5-minute expert: MG Metro 6R4

1w ago

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Looks like a rocket! What is it?

It's the most potent a Metro has ever been — the MG Metro 6R4. Built specifically for the short-lived Group B rally series, the 6R4 was the polar opposite of the inoffensive, minuscule city car it shared its name with. With the entire development headed up by the one and only Williams Grand Prix Engineering, known at the time for their dominance in the Formula 1 scene, the car was mainly kept under tight wraps for the whole of 1984 when it was developed. It finally made its public appearance in January 1985, finishing on the podium in the very first rally it entered, the Lombard RAC rally in November of the same year.

Amazing. What could it do?

Well, as this was a car designed entirely for motorsport, this spelled bad news for the Austin Metro's four-cylinder 998cc engine, which didn't make the cut with its measly 47hp. Instead, once Williams had their hands on the car, they outfitted it with a specially-designed 3.0 litre V6, which gave the power output a huge increase- the car would now produce 250hp. However, 20 of the Metros were taken off the production line to be tuned to international rally specifications. This meant that the 20 6R4s selected could now push out over 400hp. The drivetrain changed too, to a much more suitable four-wheel drive layout, with the engine moving to the middle of the car, connected to a five-speed gearbox.

What a nutter! How about the body?

In order to save weight - essential for rallying - much of the 6R4's body swapped out steel or aluminium for fibreglass whenever possible, with the only steel components on the 6R4 being the doors and the original Metro shell. The car gained a huge rear spoiler to increase downforce, a large front splitter and a front bumper spoiler (sponsored by Computervision in case you couldn't tell), and air intakes mounted in airboxes on the doors.

Sounds great. How did it fare in the rallies?

Here's the bad news. While the 6R4 did extremely well on its first outing, that was the only podium finish the MG team would see for the season. While the 6R4 was entered into rallies from Monte Carlo to Sweden in 1986, it consistently failed to produce a result, most of the time landing a DNF due to the cars regularly breaking down during their runs. The problem was eventually discovered to be a cooling problem within the V6 engine, but by then it was too late. In the middle of the Group B rally season, the plug was pulled on the series after several fatal accidents. From then on the remaining 6R4s raced in smaller competitions, until they were withdrawn and sold on to private buyers. Many of these found great success in rally and rallycross, most notably Will Gollop, who piloted his 6R4 to victory in the FIA European Rallycross Championship in 1992.

Credit- Aarón Pérez Torres

Credit- Aarón Pérez Torres

Despite only running for a limited time, the 6R4 has proven itself to be a legend in its own right, and enjoys a strong following to this day. Another automotive legend.

And that's a wrap! Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it. I'd like to give a special thanks to Aarón Pérez Torres, who gave me a whole host of pictures to use in this piece. Give his profile a visit if you love beautiful pictures and great articles.

LW

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