RE: MG Metro Turbo | Spotted

RE: MG Metro Turbo | Spotted

Tuesday 5th November

MG Metro Turbo | Spotted

There are low-mileage, rare, niche interest hot hatches. And then there's the Metro Turbo...



This story almost feels like it should come with an apology. Because there are far more worthy candidates for this Spotted slot, cars that represent greater value for money, are more historically significant or which are (much) nicer to drive. Perhaps all three, come to think of it. But opportunities to showcase a pristine MG Metro Turbo - and pristine may well be selling it short - don't come around all that often, and so it had to be seized upon. What are the chances of finding another one like this? Exactly. There are other stories around on PistonHeads, honest, if a 35-year-old Metro isn't of interest...

But for the misty-eyed few, get yourself comfortable. The Turbo was introduced just a few months after the Metro's 1982 launch, the Garrett T3 turbo boosting power of the venerable A Series to 95hp. More than enough to be getting on with given the kerbweight of 800kg or so, even if it had to be restrained to protect the delicate Mini-donated four-speed gearbox. MG in fact introduced boost control for the Metro Turbo in an attempt to further protect the gearbox, the wastegate varying psi between 4 and 7 depending on the revs. Moreover, the little Metro was praised back in the day for its performance (as fast as an XR2 with a much bigger engine), steering and well-sorted handling; Motor Sport magazine said it was a "great little fun-carriage" in 1983 (even though that makes it sound like 1883) and praised the idea of MG's runaround getting a turbocharged shot in the arm.


Another person fond of the Metro idea in the early 1980s was this car's first owner https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/mg/other-models/a-concours-winning-mk1-mg-metro-turbo-with-an-incredible-7-359-miles-from-new/10102696, a Mr Hugh Watson Wickham-Lamont. You read that right. Having ordered the car from Lex Mead of Bexleyheath for the price of Β£6,073 (with Β£3,000 on finance; imagine what the forums said), Mr Wickham-Lamont collected the Mini in 21st March 1984.

Having (presumably) enjoyed the car for six years and 6,532 miles, he took the Metro off the road "for fear of it being stolen or damaged" and kept it in storage for the best part of a decade. While run regularly during that time, it was only in 1999 that the Metro saw the light of day again, winning a display at the Guildford MG Show. The Turbo would go on to win many more regional and national concours competitions, all kept in a history file that was then passed on to a Mr Johnson when the car was sold in 2014. Given the car only now has 7,000 miles, we can assume that the car's use with its second owner was similarly seldom.


And think about that: 7,000 miles in 35 years, for a car that was cheap, fairly plentiful and hideously rust-prone even when new. It's a remarkable achievement that this car has survived, and it should be celebrated for that. Citing registered examples remaining is becoming trite nowadays, but it's suggested that just 27 remain taxed on UK roads - from more than 20,000 built - and so this is even more of a find than expected.

Of course, to most of us the notion of spending new hot hatch money on an old Metro will look like daftness bordering on insanity. But to the truly dedicated, this is an unrepeatable opportunity. The Turbo will only be wheeled out on the most special of occasions, to the awe and wonderment of like-minded enthusiasts, and that will make it worth the asking price (or somewhere near it) for whoever makes the purchase. Let's hope there's a buyer out there just like Mr Wickham-Lamont for this Metro, an owner to love and cherish a very rare specimen, who can enjoy this little bit of MG history for many more years. Just be careful with that gearbox...


SPECIFICATION - MG METRO TURBO

Engine: 1,275cc, four-cyl turbo
Transmission: 4-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 95@6,130rpm
Torque (lb ft): 85@2,650rpm
MPG: 50 (at a constant 56mph)
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1984
Recorded mileage: 7,000
Price new: Β£5,649 (this car Β£6,073)
Yours for: Β£16,995

See the full ad here

Author
Discussion

Billy_Whizzzz

Original Poster:

1,192 posts

90 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
Holy Moly this Metro is rubbish - but curiously I was more interested to read about it than any amount of exotica or hypercars.

Butter Face

19,452 posts

107 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
Amazing that this has survived so well! A euromillions win would see this in my possession!

Drooles

61 posts

3 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
I quite like that. Back in the nineties my friends and I would buy rotten ones of these or NA MG Metros for a few hundred quid and put the engines into old Minis.

I feel quite bad, the disregard we had for those Metros.

Also, I shudder to think how close my MK2 Cooper came to having its 998 ripped out...

200Plus Club

6,808 posts

225 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
16k lol! Good luck with that.
My memories of my white metro turbo were good fun at the time, and not being able to see traffic lights when stopped at the front of queues due to being tall and the metro screen height/rake.
Updated Wastegate actuator and reprofiled needle bought over the phone from the one tuning firm that did bits and it became almost nippy!
Had to constantly sort rust poking thro the front valance and sold it for a pug 1.6gti which was immeasurably better.


