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 £6,073 (with £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)
First registered: 1984
Recorded mileage: 7,000
Price new: £5,649 (this car £6,073)
Yours for: £16,995