1985 AUSTIN METRO VAN­DEN PLAS

EN­GINE 1275cc/4-cyl/OHV POWER 60bhp@5250rpm TORQUE 69lb ft@3200rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 92mph 0-60MPH 19sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 24-28mpg TRANS­MIS­SION FWD, four-speed au­to­matic MoT March 2018 ODOME­TER 28,026 miles

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling - Chris Hope

De­spite the lim­ited power avail­able, sapped fur­ther as a re­sult of the A-se­ries en­gine be­ing mated to a slush ‘box, this Metro is sur­pris­ingly sprightly. It does re­quire a heavy right foot to in­spire kick­downs, but ac­tual tran­si­tions up and down the ra­tios are re­mark­ably slick. The en­gine it­self starts easily, even with­out choke, and idles with­out any un­even­ness. En­cour­ag­ingly a check in the rear mir­ror is free of any blue smoke. Steer­ing is weighty for park­ing ma­noeu­vres but much nicer at speed; cru­cially there’s zero slack. The drum brakes aren’t that sharp, but they don’t screech or jud­der ei­ther. They do though be­gin to bite as soon as you press the pedal and, with some gen­er­ous force, pull the Metro up straight and clean.

BODY­WORK CHECK

This is no time-warp car, but it has been used spar­ingly and care­fully pre­served. As such, body flaws are min­i­mal, with paint touch-up marks on the bon­net and some very mi­nor cor­ro­sion around the fuel filler cap the most ob­vi­ous. There’s barely a speck of rust any­where else – even the sun­roof is fine. The sil­ver coat­ing from the side rub­bing strips is cracked and brit­tle in places, how­ever.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

Out­side, it looks like a posh Metro. In­side, it echoes the styling of pre­vi­ous Van­den Plas mod­els such as the Princess 1100/1300. There’s no leather and no pic­nic ta­bles, but the wood ve­neer, brown plas­tic and choco­late velour does make this Metro feel spe­cial. The head­lin­ing is taut, the square pat­tern stitch­ing on the seats hasn’t frayed and the seats them­selves re­tain the sculp­tured look with which they would have left the show­room. The elec­tric front win­dows still work as Austin-Rover in­tended, as do the fac­tory-fit­ted stereo ra­dio/cas­sette player and the nifty dig­i­tal clock mounted in the head­lin­ing. Even the floor well mats are in­tact. It’s not per­fect, mind – the pas­sen­ger door­card isn’t quite se­cured in place and the chirrup­ing it emits on the move will en­cour­age the next owner to sort this mi­nor is­sue sooner rather than later.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

Lift­ing the bon­net backs up im­pres­sions that this is a car that has been well main­tained, the crust-free in­ner wings and bulk­head be­ing tes­ta­ment to this Metro’s pam­pered life. The lev­els are all cor­rect (it’s just been ser­viced) while the hoses and pipework all look fine. There are no leaks to speak of and be­ing an A-Se­ries, the en­gine should be a doddle to look af­ter your­self.

THE CCW VIEW

This is ideal for any­one or look­ing for some­thing small, but com­fort­able and easy to drive. The ven­dor says that it has been dry stored for the past four years. If it has then it’s been suc­cess­fully recom­mis­sioned for the road.

EX­TE­RIOR Stun­ning paint Al­most no rot IN­TE­RIOR Orig­i­nal, good con­di­tion Very much of its era ME­CHAN­I­CALS Suc­cess­fully recom­mis­sioned for the road

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