CAR OF 1980 AUSTIN MINI METRO
I could have picked the Ford Escort MkIII, but I chose the Metro for its psychological and, indeed, emotional impact. Even if, like me, you were still at junior school at that time, it was difficult not to be aware of the importance of BL’s new supermini.
This was a time when the state-owned carmaker was both national news – every BBC bulletin seemed to have Richard Baker intoning the words ‘Leyland’ and ‘picket’ – and regular joke fodder about build quality.
Yes, from a 2017 vantage point, the TV advertising campaign with a phalanx of Metros defending the nation from flotillas of overseas-built hatchbacks looks frankly ludicrous but the ‘British Car to Beat The World’ was very well-received. As Car magazine noted – ‘the Metro has taken a very big step towards widening the acceptability of the small car.’