Great little cars. Much maligned now, but worth remembering that even in its final gasp, as the Rover 100, it was still selling well (until that Euro NCAP test... but then it was a very old design by that point). I was recently reading some period roadtests of the K Series versions since they were being tested against the Peugeot 106 (my current commuting car is a Y reg 106 1.1) amongst other rivals, and it was well thought of by the testers, especially for the handling. I also recall the GTi versions being considered a very decent hot hatch back at the end of the '90s. I just guess that as with many BL, Austin Rover and Rover Group cars, they just didn't garner the cult followings of many of their rivals & thus aren't remembered as fondly despite being just as capable.
Got fond memories of my old MG Metro (which still exists in one of Dad's sheds waiting for me to have time to get it going again and fix the rust!).
We were a bit of a BL family (Dad's pals ran an Austin-Morris garage) so at one time we had 3 Metros on the drive - my MG, sister's 1.0L, and Mum's 1.3 HLS which she later swapped for a 5 door Vanden Plas. Dad needed something bigger with a towbar so he had the 2.0 Si Montego, which I had later until it became too crusty to be viable.
Nice article. They were a throwaway car for so long, I myself am guilty of stripping an MG Metro of its vitals for my Mini, they have either rotted away or been raced in high enough numbers to make the remaining few a great alternative to a classic mini now that prices have gone lunar. I drove quite afew when I worked at a Rover Garage and they vary so much from car to car, but a good one is great, so I can imagine a sorted one is a right hoot.
I've been using a 114 GSi as a daily for 11 months and 18000 miles and it's been brilliant, like driving a little go kart, it always put a smile on my face. I've sold it this evening and I was sorry to see it go but the sorrow is helped my the new daily a 118 Vi, just as much fun and twice the horsepower.
My friend once bought a Wood and Pickett Laser Metro (a previous owner was 70s singer Lynsey De Paul) only to find it was rather rotten and beyond his ability and storage at the time. It was broken for spares (He still has that sumptuous interior somewhere). That whole interior was ridiculously luxurious - it's no surprise they didn't sell many as the man hours that must have gone into making it must have been HUGE.
Nothing points at bad engineering more than creases in Gaffa Tape.
My favourites will always be a modded Turbo and of course the 6R4.
Yes, they were built badly. The handling was good for the time, but I do remember my 106 GTI (unfair comparison possibly) and my 306 Meridian DTurbo being better in the twisties, which a racer friend at the time put down to the hacked down subframes when compared to the full structures used on a Mini.
I do occasionally fancy a 118VVC while they are relatively cheap.
I had a 1989 Metro Clubman, until some tool tried to steal it (and failed) but managed to destroy the drivers door and steering column in the process.
It was an auto, so it was glacially slow but wasn't entirely uneconomical and it was unbelievably quiet, lazy and comfy to drive for such a small car. I knew plenty of people who had them when we were teenagers too or learnt to drive in them. Recently I saw a very early Metro in a supermarket car park and thought what a nice, clean and uncluttered design it was.
Much maligned but not really deserving of it, aside of the usual BL build quality issues.