Austin/MG Metro (LC8)
Billed as the ‘British car to beat the world’ when it was launched amid a barrage of flag-waving patriotism in October 1980, the Metro initially sold like hot cakes, and seemed like the light at the end of a very long tunnel for BL’s embattled dealers.
In fact, it was more like a grown-up Mini than a brave new start, but the older car’s charm added to the Metro’s homespun appeal. Survival rate is low due to rust, apathy and its suitability as an engine donor for Minis, and values are still laughably low for all but the most mint examples.
Not the best small car of its era, but certainly one of the most intriguing.
Reviews, blogs and news stories
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 more than 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 […]
This William Towns-styled Metro-based, mid-engined roadster brought the concept behind the MGF to fruition some 10 years earlier… Looks pretty racy, too. Tracer fire… 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 […]
With the number of BMC>MGR cars on our roads diminishing rapidly, we take stock of the successive companies’ 10 most popular cars during the post-war years. Some of these numbers are going to shock you, simply because the cars are so rare on the road now. In fact, even the latest car on this list is now proving to be a rather unusual spot.
ADO74 – the first attempt by British Leyland at replacing the Mini never saw the light of day. It was one project, but had many faces: a wide variety of styling exercises were produced before the programme was cancelled in 1973, as British Leyland could not raise the £130m needed to produce it.
The main problem with Hydragas is that, over time, the sealed units would lose gas and become less effective. Alexander Boucke describes the steps involved in getting your Hydragas suspended car back into rude health Update: More than 11 years after the initial work, the first units that were fitted to a Maxi in autumn […]
Keith Adams This wonderful vignette of a fertile, tumultuous and ultimately forlorn piece of British Leyland history has come to me directly from the archive of Dr Alex Moulton. In 1975, development of the ADO88 was well underway, with Spen King and Charles Griffin leading the programme. But for Dr Alex Moulton, King was on […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
The A-series engine did service in a variety of cars for almost 50 years, during which time it was available in a bewildering variety of capacities and states of tune. A hard act to follow The A-Series engine was certainly a case of the ‘British Curate’s egg’ – good in places. In fact, that is […]
Another name from the Mini’s heyday – Wood and Pickett returned in 1981, offering some lavish Metro conversions, including the Ogle-styled Laser Metro… Wood & Pickett Laser Metro The Laser Metro was certainly treated as a bespoke car for discerning customers: price ranged from £11,000 to £17,000 and extras included Recaro seats, air conditioning and leather […]
Frazer established itself as a new car company in 1981, offering this fabulous-looking Tickford Metro. The Tickford name was owned by Aston Martin, whose engineers and stylists designed this car. The scope of the conversion echoed that of the later Tickford Capri… Frazer Tickford Metro The Northamptonshire based company teamed up with Tickford Coachbuilding to […]
Turbo Technics cashed in on the popularity of the aftermarket turbo conversion throughout the 1980s; as the years passed, it conversions became increasingly wild. Thankfully, this Metro was reasonably mild… Turbo Technics Metro TT Like Janspeed, the Lincolnshire based tuning firm produced the Metro TT as a tuning kit for anyone who had already bought […]
Unbelievably, this Metro was not offered as a ‘factory backed’ conversion, even though it came with a blue chip pedigree. John Cooper Garages offered this car (later renamed the Metro Monaco for legal reasons) as a conversion on customers’ own cars… Metro-Cooper That most illustrious of names associated with the Mini during the 1960s made […]
Janspeed had been around for years, offering a range of tuning parts for cars as diverse as the Ford Fiesta and the Rover 3500. The Janspeed Metro was offered as an off-the-shelf conversion, which paved the way for the 1983 MG Metro Turbo. Janspeed Metro Turbo Jan O’Dor’s tuning firm produced this car as an […]