There are some cars that you could never imagine finding a home on the race track or churning through the challenging mud of a rally stage. One such car is the humble Austin Metro. Launched in 1980 as an alternative to the ever popular Mini, the Metro was a simple, cheap hatchback with a modest 1 litre engine. Over time, the Metro range expanded and various ‘hot’ versions were launched with more powerful 1.3 litre engines and a top speed of 105mph.
When it was decided to take the Metro rallying however, everything changed. Created to take part in the infamous Group B rally class, where hugely powerful 4WD turbo cars battled it out, the 6R4 bore only the slightest resemblance to the Metro. Huge bulging bodywork was fitted to the small road car body, housing a 4Wd system and a powerful 3 litre V6, located not under the bonnet but in centre of the car where the passenger seats had previous been. The body was almost entirely made out of plastic to keep the weight down, and giant wings on the front and rear kept the car on the road.
Unfortunately, despite it’s dramatic looks, the Metro 6R4 was not a successful rally car. On the it’s first rally, Tony Pond managed to bring the car home in third, but for the rest of the season the car failed to finish any of the rallies it was entered in. However, when the team withdrew from rallying, the parts were sold to Tom Walkinshaw Racing who developed the mighty XJ220 supercar using the same engine. Group B cars are firm favorites among rally fans, and the Metro 6R4 is still a popular site at classic race and rally events