Jason's 1983 MK1 MG Metro - In Australia!

Whilst Jason's Metropower journey only began recently, he has been into British cars and Metros for much longer. Here's the story of his awesome black MK1 MG Metro from 1983, which at some point made its way to the opposite end of the world, in Australia! With three Metros including a MK3 Rover VVC in the workshop, Jason is clearly a Metro nut!

''This all started with an email from a friend saying “This would be a cool little runabout”..with a link to a “gumtree” ad. My name is Jason Birmingham & I live just north of Sydney, Australia. The Metro never officially came to Australia in any form, so here, the Metro is a very rare beast indeed. This particular car was located in Tasmania 1600klm & an overnight ferry trip to the south. A plane flight to Tasmania & a road trip home seemed doable. I would like to say that it was an easy trip home, but an old car, with little or no mileage on it in the last 3 years, Hydragas units with no gas left (hydragasless!) & ancient tyres made for a slow, VERY uncomfortable & anxious trip home. The oil pressure switch center blew out, spraying engine oil everywhere, two tyres expired & I broke the seat mounts off the floor with the bone jarring ride home…. But I DID make it home... testament to the toughness & durability of these little cars

It was meant to be a “Tidy up & put it on the road” job, but one thing led to another & it ended up as something else. The suspension was the first thing to attend to. Firstly, I am a fan of Hydragas, that was one of the things that attracted me to the car in the first place, but the MK 1 & 2 metro were compromised (in my view) by the individualised Hydragas units. Well, mine received a bit of a re-vamp, with MK3/4 interconnected Hydragas units & piping. I “re-gassed” the used MK3 units (Ebay) & fitted the interconnecting pipework from the MK3. I had to mess about with the length of the hydragas connecting rods to achieve the right front to rear balance, but it all turned out lovely. I removed the front & rear shock absorbers to achieve an awesome smooth soft ride (I’m old okay!). A rear sway bar tidied up the body roll. Also replaced were all the suspension knuckles, upper ball joints, lower control arm inner & outer bushes, and front & rear sway bar bushes. The steering rack was also replaced with a new old stock unit, along with a new steering coupling & upper steering column bush...So it got a good going over.

I was unhappy with the performance of the standard A+ engine. I felt that it didn’t really feel as lively as it should.. It was a “bit of a dog” we’d say in Australia. It seemed healthy enough, excellent compression, no rattles,“bugger all” oil consumption etc etc, it just felt lazy... Well after a lot of thought, I decided to go the Turbo route. This is a big story on it’s own, here's the spec so far.''

 Engine

  • Garrett T15-45 water cooled turbo on a custom made exhaust manifold.
  • Induction is via a GM throttle body injection unit adapted to the original intake manifold & controlled by a Megasquirt 2 control unit.
  • Ignition is by a Ford EDIS4 ignition system, controlled by the Megasquirt 2.
  • Intercooler is a hybrid Air to water intercooler .
  • The standard A+ cylinder head had the combustion chambers enlarged to 26cc to reduce compression ratio.
  • The pistons had 1mm removed off the top & dish to lower compression ratio (cylinders bored 0.5mm oversize)
  • Cometic head gasket of 1.5mm, + ARP head studs (to lower compression ratio)
  • The main & big end bearings are all standard sizes, but replaced.
  • The camshaft was worn, so a low mileage A+ unit was sourced, with new cam followers, timing chain & tensioner.
  • All rotating/reciprocating engine parts were balanced.
  • The exhaust is a 2” straight through system, with a 16” long glass packed resonator up front, & a 16 “ twin chamber fibreglass rear muffler (quiet with a nice note)

  Gearbox

  • The gearbox was smooth & quiet, with nice quick synchromesh, so I decided to leave this alone until it explodes (shouldn’t be long now!).
  • I replaced the crownwheel & pinion to a 3.1 final drive to give me more relaxed highway motoring. The motor has plenty of torque to pull that ratio.
  • I also changed the diff to a 4 pinion cross pin diff. I replaced the primary gear bushes whilst I was at it.
  • The clutch is new, but standard. It will be replaced with a Metro turbo clutch, as the standard one is barely adequate & I want to up the boost level.

 Suspension, brakes and steering

  • The brakes are upgraded to Metro turbo ventilated units.
  • EBC “black stuff” brake pads, I dont like these though, as they are really dirty (maybe that’s why they call them “black stuff”) & they squeal like crazy. 

Exterior

  • Falcon 165/60/12 tyres.
  • LED headlamp conversion.
  • John Brown wheels (Dunlop replicas)

 Interior

  • The standard front seats have been retrimmed in a similar herringbone pattern to original.
  • Alpine head unit.
  • Rockford Fosgate Power series 4” front speakers in original position.
  • Rockford Fosgate power series rear speakers in MK2 rear shelf mounts.
  • JBL under seat sub woofer. 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 10:04
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