gshaw's R100

Our very own website admin's R100 is well known by our forum regulars, here's its story on the eve of a special birthday...

gshaw car school project with metroGrowing up I spent a lot of time around Metros as my dad had a succession of them, mainly because they tended to be the cheapest car in the newspaper classified ads (!) I remember a brown Mk1, a couple of red Mk2 1.0L and a mint Mk2 Auto in Opaline Green, all with various motor factor accessories and aftermarket stereos being added on which seemed a lot of fun.

After spending that much time around these little go-karts there was no doubt in my mind what I wanted for my first car, completely bucking the trend of most other people my age who went for the more standard route of Fiestas and Corsas.

At the time finding a decent used Metro proved way more of a challenge than I first thought it would. With an initial budget of £500 in 2004 finding good examples locally wasn't going well. I nearly ended up with a Mk3 GTa but that failed its MOT just before potential purchase, followed by a visit to an SLi where the rear arch fell off in my hand whilst inspecting it at the dealer!

Then one morning before A-level classes started I fired up Autotrader on a school PC hoping something may have popped up since the previous night and there it was...

gshaw autotrader ad

Just about perfect! In my favourite colour, a dealer rather than private seller and only 1 mile away... it was surely meant to be. I called home to tell my parents about it but didn't hold out much hope given it was well over budget. Imagine how happy I was later on when I heard they'd gone and bought it during the day :)

The power of persuasion from my grandparents also helped knocked a bit off the price so a week later we brought the car home at a cool £1295 and started 13 years (and counting) of Metro-obsession. After a few hairy moments during my L-plate days I passed my test in 2005 and the fun could really begin.

The early days

Some of my early design choices such as white grille, red seat covers and drilling a phone holder into the dash (ouch) may not have got many votes for taste but the bug was well and truly planted once I discovered Metropower randomly via Google. I remember being amazed to find that I wasn't the only person crazy enough to want to "do the unthinkable... modify a Metro".

A set of 5-spoke alloys along with GTi skirts and spoiler became a goal to aspire to, but without many contacts or knowledge of where the good scrapyards were parts were proving difficult to find, especially as eBay was pretty primitive back then, as clearly were my Photoshop skills (OK it was MS Paint!)

gshaw vmod

The front foglights were fitted fairly soon after with the help of my dad and became a signature look for the car for the next seven years (more on that later) Eventually a year or two later after much ringing around the Yellow Pages (remember them?) we found a breakers in North London who had a set of Metro alloys in stock. They were in definite need of TLC but I didn't mind, back to the Yellow Pages to find a wheel refurb company! The nodding cat can still be found in the car to this day, although now on the rear parcel shelf rather than flying off the dash. The retro looking volt meter in the centre console had moved from one Metro to another in my dad's cars so it was always going to find a home in mine.

gshaw-alloys  gshaw old interior DSCF0613

Decisions decisions \ money money money!

After a couple of years of regular use started to notice the car getting a bit rough around the edges; rust was breaking through on the rear arch, a careless driver had hit the rear quarter panel and scraped down the passenger door and a poorly done home repair on the rear bumper had caused a paint reaction. I had a feeling if I kept using the car as my daily driver it wouldn't stand the test of time. With more cash to hand I bought a Ford Focus to take the strain and decided to put money into getting the R100 mint. I remember being at a classic car show looking at the quality of the exhibits and at that moment I knew I had a new goal to achieve... show standard.

New parts started to be found... a spoiler brought back from a weekend trip to the seaside, half leather Coupe seats found at a small breakers behind some stables, a replacement door kindly donated by a member of Metropower... the list went on. One day after a set of GTi sideskirts arrived in the post I'd finally realised my initial goal and made the MS Paint vision come to life. 

The Coupe seats also brought with them another family tie to the car's history; the rear seat being custom trimmed by my grandad using 214SEi seat material. He's sadly no longer with us but every time someone spots the rear seat in a show and asks how it was made it makes me proud to see someone admiring his creation.

gshaw coupe seats

The next big moment came in 2010 when the car went into a professional bodyshop for some serious work. What started out as an arch replacement ended up being half a respray - the full passenger side of the car plus a new rear bumper (old one damaged by a cat sitting on it while off the car!) plus fully colour-coded rear spoiler. The cost, over £1000 but worth every penny when I got the car back after a long couple of weeks away.

gshaw bodyshop photos

Around the same time my local Rover parts supplier closed down and were selling off their stock on the cheap, amongst the sale items was a full set of N.O.S. 5-spoke alloys. A cheeky offer of £70 sealed the deal, although a brand new set of tyres plus fitting soon added some more digits to the bill! Thanks to the electrical wizardry of a fellow Metro fanatic by this point the car had also gained electric windows, MG TF electric mirrors and a neatly wired in audio install (fixing some of my youthful bodges that I shudder to recall doing now!).

The interior had come on leaps and bounds with black carpet, GTi doocards and a N.O.S. TF leather steering wheel completing the look. After extensive sound proofing the cabin became much quieter inside and as a result feels more upmarket on longer trips.

gshaw 2011 side view  gshaw new alloys  

Showtime!

In 2012 I decided to attend my first Pride of Longbridge event and set myself another ambitious list of jobs to do before the big day. A custom front bumper with foglight mounts was sprayed and fitted (something I'd had my eye on for the best part of 5 years on the forum before I got my hands on it!), lowering and some black mesh to finish off the new front end look. PoL was a great day out and in the years to follow the 'tro even managed to bring back an MG ZR front door, which wouldn't fit in cars twice its size!

gshaw new front bumper

More shows followed and the 'tro started bringing home the plaudits, the highlight so far being MG Saloon Day 2013 where it won best modified Rover and a nice goody bag full of Meguiars products. After the respray in 2010 I caught the detailing bug; the car now has more products to keep it looking good than I do but trying to always go one better and beat last year's shine makes the effort worthwhile.

Changes are smaller and more subtle now the big ticket items have been done; chrome door handles, headlight protectors (made in Australia) and leather trimmed handbrake handle being the more recent upgrades.

mgsd 2013 DSC 0138

The last year or so threw up a few age-related challenges; the head gasket decided to let go a few days before PoL 2015 and an over-enthusiastic MOT tester poked a hole in the passenger side footwell. Both sorted with fairly minimal fuss and in the engine's case a full service and new radiator to boot. As a result the little 1.1 K-Series runs smoother than it ever has - it would be a travesty to change it so I'm happy to let the VVCs power past and enjoy the view.

21 years young

When clearing out some old plastic trim parts (now replaced with the darker ash grey variant) I noticed some stickers and pressings in the mould. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be the car's build date so I was very glad I spotted it in time! In my case the sticker was on the back of the rear quarter panel interior trim. You may also find some build info on the back of the glove box, however my original one was swapped out some time back and I'm not sure which is which now!

gshaw build date sticker

With the car's birthday being this Saturday and a new Metropower site to feature it on now seemed the perfect time to do a write-up on the journey from first car to show car. To celebrate I've managed to find the original 1996-7 sales brochures & materials then created my own spec sheets in the same style... those Photoshop skills have come a long way too!

gshaw exterior brochure     gshaw interior brochure

Future plans are for a full professional detailing session then fitting the pile of parts I've been buying up recently; front \ rear anti-roll bars, stainless steel exhaust system and some engine bay bling so opening the bonnet ends up as spotless as the exterior :)

After over a decade and I-dread-to-wonder-how-much money later the car is now getting noticed more and more when taking it out, often prompting cheery "I had one of those!" discussions and glances from other drivers - I wouldn't change it for the world!

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 13:36
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