Launched amid a barrage of patriotic fervour, the Austin Metro was for two brief years, Britain’s most fashionable car – it proved a continued success for the company, too, racking up over two million sales (of Rovers, too) during its 17-year production run. Here’s its story.

The cars : Austin/MG Metro development history

The cars : Austin/MG Metro development history

Launched amid a barrage of patriotic fervour, the Metro was for two brief years, Britain’s most fashionable car – it proved a continued success for the company, too, racking up over two million sales during its 17-year production run. Sadly, its success alone was never going to be enough to stop BL falling further behind […]

Concepts and prototypes : Metro saloon


Although it seems inconceivable now, in the late 1970s, when the mini Metro was being developed, it was being groomed to replace the original Issigonis-designed Mini, a car that remained in production until 2000. For all those die-hard Mini owners how didn’t believe they needed a hatchback, BL developed a saloon version of the Metro. […]

Prototypes : LC8 Metro


Metro style emerges LC8 was not an entirely new supermini by any stretch of the imagination, using ADO88 as a starting point. The project was basically a restyle job – with Harold Musgrove cracking the whip over the Austin-Morris development team, ensuring that it was in production by the proposed launch date: the Birmingham Motor […]

Supermini projects : ADO88/LC8 drawings


Metro uncovered A fascinating find uncovered recently on the AR forums – engineering drawings of the ADO88 and LC8 projects… The differences between the original car and the pre-launch facelift are clear to see – and the fact that these drawings of the ADO88 were produced at all clearly shows just how close to production […]

Supermini projects : ADO74


The original Metro One project, many faces: a wide variety of styling exercises were produced before ADO74 was cancelled in 1973, as British Leyland could not raise the £130m needed to produce it. The project suffered from having indecisive leadership – it was led by Harry Webster, but because he had worked previously at Triumph, […]

Supermini projects : ADO88


The Metro route Shortly after the demise of ADO74, the “Mini replacement idea” was yet again brought down from the shelf for further investigation. Unlike ADO74, which was new from the wheels up, ADO88 would use the Mini’s A-series engine plus transmission-in-sump layout. The reason for this was cost – ADO74 would have cost an […]

Buying guide : Austin/MG Metro

Austin Metro (1)

Fancy a Metro? Here’s Dale Turley’s guide to what to look out for… Years produced: 1980-1990 Body style: 3 and 5 door ‘Supermini’ hatchback, 3 door hatchback ‘van’ Engine options: 998cc and 1275cc A+ Series, 1275cc A+ Series (turbocharged) Transmission options: Four-speed manual and four-speed automatic, front wheel drive Brief overview The Austin Metro is […]

History : MG Metro 6R4 Group B


The MG Metro 6R4 was Austin-Rover’s entry into Group B, the controversial rallying category that gave us a series of spectacular cars before being banned at the end of 1986. What made the MG rather special was its bespoke 3.0-litre V6, the only non-turbo’d car in its category, and its scintillating performance. Sadly, the Metro […]

News : Alex Moulton’s R6 development Metro sold

Austin Metro - Moulton Developments (2)

Keith Adams The car that was instrumental in the development of the Rover Metro/100 has been sold by Bonhams for £1035 at its final auction of the year. The 1981 Austin Metro 1.3S was owned from new by Moulton Developments and, like so many of the good Doctor’s cars, was highly modified from original specification. […]

Modified Metros : Crayford Metro Politan

Sarah Jane's Metro

It seems that few – if any – of these Crayford convertibles actually reached customers before the company decided to concentrate on its Fiesta conversions. And it had a Dr Who connection back in 1982… Open up and say ahh… In January 1981, Motor magazine reported that Crayford was planning to build a prototype convertible […]

Auction Watch : Frazer-Tickford Metro


Keith Adams Appearing on eBay like a bolt from the blue, this little red bundle of joy looks like one of the most desirable Metro-shaped packages you’re going to find for sale this year. The Frazer-Tickford Metro is one of that whole raft of modified Metros that went on sale in the months following the […]

Tested : MG Metro Turbo vs 205GTI vs XR2

XR2 205GTI MG Metro

Warm hatch wonders With fewer than 50 MG Metro Turbos left on the road in the UK, it’s time to celebrate one of the most fun sporting hatchbacks the 1980s – by comparing it with the big selling Ford Fiesta XR2 and cultish Peugeot 205GTI. And as Keith Adams reckons, what was best then, might […]

Blog : Joy is Metro shaped

Joy is Metro shaped

Keith Adams Or, pleasures that are best served simple… While my Rover SD1 was in for its MoT at AJF Engineering, owner Adrian Fell gave me the keys to his recently discovered 1985 Austin Metro City X. As archetypal one-owner cars go, this is as good as it gets. With 40,000 miles on the clock […]

Video : MG Metro 6R4

200 6R4s were built - this looks like most of them

Keith Adams It’s funny how more than 25-years on from its short but sweet career in front-line rallying, the MG Metro 6R4 is still venerated by anyone who’s been near one. With explosive acceleration, a V6 soundtrack and truly unmistakable Group B looks, how could anyone be unmoved? Sadly, Group B was cut short for […]

Metro Ranger

During the Metro’s honeymoon period of the early 1980s, Austin-Rover’s designers toyed with the idea of a number of exciting variations on a theme. Here’s one that perhaps you weren’t expecting to see… Pick-and-mix Metro (Picture: Roy Axe) YOU can’t blame Austin-Rover for trying – the Metro was a hot little number during the early […]

TXC Tracer

This Metro-based, mid-engined roadster brought the concept behind the MGF to fruition some ten years earlier… IF you think the Tracer has a familiar look to it, there could be several reasons for that. First of all, William Towns clearly drew inspriation from his rather more exotic 1980 creation for Aston Martin, the Bulldog, with […]