Mini Monster Metro

Austin Metro

Austin Metro

The car pictured above is everything Gargling Gas isn’t – pathetic, weak and helplessly slow. However, this post came to be (or will come to be) out of a combination of nostalgia hailing back to when I was around four-years-old, and one of my favourite rally cars.

Aside from the colour, the cute little gold car above is identical to the one my Grandfather owned, the fifth Metro to leave the production line and the first painted bronze. He owned a MK 2 Ford Escort before it, and even though I was still learning to tie my shoelaces at the time, I understood this Metro car wasn’t as cool.

However, it was – much to my delight – the first car I managed to sit in the front of whilst moving, a memory I still cherish. I think it was around the time seatbelt laws were introduced as my parents never let me sit up front, but my Grandfather, well he was easy to manipulate. I begged and begged and eventually I broke the old man, and before he’d even walked around to open his door, I was all strapped in. I marvelled at the open space and the fact I was so close to the controls.

“Don’t tell your mum and dad,” he said.

“I won’t,” I replied.

And I didn’t.

Austin Metro

Austin Metro

So what about the rally car? How could this little tin box ever hope to race, let alone compete with the likes of Audi, Lancia and Peugeot on the world stage of Group B?

1985 MG Metro 6R4

1985 MG Metro 6R4

The monster above is the mighty 1985 6R4, a compact weapon of mass destruction. Whilst the family runaround possessed around 60-bhp depending on engine choice, the 6R4’s 3.0-L V6 delivers over 400-bhp.

The 6R4 started off well, only Lancia bettering them, but after mechanical gremlins throughout 1986 and the fact Group B rally was banned due to a series of accidents and spectator deaths, the lunatic Metro ended up competing in rally cross at the hands of privateers.

MG Metro 6R4

MG Metro 6R4

Another interesting fact about the little boxy car is its link to Jaguar – the 3.0-L V6 found in the 6R4 was given two turbochargers and put into the XJ220 supercar.

I think the fact my Grandfather owned and ferried me around in a Metro is the reason I love the 6R4. They took a popular British runaround loved by the blue-rinse brigade and turned it into something capable of messing the overalls of a seasoned racer.

Just listen to how furiously angry this little Metro is once it’s in full race mode…


The Totally Awesome RX-7

Having watched this clip 5 or 6 times over the past few days, I came to realise this is the perfect video to show non-car people – maybe they’d understand a little more as to why us car guys and gals see a car as more than a means of transport.

Over a two year period, this 19-year-old put every last buck delivering pizzas into his powerful rat-look Mazda RX-7. He doesn’t realise it yet, but in another 19 years he’ll look back with fond memories of his build. Even if he makes it in the world and is driving around in the latest Ferrari, it’s this RX-7 that would’ve given him the greatest thrill and buzz.

He may hear a song on the radio that was popular during the time he spent labouring away in his garage and be transported back to the days of delivering pizza, or he might catch a scent of combusted petrol and burnt rubber and suddenly find himself enveloped in a memory of sunny summers and adrenalin fueled near misses.

How do I know this?

My first car wasn’t as insane as this beast, but I did opt for an MGB GT. It had a re-bored engine, wire-wheels and sat slightly higher at the rear – a look that was once the in thing. It looked pretty mean and my father (a non-car guy) surprisingly let me have it. Whilst I was taking lessons in a pathetic 1.0-L Rover Metro, the MG sat in the garage. During the hot summer the garage was a cool retreat where I would just sit behind the wheel and marvel at the dials and the low down seating position. Because it was as old as me at the time, it smelt of petrol, and this combined with the scent of vinyl is a concoction unmatched by any other car I’ve owned.

I crashed the poor thing on my first legal day on the road, spinning it one way, over-compensating and spinning it into a station wall – luckily I had 100% compensation as I suffered the usual whiplash and a shredded shoulder.

You’d have thought I’d learnt my lesson, but like The Toad from The Wind In The Willows, sitting in the road and repeating “poop poop”, I was hooked. Although I became more obsessed with cars, I went on a few driving courses, the best dealing with wet surfaces and skidding.

My next car?

A 1983 2.3-L turbo Ford Mustang – unusual for the UK but I loved it!

Anyway, check out this kid’s skills in creating this rather special RX-7:

Anyone ever thought about car restoration?


I wrote this article because I have a passion for old cars and have owned a few over the years. My first car was an MGB GT, a 1978 model that appeared solid on the outside but was a little rusty underneath. With a little research I found out restoring these cars – or at least installing enough love to keep them on the roads for a few years longer – isn’t as hard as you may think if you start with the right car.

This ARTICLE features 5 Top Starter Classics, posted from Motor Ward.