Company (BMC) found itself at a crossroads (not the TV series). BMC’s small cars, such as the Mini, were world beaters. The bigger cars, were so long-in-the-tooth they should have been called BMC Walrus cars.

In its hour of need, the Company called on the only man who could save them – Mr Alec Issigonis. Headed by the genius Issigonis, the design team devised a beautiful car with a number of firsts. An all-new 1,500cc OHC engine with an integrated five-speed gearbox as standard, fluid suspension and a trailblazing rear hatchback.

This particular Maxi 1750 L has been thoughtfully and carefully recommissioned after a long period out of use, by our vendor who is a keen Maxi enthusiast. The result is a sensibly sorted classic Maxi that is ready to go.

Outside and underneath

When it was finally launched, everyone loved the design, but the bean counters wanted to meddle. The result was a delay in production and an actual increase in costs.

The Head of the new BL, Lord Stokes, got involved. This corporate blanket thrown over the Austin Maxi meant the launch was pushed back yet again. Then, in a panic move, the Austin Maxi was clumsily launched in 1969. Instead of being the launch of an original new car, the brilliant new Austin Maxi was plagued with irritating minor niggles.  Luckily, behind the scenes, the designers, minus the bean counters, were working hard on a revamp.

This Maxi 1750 L was registered new on 7 September 1981. The last Maxi was produced at the Cowley plant in July 1981. This Maxi must have been one of the very last.

The dreaded tin worm is often not far away on any 40-year-old British classic. However, the images of the underneath, sills and general body condition show an honest view of what this Maxi is like.

Yes, the inevitable water traps such as the lower front valance and the rear panel have not escaped completely. But as you can see the, the vendor has dealt with those areas in a full, but thoughtful way. Instead of ripping off huge swathes of the body work and delivering more trauma than treatment, the team have cut out and welded in small sections to eradicate the tin worm.

The Champagne Beige bodywork looks in good fettle, aside from the usual age-related marks, knocks and scrapes that you can see our vendor has provided images of.

The black bumpers that were introduced on the last 1981 models look smart and almost modern. The good images provided on the underside of the Maxi show a level of preservation which is surprising and very pleasing. The good close-up of the sill and jacking points reveal these are in a similar condition.

At the front we can see the images of minor recommissioning work to the front panel, before, during and after, which is a nice touch. This photographic record helpfully extends to other areas that have received attention too.

Where areas have been opened up to carry cosmetic repairs, such as box sections as well as floor sections, they expose a decent car.

The rear screen was also removed to replace the window rubber.

All in all, this adds up to an understanding enthusiast-type of recommissioning concentrating on keeping as much originality, with as little disturbance as possible. It’s great to see that.


At the time, the drive train and the mounting of it in the Maxi platform was a massive innovative leap forward.

All of BMC’s main rivals such as Ford, were persevering with 1950’s style over-head valve (OHV) pushrod engines, fitted forward-facing, and driving the two rear wheels via a four-speed gearbox with a long and cumbersome prop shaft.

The Maxi had a modern, class-leading over-head cam engine, mated to an integrated five speed gearbox driving the front wheels. It made for more space, a more sure-footed ride and much better ergonomics. It was soon to be the way all cars would be built

The uprated and beefier 1750cc engine in the Maxi 2 is an impressive performer. It was good for just a smidgen over 100mph and produced a lively 95bhp.

We’re told a new top hose, a new battery and a set of spark plugs have been fitted, along with an engine weather cover and a timing advance & retard pipe.


The interior is the other innovation in the Maxi. As you’ll see from a period picture* of the time, the rear seats fold flat either forward or back, effectively make a double bed!

You’ll see many wags on forums and social media recalling many happy memories of those folding seats…we’re not getting involved, other than to say, it was wonderfully, ahem, accommodating!

The Maxi interior was and remains an amazing space. Back then, the convention was a three-box shape; engine space at the front, four door interior space in the middle and then a rear boot space.

