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
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.
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