The cars : Frazer-Tickford Metro

Frazer established itself as a new car company in 1981, offering this fabulous-looking Tickford Metro, which was first shown at that year’s London Motorfair.

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, Frazer, teamed up with Tickford Coachbuilding to build this most bespoke version of the Metro. It would end up going head-to-head with the equally exclusive Wood & Pickett Laser Metro.

The specification featured a full leather interior including the dashboard and door trims, deep pile Wilton carpeting throughout, Uher stereo system with a graphic equaliser, a full bodykit, four Marchal fog lights, enamel name badges, tinted glass, sunroof, teledial alloy wheels with Pirelli P7 tyres and electric windows and mirrors.

The engine was tuned with a Weber twin-choke carburettor, a hotter camshaft and bigger valves with a gas-flowed cylinder head and gave out 80bhp. Twenty six cars were built, three of which are believed to be left-hand drive.

The result was a success: the car was refined, yet fun to drive and it also managed to look a million dollars. In a way, it almost did: on the road price was listed at £11,600, which may not sound like mega-bucks now, but in 1982, that kind of money would have also bought you a Reliant Scimitar GTE or Ford Granada 2.8i.

Autocar magazine drove the car at its launch in 1981, and came away impressed, despite the Frazer-Tickford’s high list price. On the handling, the magazine stated, ‘After exiting the first roundabout, it dawned that I was nowhere near the limit of adhesion; the Tickford turned in beautifully and moved around the curve as if it were on rails – a worn cliché that really does apply.’

‘All this adhesion and yet the ride was comfortable, soaking up all but the most violent high-frequency bumps, when the tyres’ lack of compliance dictated small jolts. Add that ride to the immense driveability of the engine and it represented an entirely civilised performance package.’

All we know is that anyone who owns one today is very lucky indeed.

Pictures: Peter Melville, Richard David Nener and Robin Siggs

Keith Adams


  1. A modern day equivalent is the Aston Martin Cygnet. A bit like over developing a house situated in un-desirable area

  2. I wonder how many survive? I know that Tickford Capris command big money now , I wonder how much these are worth?

  3. Tickford also produced a luxury – for the time – shooting brake on the early Land Rover chassis. It was expensive, and thus sold only in small numbers.

  4. Talking of rarities – we were at Brooklands Tuesday for the fabulous Classic Car day. Amongst all the lovely stuff – though I’m not sure about the V8 Mini and Allegro – there were two MGB booted Coupes with very pretty bodywork – reminiscent at the rear of the DB6 / Renault Alpine cam tail.
    I thought I knew most of such things but I’ve obviously missed these – there were two of them – one with flared in headlights and one not. Just so pretty! Happy to learn what they were……..

  5. Looking at the exterior photos, I’m not sure if it was successful in the visual taste dept. It looks like someone raided the body-kit shelves in Halfords.

  6. The modified Metros could have certainly been more attractive looking, the Wood & Pickett Laser Metro / Metro Plus was heading in the right direction yet is still inferior to the facelifted Metros such as the MG Metro / Austin Metro GTa.

    Otherwise the standard engine of both the Frazer-Tickford Metro and Metro Cooper (later Metro Monaco) received a useful increase in power to 80+ hp over the 72 hp in the MG Metro / Austin Metro GTa, an early version of the Jack Knight 5-speed gearbox would have also been a bonus had it been possible (though wonder if it would have coped with the more powerful MG Metro Turbo let alone the ERA Mini Turbo).

    As far as exterior modifications go, have to wonder whether the original Metro could have had its number plate relocated between the rear-headlights as was the case on the later R6 Metro/100.

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