With the arrival of each new Chinese MG, we at AutoWeek rub our hands over the rich history of the illustrious, once British brand. Because now that brand name is on EVs that really have nothing to do with the sports car brand of yesteryear, but in the 1980s the letters appeared at random on fairly normal Austins. Such as in 1982 on the MG Metro, an Austin Metro for which the company made a splash.
The brochure that British Leyland Netherlands (from Gouda, clearly visible from the A12 at the time) made about the MG Metro, already mentions the shine and glory of the sports car brand in the first paragraph: “The successes that have been achieved in rallies and car races over many years achieved confirm the fact that only a very special car can bear the famous name MG. With the MG Metro you have such a car.” Well, scientists in 1982 did not agree at all about that. The authenticity of the refurbished Metrootje was even seriously questioned in the press.
Supercharged Austin Metro
Was this a purebred MG? No. The good little hatchback that went through life without make-up as Austin, needed a bit more than a handful of accessories. The machinery had been upgraded slightly (from 63 to 72 hp), but it still involved the then very old A-series engine. Yes, the 1275 engine that mobilized 76 horses in the immortal Mini Cooper S in 1964. No changes were made to the chassis, while it was technically impossible to give the car a fifth gear.
Lots of accessories
To turn the Metro into an MG, British Leyland only dug into the dressing up box, in which it found items such as MG badges, alloy wheels, mud flaps (!), a rear spoiler, striping (‘attractive decorative lines on the sides and rear door ‘) and red lines on the grille. It must be said: it immediately made the Metro, especially in black, much more attractive. The interior was upgraded with a sports steering wheel, more elegant upholstery and ‘sporty red’ seat belts. That’s all very nice, but for that we had to come up with just under 19,000 guilders. A lot of money for a Metro (which was available from 13 grand), but it was also the price level of the Peugeot 104 ZS and Renault 5 TS; the Alpine was much more expensive, as was the Fiesta XR2. Viewed this way, the MG Metro really had a right to exist. The thing just should have been much faster. And exactly that happened a year later, when the MG Metro Turbo arrived. With 93 hp still not a big deal, but exactly as much as in the MGB that died in 1980. We wipe away a tear.
– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl