Metro 6R4 - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Cool Wall This lounge has been dedicated to Mark Cullen who tragically passed away on 07-04-08. The Cool Wall was Marks idea so it's only right it has his name attached.


View Poll Results: MG or not MG, that is the question
Sub-zero 3 13.64%
Cool 7 31.82%
Uncool 8 36.36%
Seriously Uncool 2 9.09%
Meh 2 9.09%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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(Post Link) post #1 of 28 Old 04-01-15 Thread Starter
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Metro 6R4





In the beginning......Austin Rover rejected a front-mounted V8/RWD design because the driver couldn't see the front of the car. This was a good decision. One of only a few.

AR went for something that combined (theoretically) the benefits of Audi (4WD) and R5 Turbo (mid-engined). The Metro's powerplant was also to eschew the fashionable nonsense of forced induction. This would mean zero turbo lag and everything would be so much simpler and more reliable. But what to fit? Having rejected the Honda V6, the only obvious solution was the 3.5 litre Rover V8. That wouldn't fit in the back....unless you chopped off two cylinders and welded it back together! Sorted! A new Rover V6 then, fitted with a purpose made crank, Rover Vitesse racing internals and Weber carbs - it gave 250bhp.

Throughout '84 the car appeared at national rallies as the team developed the homologation specification. This work (including wider track, longer wheelbase & enhanced aerodynamics) improved the car to such a degree that the 6R4 won the Feb '85 Skip Brown Cars Gwynedd Rally. Get in!

In May '85 a revised 6R4 was unveiled. It had a new engine (purpose-built 3 ltr TC 24V 90 degree V6, producing 250bhp in 'Clubman' form or approaching 400bhp in 'International' tune) and revised aerodynamics. Suspension travel was skillfully increased by four inches by welding box extensions on top of the turrets. This enabled fitment of the latest Michelin tyres (developed for Audi & Peugeot). The package worked, with victory on the 1985 Autofit Argyle Stages. Huzzah! The car was now being readied for it's WRC debut at the 1985 Lombard RAC Rally.

Incidentally - AR's other big decision against trend was to build the car as a 'ready to rally' kit. Owners had to carry out a minor degree of final assembly prior to racing. The £40,000 'Clubman', with the simple addition of harnesses and fire extinguishers, was 'ready to rally', and Ken Wood took delivery of his car on a Thursday, and with Golden Wonder sponsorship paint barely dry, won the 1985 Sprint Tyres Trossachs Rally two days later. Wunderbar! This was the first ever rally victory for a 'Clubman' Metro 6R4, and happened 6 days before the car was actually homologated. During August to October 1985, Austin Rover built 200 MG Metro 6R4s, successfully homologating the car into Group B.

At the Nov '85 Lombard RAC rally, Tony Pond finished third behind two Delta S4s. Brilliant! This, though, was the best result that the 6R4 would take at WRC level. Plagued with bad reliability, as the team tried to make up for their ever-increasing power disadvantage to turbocharged rivals, it wasn't until the '86 1000 Lakes Rally in September that the 6R4 achieved another WRC finish. In the end, the drivers were driving at 8/10ths to preserve their cars and enable a finish. The latter half of the season saw improving fortunes, but no wins.

On international and national rallies, however, the Metro 6R4 was achieving better results as the cars failed less frequently under less punishing conditions. Didier Auriol won the 1986 French National Championship. David Llewellyn won the 1986 Circuit of Ireland Rally. All told, the Metro won 5 championships during the '86 season.



Ultimately, though, the car was too little, too late. It took 5 yrs to get from drawing board to track, by which time turbos had become the way to go. FISA banned international Group B from 31st December 1986.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwvDFvLiIqQ

enjoy!

Last edited by steveisfrowning; 04-01-15 at 05:19.
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Something as specialised as this needs to be considered in the context of its unique environment. As such the 6R4 is a wonderfully quirky, ugly underdog which you can't help liking. It was too slow and too unreliable to cut it at the top table and typified AR's slow development/poor execution approach to everything it touched.

You could almost make a strong case for it being cool because of its looks and foibles. I admit to really liking this loser quite a lot. Sadly, other than stretching the concept of "Group B was cool, ergo all Gp B cars are cool" I can't say it is anything but loveably uncool.