The transverse compact power unit changed all that, along with the (then) revolutionary all new tailgate. Dispensing with a bulky gearbox and prop shaft meant no mechanical intrusion into the front area. No prop shaft meant no transmission tunnel and of course the tailgate meant massive practicality. All round, it worked, brilliantly.

The Paprika interior is, as you’d expect for a 40 year old classic, a little careworn. The Maxi seat coverings are known for getting a bit saggy and flappy (don’t we all after a while)!

We can see this one is no different. The images do show it appears to be in decent overall condition, apart from ‘dirt’ or ‘spots’ on the rear seat cover along with a small two-inch split.

The other supplied images of the dash, clocks, switchgear and instruments all appear to show them to be good aside, from the need of a deep, fastidious clean.

We’re advised repairs have been carried out to the wiring, including fitting new relays.

Additional information.

As part of the considered recommissioning, we are also advised, in the vendor’s own words;

(The Maxi was) “Recently recommissioned by Maxi enthusiasts due to resting off road for a few years.

Work carried out includes new/reconditioned front brake calipers and pads, cv boot, repairs to indicators and wiring including new relays, brand new top radiator hose, engine weather cover sourced and fitted, new old stock grill badge, washer bottle and motor, brake light switch, advance/retard pipe, new wiper blades.

4 tyres, rear shelf and boot liners, a few small patches of welding, rear window removed and rubber replaced, new spark plugs and battery. 

Originally supplied by Grendon Garage and still retains it’s original number plates. Mileage believed correct and a list of all the vehicles owners will also be given with the car. 

Starts and drives very well, although brakes still bedding in as not used since completion, goes through all 5 gears as it should and runs up to temperature with no issues. Mot exempt and tax exempt from April 1st.“

Our view

Nowadays they are a very over-looked classic. For the life of us we cannot understand why. They are practical, comfortable, and with 1750cc engine, a very lively performer. An all-round delightful, loveable British classic car.

Is there a down side to the Austin Maxi? Not really in our view. The Austin Maxi is a rugged, simple car. We don’t see many with serious structural issues like some classics. To be honest, we don’t see many at all!

The well-respected Maxi Owners Club advise that as of Sept 2021, 12 were taxed and 34 were SORN.

Despite British Leyland’s best efforts to screw things up, the Austin Maxi was a major success. Driving one is a great experience. Endearingly, you’ll find yourself drawn-in to this extremely competent classic car by its charm and warmth. It’s not brash and braggy. It just is.

And it does what it does to the max. Apparently, BMC were going to badge the car, the Austin 1500. We’re pleased they badged it the Austin Maxi. It fits. Perfectly.

What’s it like to own an Austin Maxi? Read more HERE

*Image courtesy of AR OnLine

Vehicle Location: Staffordshire ST9 – it’s the responsibility of the winning bidder to make collection / transportation arrangements directly with the vendor

Have a question about this vehicle? Please contact the Evoke team at auction@evoke-classics.com and we will speak to the vendor on your behalf.

Tedious but it’s vital you read this, please.

We will always strive to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available. However, we can’t claim to be perfect. Your own analysis is very important and we are here to help and also answer any and all queries you may have prior to purchase.

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So, please, unless we state explicitly to the contrary, please assume that classic vehicles on our platform could have had remedial bodywork of any kind at some point in its life.

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Bidder Bid amount Bid time
m**************k £2,600.00 2022-03-21 16:26:11
j**********s £2,400.00 2022-03-21 16:04:54
d*****9 £2,200.00 2022-03-14 12:12:51
m**************k £2,000.00 2022-03-13 12:53:57
m**********************k £1,400.00 2022-03-13 12:43:15
m**************k £1,200.00 2022-03-11 21:10:31
g***********n £1,000.00 2022-03-11 20:49:38
Start auction £1,000.00 11/03/2022 12:00 AM

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