The Austin Metro was the car that British Leyland hoped would replace the popular Mini and sell over 100,000 units annually. For the company, that was asking quite a bit, but somehow the Metro pulled it off. It was spacious for a B-class car, and it sold well enough, with over a million units finding a home before the Austin name got thrown in the can and the car became a Rover product. Some of those sales might have had something to do with the car you will see in the film below, the MG Metro 6R4.
MG, a name more associated with little British roadsters, had been reduced to just a high-performance marque for Austin-Rover in the 1980s, but if there was one model that could be considered high-performance, a Group B car was certainly it. Here’s the short of it: there’s maybe a couple body panels that could work on a Metro, a lot of fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar, and a 3.0L V6 that could blast out north of 400 horsepower if the tune was right. Four wheel drive, mid-engined, and pissed off in a manner that was more violent rage than anything, the 6R4 didn’t have quite the reputation that other Group B cars earned, mainly due to the V6 having issues that kept it from being a top-tier competitor.
Owning a Group B car for private use is like walking your pet jaguar on a leash around a kindergarten playground…people are gonna freak out. The car has all the subtlety of a bomb blast for every last sense…it’s visually arresting, it’s loud as ****, and according to the owner, is “smelly”, whatever that means. But if you drive this little box of a car like you hate it, it will reward you by proving that it not only can handle what you can do, but that it can take a lot more. It won’t tolerate outright stupidity, but it will remind you how so many little four-banger Metros wound up sold: nobody could buy this car off the showroom floor, but they could buy one that looked like it.