History hasn’t been particularly kind to the Austin Metro, although this was the most critical British Leyland products of its era. Not least, it provided the transport for Margaret Thatcher to the 1980 International Motor Show in Brimingham, where it proved both a stellar attraction and the harbinger of a happier future for Leyland.
The name Metro was chosen from a ballot of the factory workers, and the early versions bore the ‘Mini’ prefix; partially through an agreement with Metro-Cammell but also to evoke an association with the classic Alec Issigonis design.
Management informed the Launch Planning and Special Events team of the Austin-Morris division that the Metro was to be its direct replacement. In reality, the 1959 vehicle that virtually redefined mass-motoring would be sold until 2000 – alongside the car it was supposed to replace.
BL let it be known that the development costs of its new hatchback