News : ‘As-new’ Metro Vanden Plas 500 unearthed

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

One of the rarest of all Austin Metro variants is set to go under the hammer during Classic Car Auctions Limited’s sale at Chris Evans’ CarFest South event next month – and it’s almost as new.

The closest you'll get to a new Metro?
The closest you’ll get to a new Metro?

The 1983 Vanden Plas 500 has just 741 miles on the clock and will be offered with no reserve. Formerly part of the renowned Patrick Collection housed in Birmingham, it has seen very little road use, and is probably as close as you could find to a new example.

This car is the second of only 500 VP500s built and is believed to be one of only five left in the UK. The VP500 was introduced as a special run in 1983 to commemorate the 500,000th Metro to be built at Longbridge, and came with leather and alloy wheels as standard. All were finished in black, with a fine pinstripe.

Fluted leather, in pure Vanden Plas style.
Fluted leather, in pure Vanden Plas style

Finished in factory black with tan leather seats, the car is in original condition and has been stored for a number of years. ‘A500 VOJ’ remains essentially as it was when it left the Longbridge factory in 1983. The only parts replaced on the car in its lifetime have been the seals and water pump.

Guy Lees-Milne, Classic Car Auctions General Manager, said, ‘It is a delight to be offering such a special British icon in our sale at CarFest. This is a unique opportunity to own an incredibly rare car, at no reserve, and this example is one to potentially bubble-wrap for the future.’

1983-austin-metro-vp-500-rear_530x354

Certainly, it’d be difficult to determine what to do with the VP500 in this kind of condition, nor even determine its value. Last time it changed hands, with less than 700 miles on the clock, it went to a classic car dealer for £7000.

For more information on the car, visit Classic Car Auctions’ website.

But would it be hard to resist the temptation to stick a few more clicks on the clock?
How hard would it be to resist the temptation to stick a few more clicks on the clock?

 

Craig Cheetham

A serial impulsive car purchaser, Craig has had his name on over 200 V5s over the past 20 years. 10 per cent of those have been either 800s or Austin Allegros, with between 10 and 20 cars usually owned at any one time. Started out as a local newspaper journalist then worked for car mags including Auto Express, Classic Car Weekly and Land Rover Owner. Worked inside the car industry for a decade as an employee of General Motors, now works for a news distribution agency. Home based, which is dangerously convenient for further irrational heap purchases. Lover of all makes of car since childhood, with a particular leaning towards Austin-Rover... Father of three boys, so hoping to spread the car love. Other passions include rugby union, travelling and eating out.

14 Comments

  1. Lovely car…but I’m trying to work out why the exhaust tailpipe is mounted on the offside and not the nearside, as per on all other Metros.

  2. Lovely. Complete with alloys that look the same as a contemporary MG Metro apart from the centre trim. I’d want to drive this if I bought it but on the other hand it would be a shame to lose its pristine condition. I can hear that throaty engine and second gear whine as I mentally drive it down a twisty B road.

  3. According to my copy of the Austin Rover Cars sales brochure I have from 1983, there was a second colour offered on the VP500, although from memory I can’t recall whether it was gold (Shatung Gold?) or Silverleaf.

    Such a rare, low mileage example really needs preserving in a motoring museum or collection in order to preserve its amazing timewarp condition, and preferably one where members of the public can get to view it. This is in spite of those tan leather seats looking so inviting…

  4. Every bit a Metro “Limousine”. Love the interior colours & those door cappings. (Pity not many modern cars have “wood trim”) Indeed it would be beneficial to put some more miles on it, but the logic of putting it in a museum to preserve its condition has merits. Thanks to Craig again for flagging this up.

  5. I hired a Metro VP an I believe it had the MG Metro engine and that maybe an additional reason why it had the different exhaust. I remember being comfortable, well appointed and quite nippy too.

    • For the first year or two the VP was also available on the German market, and it had the same 70bhp engine as the MG Metro. This did possible also apply to other continental markets.

  6. Interesting, if nothing else than to be reminded of the Patrick Collection. I’d forgotten all about it. A lot smaller than it once was, it’s still there, with facilities that can be used by schools and car clubs.

    Any club looking for a meeting venue could book it, subject to a donation:

    http://www.patrickcollection.org/history/

  7. A lovely, lovely little car. The nostalgia !!

    I can see that it is really a museum piece, but the odd run out on a sunny day would be great fun!

    @ David 3500 – I seem to think the second colour was Gold.

  8. If you looked at the interior and weren’t told it was a Metro, most people would assume it was a Jaguar. This is one car that deserves a good home for its rarity value and interior fittings alone.

  9. My dad bought his VP500 in February 1984, trading in his 1981 1.3HLS (black with black velour trim).

    It cost £6,100, £1,800 more than the HLS had and was bordering on BMW 316 money.

    The area sales manager came to hand over the keys and part of the buying experience was that a photograph and article appeared in the local paper. Also thrown in was a bottle of champagne.

    It was a stand-out car at the time, with many people commenting favourably especially regarding the interior. To a teenager (me) allowed to borrow it there were those amazing seats, a fine 4-speaker stereo, alloys and a sunroof which were all nice-to-haves in 1984 and it was a treat to pose around in.

    It wasn’t quite as light on its feet as the HLS and had a few faults but overall it was a good car and was traded in at 3 years old for an Opel Monza 3-litre. Quite a change but my mum still says she wishes we’d kept the VP500.

  10. @ Graham, £ 6100 would have enabled you to buy an Ambassador then, so this was one seriously expensive Metro, but a bit like an eighties answer to a Vanden Plas 1300, also using the same engine, a small luxury car with low running costs.
    OTOH the rarely seen these days Opel Monza was one beast, a BMW 6 series competitor with GM running costs and 135 mph performance. It’s a shame so few survive.

  11. I was working at Holders of Congresbury nr Bristol in 1983, I remember the VP500 coming in but we didn’t see many, I imagine they were limited to a few per dealer.

Add to the debate: leave a comment