The British car industry started planning a successor to the Mini success story already in the early 1970s. Modern and boxy designed small cars such as the Fiat 127 and Renault 2, had already encouraged also the Germans to produce small cars such as the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo.
The Austin Metro was introduced in 1980 and was produced also both as MG and Rover until 1998, with minor updates. The car’s recipe borrowed a lot from its predecessor Mini: A-series BMC engine and four-speed gearbox. Like a Mini, there was plenty of space inside with minor exterior dimensions, and the driver’s driving position was snug and upright, with the steering wheel in an almost horizontal position. The Metro was quieter than the Mini and the driving characteristics were good.
The Metro was particularly successful in its home country, where it was the best-selling small passenger car for several years. Princess Diana was also seen behind the wheel of a modern small car. Elsewhere, sales were modest, and over time, reliability and rust problems also became the fate of Metros sold in Great Britain.
The Metro is perhaps best remembered for the 1985 Lombard RAC Rally, where the naturally aspirated 6R4 Metro designed for Group B, driven by Tony Pond, finished third behind the superior Lancia Delta S4s.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the top of the models designed for civilian use was the Metro GTi, which was sold in Europe under the model name Rover 114 GTi. The car had experienced a real leap from its original stock car. The GTi model was equipped with Rover’s K-series four-cylinder petrol engine: 95 horsepower, 16 valves, two overhead camshafts. Equipped with a sporty chassis, precise steering and sports seats, the model challenged the Peugeot 205 GTi, Ford Fiesta Xr2 MKIII and VW Polo GTi, among others.
As expected, Rover’s expensive and especially old-fashioned GTi model remained a rarity in terms of sales compared to its more modern racing siblings. However, the small car’s driving characteristics were appreciated, and the car even had its own competition series in Britain, the Metro GTi Cup.
This 1991 Rover 114 GTi has been sold new in Madrid, Spain to a lady named Laura Gomez on June 7, 1991. The car was brought to Finland by British car enthusiast J. Ellenberg in 2019. The car has remained in its exceptionally good and original condition and has only been driven about 39 000 kilometers. All Rover’s original manuals and the original service book with stamps are kept.
The car has also been serviced in Finland and it has had new front sub frame under the engine because original was dented, adjusted wheel angles and new clutch cable and semislick tires. In December 2023, the car’s clutch master cylinder was renewed and the oils and filters were changed.
The Rover runs great and is a really fun little hot hatchback to drive. Mot/Tüv inspected in January 2024, valid until 01/2025.
The car is located in Luhtaanmäki, Vantaa, views by appointment only.