Edited by 200Plus Club on Tuesday 5th November 12:35

cookie1600

1,313 posts

108 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
"Mr Wickham-Lamont collected the Mini in 21st March 1984"

I thought it was an MG Metro Turbo. These were never called a Mini?

I'd still watch out for rust under that chin spoiler and elsewhere. They went faster as they got older, because they got lighter.


sidesauce

1,075 posts

165 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
Kill it with fire.

coppice

5,553 posts

91 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
The original race versions were extremely quick cars, especially in the hands of drivers like Patrick Watts and the late Tony Pond. I saw the former's restored example on track earlier this year, humbling some much more powerful cars . It is very , very noisy, spouts big tongues of flame and is still seriously quick.

MrC986

2,475 posts

138 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
I remember my dad had one for a while with his job. In their time they were quite quick & for us the boost gauge was massively amusing, I couldn’t afford a Turbo (on insurance grounds) when I was old enough so settled on a standard MG which was painted in a Turbo type 2 tone finish with the red carpets.

I’m sure there are plenty who will mock the little car, though it was the early 80s & the hot hatch sector was entirely different.

Dave Hedgehog

11,718 posts

151 months

Rich Boy Spanner

314 posts

77 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
They were fun, and had a lot of character, and made you smile. The non-turbo MG Metro looked better, mainly because of the wheels. The Metro was very good at dealing with becoming airborne over humped back bridges, must have been the hydro-pneumatic suspension giving the soft landing.

bilo999

48 posts

46 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
My first car was a rusty wreck of a Mini Metro, has to read this article and a great spot.

And then to find it was supplied by Lex Bexleyheath - remember that dealership as I went to secondary school just around the corner from it - and I had just started when this car was first registered !

Amazing find and what a real world spotted car - excellent read

Baldchap

1,655 posts

39 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
sidesauce said:
Kill it with fire.
The Maestro Turbos used to do this themselves, was the Metro the same? laugh

hammo19

2,050 posts

143 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
I had a work colleague with a black one of these. He used to drive it around at full speed all the time. On one occasion he was so bored waiting for people to pull out at a junction he mounted the pavement drove along it for 100 yards and burst onto the main road.

I had a Nissan Cherry Europe GTi at the time and we regularly had races. I couldn’t keep pace with the MG Metro in corners.

cobra kid

3,438 posts

187 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
Billy_Whizzzz said:
Holy Moly this Metro is rubbish - but curiously I was more interested to read about it than any amount of exotica or hypercars.
I find this as well. New fancy shiny stuff leaves me switched off. A lad got himself a fancy BMW and everyone rushed out to look at it. It leaves me non-plussed to be honest.

But something with a bit of history, despite being a bit pants, I'm all over it!

Quavers

122 posts

24 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
My mate had one. The gearbox sounded like a bacon slicer.

Honeywell

303 posts

45 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
If I win the lottery I’d buy that as part of the collection. I popped my cherry in a Metro and I used to covet a black Turbo that used to be owned locally. He sold it for a Honda CRX VTEC and stole my girlfriend and I’ve loathed CRX’s ever since.

Augustus Windsock

1,822 posts

102 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
200Plus Club said:
16k lol! Good luck with that.
My memories of my white metro turbo were good fun at the time, and not being able to see traffic lights when stopped at the front of queues due to being tall and the metro screen height/rake.
Updated Watergate actuator and reprofiled needle bought over the phone from the one tuning firm that did bits and it became almost nippy!
Had to constantly sort rust poking thro the front valance and sold it for a pug 1.6gti which was immeasurably better.
A watergate actuator?
All The Presidents Men may have something to say about that...
Back in ‘84 (that’s 1984 not 1884 which my kids think I was born in...) I looked at one of these from an Importer, the car being sourced in the Netherlands
At that time importing a parallel import was a rare and exciting /frightening thing but eventually I stopped eating copious amounts of cheese and bought a new mk2 XR2 (despite having test driven a 205 GTi which was dynamically superior but had the build quality of a wet paper bag)
I too remember them in Touring Cars, circa 190bhp iirc battling Rover SD1s, Capris etc etc
Not sure if it’s my ageing grey matter but I seem to recall they were competitive for half a dozen laps before the tyres turned to liquorice and they fell off the track?

untakenname

2,403 posts

139 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
When I clicked on the thread I thought it was going to be the insane rally Group B 4x4.
Don't see the appeal these days, would have made a good sleeper when new but its under 100hp which is on par with 1.0 shopping car power these days and has no protection in the event of a collision.


mwstewart

5,612 posts

135 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
Ahh, photos in a studio with a white background guarantee that the car will be expensive smile

simonbamg

451 posts

70 months

Tuesday 5th November
quotequote all
Think I’d choose an alpine over this.... just