Fully Mentalist Metro
One of the unexpected consequences of the frightening flux within the British car industry of the 1980s was the emergence of serious motorsports divisions within the corporate structures of car makers.
And the Metro 6R4 was perhaps the nuttiest, most unlikely fruits of this phenomenon – cultivated to add its exotic flavour to the hugely popular and spectacular Group B rally regime which was at the time making rally the most popular motorsport on the planet.
Calling this monster, whose naturally aspirated V6 engine had elements of the Cosworth DFV and Rover V8 machinery stuffed in its rear end, was a little disingenuous. Destined to appeal fondly to the British masses because of its moniker, it really only vaguely looked like the cheap, huge selling Metro.
Development of the 6R4 was taken on with the help of Williams Grand Prix Engineering – and the resultant racer was of course made of fundamentally different stuff than the production Metro.
Panels of Glass Reinforced Plastic and a little bit of steel clothed a seam welded tubular frame – and the car was actually laid out apparently on the bigger Austin Maestro; hence that jutted jawed and bulbous backed profile.
There was permanent 4WD and the gearbox constructed so that it was relatively simple to change ratios and torque bias between the diffs. Rover of course had to make at least 200 of these cars available to homologate them for Group B – and in 1984 you could buy the homologated package which punched to the tune of around 250 BHP, for around £25K.
Later specs pushed this already punchy figure closer to the 400 mark – and fully race ready packages of these full Rally monsters would have cost you around £40K.
Group B was slain by the FIA in 1987 – and the 6R4 didn’t enjoy much race success.
What it did achieve was a lasting, justified reputation as the most bonkers British car ever created.
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