14 Facts About Austin Metro


Austin Metro is a supermini car, later a city car that was produced by British Leyland and, later, the Rover Group from 1980 to 1998.

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The roots of the Austin Metro lay in an earlier project denoted as ADO88, which was intended to be a direct replacement for the Mini.

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However, by the time production of the Austin Metro began, it was decided not to include a saloon version, this niche being filled by the Mini remaining in production, and only a few of the Austin Metro's competitors were available as a saloon.

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Austin Metro chose to stage the launch presentations for dealers and major company car buyers on board a cruise ship, the MS Vistafjord.

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Austin Metro quickly proved popular with buyers, a 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer buying one of the early examples, and was regularly seen in it being hounded by the paparazzi just before her marriage to Prince Charles in July 1981.

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The Metro range was expanded in May 1982 to include the luxury Vanden Plas trim level on the Austins and higher performance MG Badged versions; the MG Metro marked a quick comeback for the marque previously used on sports cars until the Abingdon plant making the MG B closed in 1980.

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From 1989, just before the Austin Metro was replaced, three-door versions were given a raised fuel filler, this coincided with the cars being able to run on unleaded petrol due to hardened exhaust valve seats, three years before EEC regulations made it compulsory for all new cars to have a catalytic converter or fuel injection.

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Austin Metro was a huge seller in Britain, with more than 1 million being sold over a 10-year production run.

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The Austin Metro badge was removed from the cars, which continued to be manufactured with no marque badge, just a model name badge.

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New Rover Austin Metro was finally launched in May 1990, being a heavily revised version of the original Austin Metro and fitted with a new range of engines.

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Gap left by the Austin Metro as a true Rover city car was not filled until late 2003, when the Rover CityRover was launched – it was a 1.

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Austin Metro Rover withdrew from the rallying scene at the end of the season, but in 1987 all the parts and engines were sold to Tom Walkinshaw Racing, whereupon the V6 engine reappeared in the Jaguar XJ220, this time with turbochargers added.

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Austin Metro remained one of Britain's most popular cars throughout its production life, even during its final year when it was among the oldest designs on sale in the country.

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Austin Metro's popularity endured in spite of its failure to match the durability of its contemporary rivals, notably the Nissan Micra and VW Polo Mk.

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