Video : MG Metro 6R4

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams

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

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 the start of the 1987 season, and the astonishingly promising 6R4 was never allowed to reach its full potential in world championship rallying. But it made a mark, nevertheless – and this excellent period feature charts its story. Enjoy.

Read more about the MG Metro 6R4’s development here.

 

Part one

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoUYjgGQEdM[/tube]

Part two

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zkb2z29gYrM[/tube]

Part three

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74pWW0pWEyc[/tube]

Part four

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_sNDYgxj48[/tube]

Part five

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzhnA_ftjnM[/tube]

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

42 Comments

  1. Have to watch out for the 1.3L converted with a 6R4 body-kit though (seen many times on ‘Chav’ websites)! The dead give away is the large boot in the back!!

  2. Heh, can you imagine the insurance on that for a 17 year old…?

    Are there any numbers on how many of these ended up on the road?

  3. Ahh those where the days-when drivers had moustaches and the cars were sponsored by cigarettes!
    Landed on it’s nose over 100 MPH? Bloody hell, that’s one strong car. It was great to see Tony Pond in action, for me, the real star of the story and one of the most underrated drivers around.
    Is he still with us?

  4. Jemma,

    I don’t know about that but, just for fun, I priced up my 17 year old Nephew to drive my bog standard Mk2 Focus RS.

    Thinking back, I forget to add that he lives in Kent (rather than Cornwall) and the best (in fact, the only) quote from comparethemeerkat.com?

    £49,317.88!!

    Now, I wonder where that would place the MG Metro 6R4….

  5. Sadly Tony Pond died 10 years ago.
    However his driving of the MG Metro 6R4 and other motors shows that he is up there with the best of them.

    I think somewhere in youtube there is a video of him racing a Rover 827 vitesse around the Isle of man in 1990’s.

  6. @ will101. That’s very sad 🙁 I’m going to look on youtube for that video. I’ve heard about his record breaking drive (that was only broken last year) but I didn’t know it was on film.

  7. I remember seeing a totally plain white 6R4 when they were new, parked outside a competition car dealer. A staggering looking car, I so wish I could have got one.

  8. out for a sunday drive with my wife and kids years ago in the lanes near knockholt in kent.wifey and kids all a sleep. the bullet came towards us and asound like a f1 car. wifey woke up what the f.. k was that me smileing a metro 6r4 lol it was wow

  9. The 6R4 was a great project for Austin Rover, but unfortunately it turned up too late to achieve its all on the world scene. IMO the decision to go for a normally aspirated engine was a missed opportunity, for while the international units did produce the thick end of 350-400 BHP the turbo units of Audi, Peugeot and Lancia could produce 500bhp or more by simply raising the boost pressure, Austin Rover didn’t have this flexibility with its 3.0 engine.

    That said the car otherwise was a very good bit of kit, and there is nothing to compare to the bellowing howl of a V64V going flat out under load over a welsh hillside!

  10. There are positives to the NASP unit such as a higher compression ratio which improved engine braking compared to the low compression blown engines. Also, your able to use most of the airflow over the body for aerodynamic stability rather than have to grab a lot of it for engine cooling and you’ve not got the extra weight of a turbo and the associated oil cooling etc. Thing is, a V64V was a fine engine, but when you’ve got the competition’s turbo fours and fives pushing 600bhp or more in the same class then your always going to be on the back foot. Delta S4s were running turbos and a supercharger (and there are rumours that they also had covert nitrous installations) and getting mega power outputs. Imagine how much better the 6R4 would have been with full group B power.

  11. Once the turbos had to run 34mm restrictors, then the 6R4 enjoyed many competitive years at national level in the hands of people like John Price. The MSA allowed a choice of a 2.8 litre engine with a single throttle or 2.5 multi-throttle.

    I have a VHS copy of the Tony Pond TT lap. The car was standard apart from safety equipment, slick tyres, a less restrictive exhaust, some removal of excess weight and no rev limiter.

  12. I was lucky enough to be taken for a blast around the croft race track in a metro 6r4 on a press day, 0 to 60 in a little over 3sec i can tell you thats a fantastic feeling and what a sound toboot, a day i’ll never forget if only my lotto numbers would come up

  13. i can remember austin sending a fair few 6r4s through measham car auctions in the 80s,all of them brand new ,plain white with beige body kits the same as the main picture,if only we had phones with cameras in those days.

  14. I remember watching these on rallycross, shown on Grandstand or World of Sport – can’t remember which one. They were always battling with Ford’s RS200’s. I watched Rallycross on Motors TV the otehr day and its just not the same.

  15. @Stewart

    It did indeed, and Will Gollop ran a twin-turbo unit in his rallycross 6r4. The problem was that you couldn’t run turbos on the 3 litre unit for group B as fitting turbos meant your engine’s capacity was subject to a 1.4 multiplier. This was fine for a 2.0 engine as it came out at about 3.0 or so.

