The MG Metro 6R4—named after its six cylinders, rally purpose, and four-wheel drive—may be the ugliest Group B rally car ever, but it’s also incredibly soulful and it sounds incredible. One with only seven miles on its odometer is going up for auction in July, and my god is it a gorgeous example of racing hideousness.
The 6R4 is based on the MG Metro, a hilariously conservatively-styled hatchback built by British Leyland in the 1980s. To rally-ify it, the Austin-Rover rally team added massive wheel flares, a giant wing on the front fascia, another giant wing on the rear hatch, and huge side intakes.
Those intakes fed a mid-mounted, naturally aspirated, 3.0-liter, four-valve-per-cylinder V6 engine called “V64V,” which—per 6R4.net—sent either 250 or ~410 horsepower (depending on whether it had a “Clubman” tune or an “International” tune) to all four wheels.
The stock MG Metro, by comparison, had the motor up front, just above the drive wheels. Between the powertrain and styling differences, it’s pretty obvious that the 6R4 is a hell of a long way from a standard Metro, even if they share a place in the Grand Hall of Hideous Machinery.
An enthusiast bought the car in these pictures—number 189 of the 200 homologation specials built, and one whose engine appears to be the 250 horsepower “Clubman” model—back in 1986 from Austin Rover Group Ltd. He then kept the car “tucked away for many years in its delivery state, coated in factory wax,” according to Silverstone Auctions’ press release.
For seven years, the car was part of an exhibition at a museum, until in 2002, it was sold to the current vendor, who has owned it for the past 17 years. In that time, he’s only “driven” the car for two miles on jack-stands, presumably to circulate fluid through the drivetrain. The current odometer figure reads “seven.”
There’s quite a bit of unpainted fiberglass on this 1985 MG Metro 6R4, and I think that just adds to the vehicle’s gloriously ugly allure.
The machine, whose history and tech you can read more about in my coworker Raphael Orlove’s excellent article, hits the auction block at the Silverstone Classic Auctions sale. That event will go down on the 27th and 28th of July at the Silverstone Circuit in the most British sounding place on earth: Northamptonshire.