IT MAY look like an old banger to untrained eyes, but this week, at 30 years young, the Austin Montego became a modern classic.

The Montego, built at British Leyland in Cowley, now the BMW Mini plant, was launched on April 25, 1984.

Yesterday, to celebrate its anniversary, members of the Montego and Maestro Owners Club brought their motors back home to their birthplace. Among them was John Corbett, from Brighton, who brought his February 1984 model, believed to be the oldest surviving Montego in the world.

He said: “During the 1980s, the car industry went into a slump and some cars were of such dubious quality that, by now, they have mostly been scrapped.

“But people have realised that Montegos and Maestros weren’t bad cars. These were the cars we grew up with.”

The rally, which coinicided with the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs’ Drive It Day, was organised by Oxford classic car enthusiast Tanya Field, who owns 14 vintage and modern classics, including her 1994 Montego which she brought along.

Mrs Field, 42, from Headington, said: “They are ironically cool.”