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  MG Metro 6R4      

  Article Image gallery (13) SAXXRWNP7A0570016 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1985 - 1986
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 04, 2021
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Click here to download printer friendly versionHaving retired the Triumph TR7 at the end of the 1980 season, British Leyland struggled to find a suitable replacement to compete in the World Rally Championship. Eventually, Williams Grand Prix Engineer was tasked to develop a brand new four-wheel-drive machine for the Group B category. Among the initial plans was a front-engined, V8-powered MG Metro based machine. This idea was shelved in favour of a silhouette racer that featured a mid-mounted V6 and four-wheel drive.

The mid-engined Metro created by Williams was known internally as the Very High Performance Derivative or 'VHPD'. The very compact machine featured a centrally mounted gearbox and transfer box that fed 35% of the power to the front wheels and the remaining 65% to the rear wheels. Suspension was through McPherson struts on all four corners. The silhouette racer was fitted with bodywork that somewhat resembled the Metro it was very loosely based on. The car featured both a front and rear wing.

When testing commenced in 1983, the new MG Metro Group B car was powered by a cut-down version of Rover's all-alloy V8 engine. This was just a stop-gap measure as a purpose built V6 being created by former Cosworth engineer David Wood. In many ways, a six-cylinder version of the Cosworth DFV V8 Formula 1 engine, the compact unit was fitted with twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder; hence the type name V64V. In full competition trim, the three-litre engine produced an impressive 410 bhp.

As a reference to the V6 engine and four-wheel drive system, the new Group B racer was dubbed the MG Metro 6R4. In order for the car to meet the homologation requirements, a run of 200 examples had to be produced. Whereas other manufacturers produced road-going homologation specials, British Leyland decided to offer the 6R4 as a toned down competition car only, which meant no type approval was required. Between August and October of 1985, the necessary 200 'Clubman' examples were built, which meant that the 6R4 could debut at the all-important home event and season finale, the Lombard RAC Rally.

It was an impressive debut as Tony Pond and Malcolm Wilson finished an impressive third overall in the company's very first Group B race. The cars were then fielded in all the European round of the World Rally Championship but with little luck. Reliability issues meant that no notable results were scored. The small team did not a chance to sort things out as the Group B class was banned from January 1st, 1987.

This left the company with a big problem as hardly any of the 200 6R4s had been sold. An exception was made for the car by the British governing body, which allowed them to compete, running a restricted 300 bhp. The cars were offered at a bargain price of GBP 16,000. This was a successful strategy as all remaining cars were sold off within ten months. In the following years, the cars were campaigned extensively in a variety of events like the European Rallycross Championship and the purpose Esso Metro Superchallenge.

Initially not very successful, the MG Metro 6R4 became a rallying legend during the following years and quite a few are still campaigned to this day.

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  Article Image gallery (13) SAXXRWNP7A0570016 Specifications