Austin Metro

The Austin Metro, aka Austin miniMetro was a small three- and five-door hatchback intended to replace the ailing and out of fashion Austin Mini with a more modern angular body.

To cut costs, Austin/Leyland management decided not to further advance it's 16v engine prototypes, leaving the Metro stuck with the positively ancient Mini drivetrain.

In the end, Rover's adoption of Honda engines produced a more effective vehicle. But among its many failings, it never did replace the Mini, who's production lasted two more years (in it's original form).

Poor build, dodgy automatic chokes and rust killed it. In the end, it lacked the one thing the Mini had to address the negatives; it had neither charm nor soul.

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Do You Remember Austin Metro?

Do You Remember Austin Metro?

  • Anonymous user
    I remember the massive fanfare and huge public interest that surrounded it's launch- much was made of it on ATV Today, the Midlands regional news magazine programme, because of it's Longbridge origins. TV presenter Anne Diamond used to have one (she was on ATV at the time). Other famous Metro owners included Princess Diana and the actor Peter Bowles (Diana's Metro recently sold at auction for well over £50K). The police also used them as panda cars, one featured in the Cannon & Ball comedy 'The Boys In Blue'- they were massively popular as rally cars as well. I disagree that the early models had poor build- this was something that tended to come in only in late '83, the very early ones (with the small black hubcaps) were pretty good, and the number of these that still survive bears testimony to this. The MG variant came out around '83, the first car in several years to bear the MG badge- they were every schoolboy's dream machine at the time. My sister used to have a black Metro, an 'A' reg. mid-series model built in Autumn '83 (around the time that build quality began to be compromised). It was her first car- very basic, it was much like the earlier models but with no chrome and metallic square hubcaps. She owned it from '88 to '94, when she was living in Cardiff- she got it from a dodgy local garage, and on her maiden journey in it the exhaust fell off in the dead of night outside Monmouth (not the car's fault, it hadn't been serviced properly, though we were all tamping furious with the garage guy!) The tips of the front wings got eaten by rust in the end (that's where Metro's always seemed to get tinworm, funny how different cars are vulnerable to rot in different specific places)- I doubt whether it's still on this Earth now. Somebody a few roads away from where I live has an '82 top of the range model that's been off the road for years- pale lime green and loads of chrome trim, been off the road for years and covered in mould, although keeping the rust at bay pretty well. There's also an '87 'Advantage' limited edition outside a barber's shop down the hill from where I live, that's been there for at least a decade- had a tennis theme, little raquet logos on the rear end. from the early '90s the Metro was re-badged as the Rover 100, with a redesigned front and a slightly curvier body- I think they were finally discontinued early in '98. I didn't mind them, I thought they were quite sweet little cars.