AUSTIN METRO (1980-1990)
Designed to replace the Mini, the Metro (initially badged miniMetro) was launched in 1980. Ultimately sitting above the Mini but below the outgoing Allegro in price and stature, the Metro was offered in a variety of trims and with either 998 or 1275 A-Series engines. Priced keenly, the £3995 mid-range 1.3S was cheaper than any similarly-equipped competitors.
Despite selling 1.5 million units, the Metro’s below-average build quality and the aged Mini-derived underpinnings meant buyers flocked to better-built Fiestas and Polos and Metro values tumbled to around £2000 within six years. These numbers kept sliding and age did little to help their survival. A late-life reinvention as the Rover Metro with K-Series power gave it a new lease of life but the Metro died before the Mini it was designed to replace. Their commonality and rusty habits suppressed values, the Mini and Minor more appealing classics. Today, Leyland's popularity growth has seen a Metro resurgence and with numbers at an all-time low, the survivors are smart, enthusiast-owned cars. A Metro represents a cheap starter classic and fans are loyal. From sub£1000 a decade ago, you’ll now need triple that for smart 1.3s. After years of neglect, the Metro is a loved classic.
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