MG METRO TURBO

Catch me if you can

YEAR: 1984

You wanted the 80s bombshells? Here is one of the most astonishing.
A small supercar of only 3.4 metres. And when I say supercar, I am not joking—it’s got Lotus’s fingerprints all over it. Woe betide whoever calls it an Austin: the purists might take offence. This is a collector MG.

Historical background

Between competitions and challenges

In 1980, British Leyland presented the Metro: a square design, angular and innovative, that hid mechanicals as obsolete yet as effective as the Mini’s. The car was liked, and sales were immediately promising (especially in the UK), so much so that it brought respite to the company’s coffers, which at the time was going through a challenging period.
In 1982, the newly formed group Austin Rover decided to market the small car’s sports version under the brand MG, and equipped it with a naturally aspirated 1300 cc engine that had a power output of 72 hp. This choice only fostered the Metro’s image as a small and agile sports car, and the positive reaction to the model was confirmed by the public’s ever-increasing demand. The mother company immediately rode the wave of success, and in the same year released an even more performing sports version: the MG Metro Turbo, a 1.3 supercharged car whose development involved none other than Lotus. Modifications affected the engine, suspension, and other mechanical elements. As it was often the case, for reliability and marketing strategy reasons, this pert British car peaked at 90–93 hp, to match its competitors and avoid scaring away the customers with an excessive power output.
The small MG rightfully earned itself a place of honour amongst the small “bombshells” of its decade, thanks to its agility on twisty roads, where its chassis set it apart from its fierce competition. The two-toned bodywork, the flashy red “Turbo” lettering on the sides, the prominent front and rear spoilers, and the interior with contoured seat and red carpets lent the “Super-Metro” a menacing look that was perfectly in line with the trends of the time.
In 1984, the model underwent the first of a long series of updates (not even worthy of being called a restyling) that focussed on some finishes and colour options. The Metro Turbo was actually retired in 1990 without any substantial changes, though with a very respectable series of sporting achievements in numerous competitions—the most famous being perhaps those in Group B.
Although a considerable number of vehicles were produced, most of them were intended for the domestic market, and therefore with right-hand drive. Of those sent to the rest of Europe, very few survived to this day: the scrappage programmes of the 90s made sure of that.

That is why seeing a Metro Turbo today is a rare event: what a shame!

Technical specifications

  • BODY TYPE: Three-door hatchback
  • SEATS: 5
  • LENGTH: 340.5 cm
  • WIDTH: 154.9 cm
  • HEIGHT: 135.9 cm
  • WHEELBASE: 225.1 cm
  • WEIGHT: 840 kg
  • ENGINE: Supercharged 4-cylinder
  • DISPLACEMENT: 1,275 cc
  • POWER OUTPUT: 90 hp
  • FUEL: Petrol
  • DRIVETRAIN: FWD
  • TRANSMISSION: Manual
  • SPEEED: 180 km/h

Driving experience – It keeps its promises

The appearance of the MG Turbo promises fire and brimstone to any car coming up beside it at the traffic light. Inside, the contoured seats are upholstered in grey fabric, while the carpets as well as other details—seat belts included—are red. It is a simple yet spacious interior, especially considering the size of the body.
A racing look, then, that does not fail to deliver after turning the key. This Metro is a missile, basically uncatchable on twisty roads. Solid setup (in this case slightly lower than the standard), square platform, driver in the centre, wheels at the corners of the body. This is the true “go-kart feeling”, with an engine that pushes decisively, while the turbo boost gauge—not terribly precise, to be honest—keeps an eye on the limits for optimal functioning. 90 hp is more than enough to have fun, though it is only a number if one does not consider the weight, which is about 850 kg. After all, MG was born in Great Britain, in the land of “less is more”, a principle that this car brilliantly puts into practice. The Metro Turbo eats turn after turn with no rolling whatsoever: flat, hard, uncompromising. Distraction is impossible at the wheel—partly because of the rather basic interior equipment (a reminder that this is a small car of the 80s,) but mostly because of the entertainment this compact sports car can provide.

NB: Remember to let it cool down after having fun: it lacks an intercooler, so it is wise to let the turbine cool down before turning off the car.

