Car of the Month : June 2006

WE all know Metros can be great fun to drive – go-kart steering and handling to match, there are few cars that can please as well on a twisting piece of B-road. If only they had more power…

Barry Gemmell thinks so, too – and now runs around in a very tasty VVC-powered example of the breed, and he tells us the story behind this impressive example.

Juice it up

You know you want it…

THE Metro GTi SE was a special edition to launch the GTi 16v in multi point injection format. Previous Metro GTi being 95PS non cat single point injection versions. The new 103PS GTi MPi featured ventilated disk brakes and 7 spoke alloy wheels. The SE version added half leather seats, electric front windows and Nightfire red paintwork.

This particular car I have owned since February and has been upgraded to take the 1.8 vvc engine from the MGF. Its primary use will be as a weekend and track car. The beauty of the Metro is that it is so easy upgrade. The bigger engines just slotting in place of the original. Suspension can be lowered and stiffened by cutting down the rods in the hydrogas units requiring no new parts.

I’m not a fan of visually modified cars, prefering the clean, simple and cheeky look of the original GTi and this one, other than the alloys, looks much like a normal late GTi.

Future plans for this car are to raise the suspension as the previous owner lowered it more for looks and it doesn’t have enough ride height or bump absorbtion for road driving. The dashboard will be replaced by a standard item and the one off centre console removed.

Mechanically the car is not going to be further modified as it is quick enough, 0-60 in around 6 seconds and 130+mph top speed on longer track straights. Getting good traction off the line is a problem for high power Metros and the need to change into 3rd before 60 means it actually feels quicker than the 0-60 time suggests.

It’s one of the best sub-£2000 track weapons you can build.

Keith Adams

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