Saturday, May 21, 2016

MG Metro 6R4: quite the little bomb

I managed to find a model kit, from Profil 24, of one of the most outrageous little rallye cars ever built, the MG Metro 6R4. The street version of the Metro was allegedly the successor to the original Mini but turned out to be one of the biggest pieces of crap ever perpetrated on the automobile-buying public. However, shoving a 4-cam V6 into the trunk, and tacking on huge fenders, air intakes and spoilers made it into a proper little monster: 

Watching people standing around as these things get airborne over a rise, i.e. completely out of control, is frightening. Let’s hear it for opposite lock and throttle-induced oversteer! It’s hard to imagine the wings and associated aero bits doing any good given the relatively low speeds. More here:
I recall hearing a rumour years ago that the 3-litre V6 was later inserted (in 3.5 litre, turbocharged form) into the Jaguar XJ220, a rumour hotly denied by Jaguar. An MG motor in a Jag? A scurrilous allegation undeserving of attention, you contemptuous little scalawag. Jag claims the XJ220 motor came from the XJR 11 Le Mans car, which I don't doubt, but where did the Le Mans engine come from? (The XJR 9 had a 7.0 V12 based on the old Series 3 E-Type motor, and did well enough, but eventually they needed something more modern). To the best of my recollection, the British Leyland empire had no experience with V6 motors, especially not 90 degree V6s based on Cosworth DFV architecture, and it seems unlikely to me that they would have gone out and designed two such motors from the ground up. There is lots of room for conspiracy theories here; to help muddy the waters and add fuel to the fire, I also have Tamiya's kit of the XJ220 and perhaps I will assemble both motors simultaneously, looking for differences and/or similarities which I will duly report here.
I’ve got a series of kits of these monster little Group B cars and will get around to building them at some point. I’m really only missing a Renault Turbo 5; I passed on a curbside kit of the Turbo 5 by Heller a number of years ago when in Toulouse on business, because it had no engine detail; I am still kicking myself today. The Peugeot 205 in the photos is a Tamiya kit which I completed some time ago, and the others are described in earlier blog posts.
The MG is  a resin kit and my success rate so far with these is poor, so don’t expect any progress in a hurry; I picked it up because it was the one of the last ones they had and if I had waited it would have been gone by the time I was ready for it.
So another project for retirement, which will apparently be busy: including a Cheetah which is on order from Historic Racing Miniatures, I now have exactly 100 kits which are either not started (84) or partially complete (16), with another 54 completed and in the display case.
The complete rally collection:
Alpine A110
Lancia Stratos
Morris Mini Cooper
Peugeot 205 Group B
Not started or incomplete:
Audi S1 Group B
Ford Falcon Sprint
Lancia Delta S4 Group B
MG Metro 6R4 Group B
Peugeot 206 Group B
Talbot-Sunbeam Lotus Group B
Toyota Celica Twin-Cam Turbo Group B