eBay Find of the Week : Chrome Metro

Keith Adams

A future TV star in chrome
A future TV star in chrome

Here’s a strange and yet compelling one to get your teeth into – a chrome and carbonfibre-wrapped Rover Metro Rio. Obviously, it’s going to be an acquired taste this one, but we rate this as pretty cool.

According to the blurb that comes with the sale, it’s an immaculate low-mileage example, and looking at the condition of the sills and arches in the images on eBay, we’d certainly not argue. But as a first car, this Metro could do someone very proud, whether they keep the wrap or not (and we certainly would)… besides, it’s a four-speeder and even has a manual choke. Newbie motoring doesn’t come any better than this.

There is a back story to the wrap, of course, and you’ll no doubt find out soon, as this smooth little Metro is about to be featured on a well known car TV show. That’s all we know.

View the sale on eBay, but be quick – four days and counting on this chromed beauty!


Keith Adams


  1. Now that’s some serious bling! 🙂

    But 4-speeder? That’s a MK3 Metro body, so it should have a 5 speed K-series (whether single or twin cam), surely? Or is it low mileage because it’s had an engine swap?

    One for the books though.

    The metro I would love to read about is the E6 engined Metro, (in the BMH museum I think). Was it a forerunner to the rally machine with purpose built 6 cylinder engine (model name eludes me)?

  2. The base model K series cars were 4 speed. I only know this because I had a Tahiti Special – the special bit being an extra gear. The standard Tahiti was only 4 speed.
    I agree that this kind of mod to a car like that is plain stupid.

  3. So far, after 9 bids (£ 195 max), reserve is not met.
    Good taste is however. Pity it’s not original.
    Now that would be a machine!

  4. This whole crase for wrapping cars in vinyl is ridiculous! I have a friend who has put a matt-black wrap on the roof of his Focus RS, and dayglo yellow on the mirrors – hideous! What’s wrong with a wash and a wax now and again – I though that go-faster stripes were bad enough back in the 70s/80s…….

  5. to be fair that doesn’t really look too offensive. I can think of much worse. Shame they didn’t chrome plate the wheels though.

  6. I think the David Bowie mini was actual chrome plated though. I saw it in BMW’s tent at Longbridge in 2009. There was also a BMW Mini there in chrome but that was clearly wrapped. The Classic did appear to be chromed though, not sure of the tech on that though.

    I suppose you’d have to wonder why someone would go to so much effort wrapping an old Metro, but then on the other hand some people probably wonder why someone went to so much effort creating a website for Austin-Rover.

  7. I wouldn’t if I were you. The minute mr normal citizen put that on the road the traffic piglets would have him in court. A reflective surface of any size on any part of a car bar the mirrors is illegal on UK roads. Even some trim parts push that boundary apparently. Which is why everything has paint on it, even though that actually adds more weight and hurts economy since only a laquer/protective coat is strictly necessary. Theoretically its even illegal sitting on your drive because the sun hitting it could blind passing drivers.

    Also, as has been previously mentioned… WHY?

  8. Base and Quest were 4 speed and it is a well suited box to the 1.1

    If you check the details of the time, you will find that the 4 speed had better fuel economy than the 5, a matter that the salesman was unable to explain, when I asked why would I pay more for a five speed, to burn more fuel? (presumably down to the test regime at the time)

    Having just lost a 4 speed Quest to thieves after owning it from new for 17 years, I can assure you that not having a 5 th gear is as totally irrelevant as the 6th gear is on my current car.It just means you change gear less.

    I would have chromed the front. It would allow the prats in Audis to see just how bloody stupid their LED running lights are and how out of alignment their “optional” bi-xenons are!

  9. “A reflective surface of any size on any part of a car bar the mirrors is illegal on UK roads”

    I’m not looking for an argument, but do you have a link to the legislation for that?

    You see i’m thinking of my classic mini and it has chrome bumpers, chrome GB badge, chrome door handles, chrome headlamp rims, chrome mirrors, chrome badges, chrome strips around the windows…. the lights all have a mirror backing inside them. It’s all factory fitted stuff, all EU type approved.

    Even plain glass windows and highly polished paint will reflect sun, anything that doesn’t have a matt surface in fact. Oddly enough glossy black is one of the best for seeing your reflection, whereas white reflects most of the light. In fact it appears white because it reflects most of the spectrum.

    Most emergency and road maintenance vehicles have reflective tape all over them these days.

    I can’t honestly see how that’s workable or enforceable, because in order for it to be there must be a definition of reflective. It could be measured with a light meter for the amount of reflected light, but a matt white surface will reflect as much as chrome albeit diffused.

    I suspect the main reason we see painted cars and not just galvanised or polished and laquered cars is more to do with not everyone wanting to have a metal coloured car or black plastic.

  10. “I can assure you that not having a 5 th gear is as totally irrelevant as the 6th gear is on my current car.It just means you change gear less.”

    If you have more gears though it allows you to block change more, ie 4th to 6th. So you don’t actually go up through all the gears (unless the engine is particularly gutless) 5th gear was probably the same ratio as the 4th gear on the 4 speed metros but the other ratios were closer together allowing better acceleration.

    I regularly drive trucks where 16 gears isn’t unusual, you rarely use all 16 gears, that’s not to say most of them are irrelevant though. You might typically pull away in 4th, then 8th, then 10th. However if you were moving off fully loaded on a mountain then you might work your way through all of them. (i have simplified that quite a bit to save typing)

    It all depends on the ratios and the engines torque curve, but a 5 speed was probably more pleasant to drive with 4 people in on hilly roads than the 4 speed was and made better progress as it allows you to keep the engine in the power band more easily. Although fuel economy on a motorway might have been little different. Remember the Metro E range from the 80’s? Really tall 4th gear for cruising economy, then basically 3 working gears for around town, nippy it certainly wasn’t.

    Torque curves and gear ratios are difficult to get across to the average motorist which is why manufacturers sell gear boxes on the basis that more is better.

  11. Hang on. That 4 speed gearboxs could be supplied from Peugeot. My ex girlfrends first car in the 1990;s was a basic 106 , 1.0 Litre kid! with 4 speed. She would crack up on me looking for 5th gear when i drove it one day as i was used to 5 speed Vauxhalls back then. Even i was surprized 4 speed boxs lingered on in some new cars.

  12. Sister had a Rover 111 Sli (metro for you, 111 in Italy), full spec with five speed. Maybe the 4 speed box is enough but, believe me, with a very long time, little 5 speed Metro can reah higher speed than 4 spped ones. Our most important review “Quattroruote”, during the road test clocked a 111 5-speed at 158 km/h (98 mph). Not on a long highway but on its own test track.
    At those time I usually drove fast on highways and I often reach over 170 km/h at the tacho. During a very fast night trip from Milan to Modena i managed an average speed of 162 km/h on a distance of 170 km.
    So, in my personal opinion, 5 speed are better of 4 (if you know how to use the fifth).
    Anyway… why chrome and carbon????

  13. Metro Rio in 1.1 4 speed….. Has anyone bought this yet? Was a salesman for a Rover Dealer between 1990 & 1996. Drove and sold literally hundreds of these. 4 speed was quite normal and actually no issue to drive. Could wind it up to an easy 90 mph. 5 speed felt more usable though.

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