Engines    Suspension & Brakes    Technical Data   Model Years

LM11, as it was code named was launched on 25th April 1984, just one year after the Maestro. The Austin Montego used a stretched Maestro platform and alot of common parts such as interior, running gear and some body panels.

When launched it was much more complex than its rivals, it had more interior space, better performance and neater handling than its main competetors such as the Sierra (lauched in 1982 to replace the Cortina), and the Cavalier (also launched in 1982 with a new FWD layout). The bumpers were full colour coded plastic items, which gave even the basic models an up-market look. The wind screen wipers parked out of the air flow onder the bonnet line to reduce wind noise and fuel consumption, and, the computer controlled engine management (which initially gave the Montego its bad name in terms of reliability) gave a smooth and efficient engine.

1985 saw the launch of an Estate version, it had a bigger load capacity than the Sierra and Cavalier estates, and even out performed bigger, more expensive models from other leading manuafactures. Even by todays standards the Montego range has more interior and luggage room than the majority of the medium family cars on the road.

Along side the estate version came an MG badged saloon, available with the 2.0 EFI engine used in the Vanden Plas EFI, or with a new 2.0 Turbo using a Garret Turbo charger and a single variable chock SU carburetter, This setup gave 150bhp and 169lb/ft torque with a very respectable 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds.

The range went unchanged until late 1988, The Austin from "Austin Rover" was droped and all Austim models were badged Rover. The launch of the Rover Montego at the October 1988 motor show was meet with a new 81bhp Turbo diesel engine and some subtal styling changes. The most obvious was the new front grill, flat rear light clusters and revised fasia incorperating a "Roverised" instrument panel and turn knob heater controls to replace the old slidder controls.

In June 1989 all models were made to run on unleaded fuel. This was not a problem for the 2.0 models as the engine had been designed with hardened valve seats as it was to be the new MGB engine destined for the US, a simple ECU change adjusted the timing to cope with the fuels different combustion. The 1.6 models had a new head with hardened valve seats, this made sure the head could stand upto the higher heat and reduced lubrication that unleaded offered. The 1.3 models were discontinued from early 1989 so weren't effected.

Production of the MG versions finished in late 1990, with enough in stock to see a limited number register as 1991 J registration models, there is also believed to be one or two K and L registration models on the road.

By 1992 the car magazines were reporting that the Montego range would be discontinued within 6 months, as time went by there was a reduction in the range with the top "GSi" model and the sporty "GTi" models being discontined, the Saloon model then became available to fleets only. In January 1993 it became compulsary that all new cars had a standard catalyst, this reduced the 2.0i's power from 117bhp to 104bhp (the same as the carb feed 2.0), the 1.6 and 2.0 carb were then discontinued.

The last Estate models were sold in late 1994 and early 1995 with a choise of 2.0 injection or 2.0 Turbo Diesel engines, in Clubman, LXi and Countryman specifications.

After production finished in 1994 the tooling was due to be shipped to India for production and sales out there, the deal feel through with a total of only 900 saloons and 50 Estates making it to Indian customers.

Through out its life it recieved many critisms about reliability, rust and build quality, but averall it was given good marks in road tests and lasted it's 12 years in production very well. If only it had recieved to build quality of the last models at it's launch it would have held it's price and reputation alot better.

 

Engines

1275cc A+

At launch the Montego was available with the highly acclamed A+ engine, it used a conventional end-on gearbox supplied by VW from the Golf in 4 & 5 speed versions, as apposed to the under slung gearbox of the Mini and Metro. The 69bhp unit gave a decent amount of performance and economy, and a huge amount of space for the family or fleet buyer on a limited budget.

1598cc S series

The 'S' series was new in the Montego, it was based on the 'R' series engine used in the Maestro but included a timing belt instead of a chain. Other differences included a toughened block, better refinement and, the biggest difference, it was mounted the opposite way round with the carburetter at the rear on the engine bay. It produced 86bhp which came close to the 90bhp given by the 1.8 Sierra and Cavalier.

1994cc O series

The 'O' series was originally designed for the MGB, it was to out right the critism in the US that emision laws had pulled the power of the old 1.8 'B' series engine so low that it wasn't worth driving. The MGB stopped production soon after and none were ever sold with it.

The Montego range had the choice of 3 differebt versions, the 104bhp carburetter, a 117bhp fuel injection or the carburetter feed Turbo with 150bhp. In the early days the Turbo was known to be a handful in the wet with lots of torque steer and too much wheel spin, this was corrected on later models by changing the rpm at which the turbo came "on boost" from around 2700rpm to 3200rpm. The 10psi boost produced by the turbo was also quite high for a standard system.