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Seriously uncool, unreliable pile of junk.



But I would love to drive one
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Didn't the engine end up in the Jaguar XJ220?
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Typical BL good idea executed poorly. The only Groub B car it could hold its own against is the Peugeot 504 pick up.
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I always thought this car summed up Austin Rover at the time: trying to be a world beater on minimal investment, and then for this car coming up with something which looked like it had been put together in a garden shed over a weekend (particularly the front end aerodynamic "enhancements").

I remember reading in CAR magazine (must have been late 80s) that a company had bought up all the unused cars and was going to sell them converted as road cars: wonder how many they sold?

Not cool but sort of sadly heroic
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Quote:
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Didn't the engine end up in the Jaguar XJ220?
I thought that so checked earlier and apparently not.
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I thought that so checked earlier and apparently not.
Oh . I thought TWR were led down this route and people wanted their deposits back...


This makes a great read as ever though History : MG Metro 6R4 Group B - AROnline : AROnline
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AROnline is brill.

TWR apparently bought the rights to the 6R4 engine to use as a testbed. The 220 engine is very similar (according to some website or other).
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Uncool as this could have been a serious world beater for many years but due to BL's penny pinching on the project it just ended up being unreliable.
 
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Basically what wer saying is that it was a potentially brilliant car that came out at completely the wrong time

That in itself is seriously uncool. And so is the car
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Quote:
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Basically what wer saying is that it was a potentially brilliant car that came out at completely the wrong time

That in itself is seriously uncool. And so is the car
This is where we're at odds - I think the headlong lack of insight and the incredible over-ambitious nature of the thing, just at the point when they'd got the TR7 working, makes it supercool.
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Quote:
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Basically what wer saying is that it was a potentially brilliant car that came out at completely the wrong time

That in itself is seriously uncool. And so is the car
It would never have been competitive against mega horsepower turbo cars anyway so Group B being outlawed probably saved it some embarrassment. Lancia were pushing the envelope with multi stage forced induction, Peugeot went for finesse, Audi went for brute force and mechanical grip, Ford went for looks, Austin Rover set out to build a plucky underdog and really hit the target.
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Its a Metro

Even Alan Partridge would say its crap
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Saw one recently at National Heritage Motor Museum - they have not aged well!
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Whenever I saw one getting sideways I heard it talking in my head.


" The bells! The bells! Esmerelda!"
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Saw one recently at National Heritage Motor Museum - they have not aged well!
Always looked like it should be in Atco green paint.
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I like it.
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I think the headlong lack of insight and the incredible over-ambitious nature of the thing, just at the point when they'd got the TR7 working, makes it supercool.
That only works for whimsical, passionate-but-flawed cars where they actually get some aspect(s) right. American muscle cars, old Italian supercars, and even some British stuff but not this. It gets everything wrong. Plus it's a racecar and an unobtainable / undriveable museum piece, which makes things worse.
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It sounded brilliant

Everyone's gran had one

Heroic and inept failure is quite simply British.
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It seems a tad harsh to judge it on looks. The Delta S4 was probably the pick of the Groub B cars and it was a proper hunchback, and slightly cross-eyed with it.
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Lots of Gp B cars were brutally ugly. Some carried it off better than the 6R4 it's fair to say.
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Sub-zero - a classic "if only" car.
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I will give it cool.

The original metro was a crap car, the 6R4 wasn't the best rally car, but it was designed for a specific purpose and is still a bit of a beast.


It isn't as cool as Group B Audi Quattro's, RS200's, Lancia Delta 037's etc though.
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I was fortunate to have a go in one (albeit as passenger). One of the guys at the pistol club i used to shoot at had one, around 1990. He was a chassis fabricator for Lola. It had the Halda and all the other rally gubbins. You had to wear ear defenders in it and just over your shoulder were a bunch of whirring belts. It was a frightening bit of kit. He used to do these "Back to the future" runs in it- basically nail it and drop the clutch. I've been in some fairly quick cars but this thing was immense. The acceleration was mind blowing and it was deafening. This guy also had an RS200 (road going version) and he said the Metro was a lot quicker. He wrote the Metro off in his back garden unfortunately.

So for me i'll say cool just for the assault to the senses.
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