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Ένας τυχερός αλλά και πλούσιος λάτρης των τεράτων του Group B μπορεί να γίνει ιδιοκτήτης ενός εκ των δυο αυθεντικών MG Metro 6R4 Group B Rally Car του 1985 εάν παρεβρεθεί στη δημοπρασία Goodwood Revival του οίκου Bonhams.

Το Metro 6R4 πρωτοεμφανίστηκε στο WRC το 1985 χωρίς όμως ιδιαίτερη επιτυχία. Έπαιρνε κίνηση από τον κεντρικά τοποθετημένο V6 κινητήρα 3.0-λίτρων της Cossworth ο οποίος όμως παρουσίασε αρκετά θέματα έχοντας να επιδείξει μόνο μια 3η θέση το 1985 και κανέναν ολοκληρωμένο αγώνα έως το 1986! Άλλες ευκαιρίες δε του δόθηκαν, καθώς το 1987 επήλθε η διάλυση του Group B. Παρόλα τα προβλήματα και τις αποτυχίες όμως, παραμένει ένα πολύ γρήγορο αγωνιστικό εκείνης της κατηγορίας, μηχανολογικά εξελιγμένο για την εποχή, που ο καθένας θα ήθελε να έχει στην συλλογή του.

Το αυτοκίνητο είχε σχεδιαστεί από τον Patrick Head της Williams και φοράει τον ίδιο κινητήρα που μπορούσες να τον ρυθμίσεις να αποδίδει πιο χαλαρά 250 ίππους και σε πλήρη λειτουργία 410. Το συγκεκριμένο, μετά την πολύ μικρή πορεία του, πωλήθηκε το 1977 σε έναν Αυστραλό ερασιτέχνη οδηγό αγώνων ονόματι John Potter. Ο κινητήρας αλλάχτηκε και τη θέση του πήρε ένας 3-λιτρος πάλι της Nelson Engineering Services με τον οποίο πήρε μέρος σε αρκετά ράλλυ στην Αυστραλία κερδίζοντας μάλιστα το Targa Tasmania το 1998. Αλλάζοντας ακόμα ένα ιδιοκτήτη και φτάνοντας στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο το 2012, οδεύει πλέον στην πρώτη του δημοπρασία του οίκου Bonhams τον ερχόμενο μήνα. Είναι ντυμένο με τα χρώματα και τα αυτοκόλλητα της Rothmans Rally που φορούσε το 1985 και όντας σε άριστη κατάσταση, εκτιμάται ότι θα πιάσει τιμές μεταξύ €117.000 – €140.800.

Δελτίο Τύπου

Even back in the 1980s, Austin-Rover’s Metro must have seemed an unlikely candidate for World Rally Championship honours. But although the MG-badged Metro 6R4 – like its Group B rivals from Lancia and Peugeot – bore a passing resemblance to the road car whose name it bore, beneath the skin it was an entirely different animal. Gone was the puny A-Series engine/front-wheel-drive package, replaced by a 3.0-litre, 90-degree V6 sited behind the front seats and driving all four wheels. Twin-cam cylinder heads, modelled on those of Cosworth’s Formula 1 DFV V8 engine, enabled the V64V unit to develop 250bhp in ‘Clubman’ trim, with up to 410bhp being available in full works tune.

Designed by Patrick Head of Williams Grand Prix Engineering, the mid-engined chassis, needless to say, owed almost nothing to that of the standard Metro. In the course of development a host of aerodynamic and other appendages were grafted on to the basic Metro bodyshell, resulting in an end product that looked… well, ‘purposeful’ was about the kindest description.

Group B regulations required a minimum build of 200 cars, the first of which was completed in mid-1985 and the last in November of that year. When Group B was axed by the FIA, Austin-Rover disposed of the reputedly 120-or-so cars left unsold, warning purchasers that the Metro 6R4 was ‘not intended for domestic, casual, business or other motoring on the pubic highway…’

Sadly, the works Computervision-sponsored 6R4’s debut performance, when Tony Pond drove one to 3rd place in the ’85 RAC Rally behind a brace of Lancia Delta S4s, would prove to be its most successful. However, after the works team’s withdrawal from World Championship rallying, the 6R4 found its true métier – Rallycross – a sport it would continue to excel at well into the 1990s. This Metro 6R4 was driven in period by Haymarket Publishing’s Simon Taylor and David Power, who shared the car in hill climb events at famous venues such as Shelsley Walsh, Prescott, and Gurston. The car was prepared by Power’s company, Power Engineering.

In May 1987, Power drove the Metro at an event at Prescott, following which it was considered necessary to replace the front wings; the car’s front end was then upgraded with a set of very rare, and much sought after, inner front wings. Constructed in aluminium with honeycomb reinforcement, these ‘evolution’ wings were bonded and bolted to the bodyshell. These wings had been built prior to the San Remo Rally of 1986, and had been fitted to the cars driven in that event by Tony Pond and Malcolm Wilson. It is believed they were removed prior to the RAC Rally of 1986 and subsequently purchased by David Power from the works stores at Cowley. These wings are still on the car today.

In March 1997, the Metro was sold to John Potter in Australia, who further up-rated it with a twin-plenum, 3.0-litre, International Specification engine from specialists Nelson Engineering Services. The car retains a factory ‘dog’ gearbox and is fitted with power steering. Only ever driven on tarmac events, it remains in superb condition and is also extremely competitive, as evidenced by a class win in the 1998 Targa Tasmania. After that event, the Metro was sold to Garry Cliff in New Zealand. It returned to the UK in 2012. Accompanying documentation consists of sundry bills, a V5C Registration Certificate, and current MoT.

According to an article in Autosport in 1992, this car is built on an ex-works shell; however, this information is not verified, and is believed to relate to the car’s ‘San Remo’ front end. Prospective purchasers are advised to satisfy themselves with regard to the car’s specification prior to bidding.