 The restoration – Passione Classica’s MG Metro Turbo

Found completely by chance during one of my trips in search of cars, this Metro Turbo is one of the last produced of the first series.
After arriving at Passione Classica, its bodywork was restored according to the original standards that wanted it silver and black, with custom-made stickers placed afterwards according to the MG standard. The rims were completely restored as well, both in structure and paint, complete with the unobtainable octagonal caps, perfectly remade (they were very easy to lose back then.) The maintenance service was more like a restoration and included, amongst other routine interventions, the replacement of all fluids, the transmission bushings kit, fuel pump with its filters, complete restoration of the turbine and fuel tank, and replacement of valve seals and cylinder head gasket.
The mechanical part alone was 5,000 euros (invoice available), but the restoration work overall was much more expensive. All four Hydragas suspension displacer units were also replaced, and the replacements were delivered directly from Great Britain. The car comes with all its documents: service history, instruction manual, operation and maintenance handbook, vehicle registration certificate. The pictures in the gallery only show a few phases of its “rebirth”. Today, this British car is back on the scene after years of oblivion. Aimed at an alternative clientele, one that loves standing out or that collects small compact cars of the 80s, the MG Metro is a “must have” of undisputed charm, with that typical British style that will make you smile from behind the wheel. This car was first registered in Turin.

Driving experience – It keeps its promises

The appearance of the MG Turbo promises fire and brimstone to any car coming up beside it at the traffic light. Inside, the contoured seats are upholstered in grey fabric, while the carpets as well as other details—seat belts included—are red. It is a simple yet spacious interior, especially considering the size of the body.
A racing look, then, that does not fail to deliver after turning the key. This Metro is a missile, basically uncatchable on twisty roads. Solid setup (in this case slightly lower than the standard), square platform, driver in the centre, wheels at the corners of the body. This is the true “go-kart feeling”, with an engine that pushes decisively, while the turbo boost gauge—not terribly precise, to be honest—keeps an eye on the limits for optimal functioning. 90 hp is more than enough to have fun, though it is only a number if one does not consider the weight, which is about 850 kg. After all, MG was born in Great Britain, in the land of “less is more”, a principle that this car brilliantly puts into practice. The Metro Turbo eats turn after turn with no rolling whatsoever: flat, hard, uncompromising. Distraction is impossible at the wheel—partly because of the rather basic interior equipment (a reminder that this is a small car of the 80s,) but mostly because of the entertainment this compact sports car can provide.

NB: Remember to let it cool down after having fun: it lacks an intercooler, so it is wise to let the turbine cool down before turning off the car.

 The restoration – Passione Classica’s MG Metro Turbo

Found completely by chance during one of my trips in search of cars, this Metro Turbo is one of the last produced of the first series.
After arriving at Passione Classica, its bodywork was restored according to the original standards that wanted it silver and black, with custom-made stickers placed afterwards according to the MG standard. The rims were completely restored as well, both in structure and paint, complete with the unobtainable octagonal caps, perfectly remade (they were very easy to lose back then). The maintenance service was more like a restoration and included, amongst other routine interventions, the replacement of all fluids, the transmission bushings kit, fuel pump with its filters, complete restoration of the turbine and fuel tank, and replacement of valve seals and cylinder head gasket.
The mechanical part alone was 5,000 euros (invoice available), but the restoration work overall was much more expensive. All four Hydragas suspension displacer units were also replaced, and the replacements were delivered directly from Great Britain. The car comes with all its documents: service history, instruction manual, operation and maintenance handbook, vehicle registration certificate. The pictures in the gallery only show a few phases of its “rebirth”. Today, this British car is back on the scene after years of oblivion. Aimed at an alternative clientele, one that loves standing out or that collects small compact cars of the 80s, the MG Metro is a “must have” of undisputed charm, with that typical British style that will make you smile from behind the wheel. This car was first registered in Turin.

MG was born in Great Britain, in the land of “less is more”, a principle that this car brilliantly puts into practice.

Price

€ 21.500,00

This Metro… rocks! – The soundtrack

June 1984 marked the twenty-first edition of Festivalbar, a song festival born from the genius of Vittorio Salvetti, which that year was hosted by Claudio Cecchetto and Ramona dell’Abate. It was the year of “People From Ibiza”, “Self Control”, and winner Gianna Nannini’s “Fotoromanza”.
Amongst the foreign exhibitions we find Russ Ballard, a British rock guitarist and singer—here during the final at the Verona Arena with the song “Voices”, which perfectly matches the Brit-rock soul of our MG Metro Turbo.

6R4

During its career filled with epic battles in various segments of motorsports, the Metro often competed against more powerful cars of renowned manufacturers. Between 1985 and 1986 it even raced in the World Rally Championship, placing very well in Group B. It’s with the 64R (six cylinders, four-wheel drive) that the little one wrote unforgettable pages in the history of motorsports: a monster that put out 410 hp, for whose homologation 200 road vehicles were produced, as per regulation, with a maximum power output of 250 hp.

The cars in my garage

Interested in my MG Metro Turbo? Contact me now!