A one-off concept built at the start of the 1990s and based around a brand new Rover Metro is due to go under the hammer on Wednesday, 10 June. No reserve has been set so this fascinating proposal for a forward-looking crossover might just be a bargain.
The Rover Metro Scout was designed and built by Automotive Development Consultants (ADC), a company which had already been involved with Rover Group via various MG roadster proposals. However, the Scout was something different – and, with the benefit of hindsight, was years ahead of its time.
These days, two-wheel drive crossover-style vehicles are extremely popular, attracting buyers who appreciate their looks, their robust image and their practicality. In the case of the Scout, a standard Rover Metro was fitted with a taller roof, a higher side-hinged tailgate, bigger rear side windows, roof rails, extra plastic panels, headlamps guards and even an externally-mounted spare wheel in order to resemble a mini-4×4.
Jim Ragless, a former Manager at Automotive Development Consultants, recalls how the idea came about: ‘The Scout was conceived and built by ADC as a showcase of our concept, design and build capabilities for the Automotive Engineering Show at the NEC. The idea was a possible evolution of the Metro range with more space, more utility and easier entry-exit to the back seats.’
Sadly, though, the idea wasn’t adopted by Rover Group: ‘Rover was interested enough in what we were thinking about to provide the donor car’, explains Ragless, ‘but not enough to pursue the project.’ With Rover busy working on its own crossover ideas at the time – the production version of which would eventually be the Land Rover Freelander – the Scout remained simply a concept.
The show car itself has been on display at the Stondon Motor Museum for more than twenty years. However, following the recent closure of the museum, it is soon to be auctioned off (along with every other exhibit) via Herefordshire-based Brightwells. It will be sold with no reserve.
First registered in 1990, the Scout has covered just 1290 miles to date and is described as ‘not roadworthy at present’, though it could be put on the road and has a V5. Included in the sale are some of the original moulds for the car, which will need collecting from Stondon Motor Museum after the auction. For further details of the Scout, go to www.brightwells.com.