The non-Turbo version had very different habits, they had alot of low end torque making them easy to drive around town, or for relaxed 5 gear motorway trips. With a respectable 0-60 time of 8.9 seconds for the EFI models (8.5 on MG EFI) they were quicker than nearly all their rivals.

The 'O' series engine later became the bases for all 2.0 Rover engines from the first 16 valve 'M16' engine in the Rover 800 to the T16 petrol and 'L' series diesel engines used today across the product range.

1994cc 'Perkins' Turbo diesel

The Perkins Diesel (code named Prima) was first seen in the Maestro van in 1986, it ran without a Turbo charger in the van and was very noisy and harsh. It was based on the 'O' series block with a direct injection head, the Montego was one of the first mass production cars to be offered with a direct injection diesel instead of the quieter and more refined indierect injection units. Although it suffered form more vibration than its main rivals, the Montego was quicker, and alot more fuel efficient. Even by todays standards where diesel cars have come along way in the last 10 years since the Montego TD was launched, it can still out permorm a modern direct injection diesel on the economy run!

Suspension & Brakes

Technical Data

Engine 1.3 1.6 2.0 2.0i 2.0 Turbo 2.0 D Turbo
Engine displacement 1275cc 1598cc 1994cc 1994cc 1994cc 1994cc
Max Power (bhp@rpm) 69 @ 86 @ 104 @ 117 @ 150 @ 81 @
Max Torque (lb/ft@rpm)            
Bore & Stroke            
Max Speed 96 103 109 113 (115)* 126 102
0-60 mph 13.5 10.6 9.8 8.9 (8.5)* 7.2 12.5
             
             
             
figures in brackets ( )* are for GTi and MG EFI.

 

Model Years

At launch the Montego was available only as a saloon. There was a choice of 3 engines, a 1.3, 1.6 and a 2.0, all with carburettors. through the years more models were added including a fuel injected 2.0 and a Turbo charged 2.0, plus a turbo Diesel.

1984-1985

Trim 1.3** 1.6 2.0 2.0i
Base * *    
L   *    
HL   * *  
HLS     *  
Vanden Plas     *  
MG EFI**       *

** Not Estate

 

1985-1986

Trim 1.3** 1.6 2.0 2.0i 2.0 Turbo
Base * *      
L   *      
HL   * *    
HLS     *    
Vanden Plas     * *  
MG EFI**       *  
MG Turbo**         *

** Not Estate

 

 

1986-1987

Trim 1.3** 1.6 2.0 2.0i 2.0 Turbo
Base * *      
L   *      
HL   * *    
Mayfair   * (**) *    
Si**       *  
Vanden Plas       *  
MG EFI**       *  
MG Turbo**         *

** Not Estate

 

 

1987-1988

Trim 1.3** 1.6 2.0 2.0i 2.0 Turbo
Base * *      
L   * *    
HL   * *    
Mayfair       *  
Si**       *  
Vanden Plas       *  
MG EFI**       * (E)  
MG Turbo**         *

** Not Estate    (E) 3 MG EFI Estates were made to guage public reaction.

 

 

1988-1989

Trim 1.6 2.0 2.0i 2.0 Turbo 2.0 TD
Base *        
L * *     *
SL * *     *
GTi     *    
GSi     *    
MG 2.0i**     *    
MG Turbo**       *  

** Not Estate

 

 

1989-1990

Trim 1.6 2.0 2.0i 2.0 Turbo 2.0 TD
Base *        
LX * *     *
SLX * *     *
GTi     *    
GSi     *    
MG 2.0i**     *    
MG Turbo**       *  
Countryman + *   *   *

** Not Estate   +Estate only

 

 

1990-1991

Trim 1.6 2.0 2.0i 2.0 Turbo 2.0 TD
Clubman *        
LX * *     *
SLX * *     *
GTi     *    
GSi     *    
MG 2.0i**     *    
MG Turbo**       *  
Countryman +     *   *

** Not Estate   +Estate only

 

 

1991-1992

Trim 1.6 2.0 2.0i 2.0 TD
Clubman *     *
LX * *   *
SLX * *   *
GTi     *  
GSi     *  
Countryman +     * *

+Estate only

 

 

1992-1993

Trim 1.6 2.0i 2.0 TD
Clubman *   *
LX/LXi * * *
SLX/SLXi * * *
Countryman +   * *

N.B. all saloons available to fleets buyers only,    +Estate only 

 

 

1993-1994

Trim 2.0i 2.0 TD
Clubman * *
LXi * *
Countryman * *

N.B. Only Estate models available.   

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