    There were suggestions in the press that ARG motorsport could sleeve down the V64V to two litres and add turbos by using the “evo” rules (you could modify 10% or so a homologated car’s if you sold on an equal number of kits to the public) but unfortunately Group B didn’t last long enough for us all to find out.

  16. @ Dennis. That’s right, with the exception of turbocharging it I don’t think they made many changes to it.
    To mis-quote Michael Caine, not a lot of people know that 🙂

  17. I had the pleasure of seeing one of these on the road in the Lake district recently – C64WDU, IIRC, and had a brief chat with the owner-driver who had just done a stage in the Grizedale forest. Fantastic to see one in the flesh and still being used in anger.

  18. So there are two ways of looking at it i suppose, the Jaguar XJ220, the fastest road car of its time was powered by a Metro engine. Or the 6R4 was powered by a Jaguar XJ220 engine. No wonder those that spent nearly 1/2 Million quid on a new XJ220 don’t mention it much haha.

    So where is this photo above taken?

  19. “i think its the 6r4 engine in the jag with different heads”

    Although tweeking the heads would be required for turbocharging it?

  20. I worked for a SUB Contract machine company in Birmingham.WE did work for Rover modifying V8 blocks for Salon Car Racing,one of these was cut down and welded to make a V6.Following this new castings were made to same design as V8 block (push rod valves).Engine redesigned for 6R4,I had the job of fully machining the engine blocks, we also machined the heads.Approx 20 engines were made for the Rally Team,they were more powerfull then the Production engines.Its nice to see the cars racing knowing I had a part in making them.

  21. I always thought they were cut down Rover V8 blocks, but everything i read said they were some Cosworth engine,

    I was beginning to think it was some urban myth!

  22. Before another urban myth gathers force, can we point out that the cut-down Rover V8 push-rod units were only ever used as a temporary means of developing the 6R4 before the definitive David Wood V64V engine became available. The V64V happened to use similar dimensions to the Rover unit, because it had proved a good architecture to follow!

  23. IN RALLYCROSS THE 6R4 COULD BEAT CARS WITH TWICE THE HORSE POWER.WILL GOLLOPS TWINTURBO VERSION WAS A MATCH FOR MARTIN SCHANCHERS HIGHLEY DEVELOPED RS200.ROB GIBSONS CAR WAS LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM THE 1986 RALLY CAR BUT COULD OUT RUN PURPOSS BUILT RALLYCROSS CARS.I WILL NEVER FORGET THE SIGHT AND SOUND OF AND EX TONY POND 6R4 DRIVEN FLAT OUT AT A CRYSTAL PALACE SPRINT MEETING.

  24. The blocks for the prototypes where cut down rover V8’s everthing else was bespoke V64V. XJ220 engine is based on the V64V but has totally different castings. The 3.0 litre 6r4 V64V engine was used based on the weight that the car should have ended up at, which was supposed to be approx 950-980 kg, works cars weighed well over that which then brought them into the 3.5-4.0 engine size. Lawence Gibson runs an 11,000rpm 3.5 litre 500 + hp aspirated engine…..what could have been!!!
    Will Gollop had 750hp from a 2.3 litre V64V bi turbo and states with modern management he would expect 850hp.

    Xj220’s can see 1000hp quite easily, how reliable they would be is another matter.

  25. Memories of the MG Metro Turbo come to mind, 1.3 4-pot, Turbo’d (smiles), and ‘Smart’ thinks that adding a turbo charger to a small engine is a new idea !!!

  26. Does anybody remember my 6R4 it was prepared by tony pond racingb
    I won 46rallies in that car E644CAM I sold it to Andrew Nesbitt
    My car had just about every spec you could have had all Kevlar body 3ltr engine with international fuel injection built by cliff humphries dog box with inspection ports three piece qull shaft titanium front end dymag wheels and wheel fans 14inch Corsican brakes Scottish suspension struts wiring looms into one switch with spares if one failed etc etc

  27. It was also driven by four wrc drivers tony pond Colin mcrae Richard burns and pentii airikalla they all said it was the best 6R4 they had driven it appeared in bonus print colours cb3 international admiral sportswear Mobil oils.
    Aside from our family property company I live in Cyprus and before that I worked as an instructor at prodrive and pentii’s left foot braking .com rally school .
    I am itching to drive the 6R4 again it was simply the best and I am proud that I was part of those crazy years of group B !

  28. IILL BET TONY,RICHARD,PENTTI AND COLIN ARE HAVING A DING DONG BATTLE BECAUASE THEY COULD DRIVE WHEELBARROWS QUICKLY !

  29. MISS YOU ALL GUYS I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO PUT THEM IN AN ESCORT RS2 AND THROW IN SEBASTIAN, NOW THAT WOULD BE AN AMAZING STAGE

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