Rare MG Metro 6R4 rally car sells for a record £425,500

If someone told you they'd sold a 40-year-old Mini Metro at the weekend, you'd probably expect them to say it went for £425. But this one has changed hands for a thousand times that figure.

That's because this is not just any Metro.

The one in question is an MG Metro 6R4 rally icon; one of the most extreme racing cars produced during the fearsome Group B era of 1980s motorsport and one of just nine works-team vehicles.

Registration C870 EUD sold for a whopping £425,500 at auction in Sywell, Northamptonshire on Saturday, which is a new world record for this extremely rare model.

Not just any Mini Metro: This is a one-of-nine factory MG Metro 6R4s built for the 1986 Group B World Rally Championship - and one that competed in one of the more fateful races of the ferocious 1980s era

Not just any Mini Metro: This is a one-of-nine factory MG Metro 6R4s built for the 1986 Group B World Rally Championship - and one that competed in one of the more fateful races of the ferocious 1980s era

The stunning rally car was sold by Iconic Auctioneers to become the priciest example to change hands in history.

The MG Metro 6R4 was designed in 1985 in partnership with the Williams F1 team, with just 20 'Evolution' competition cars built along with 200 detuned road versions - which were required as part of regulations for the 6R4 to qualify to take part in Group B.

Of the 20 race machines, just nine were used by the official works team - with chassis 207 one of these very cars built to 'ultimate tarmac specification'.

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It campaigned in the 1986 World Rally Championship season, which would become the most disastrous of all and ultimately spell the end for the unrestricted racing series.

The car is still finished in the factory 'Computer Vision' livery, as it had been when it debuted at the '86 Monte Carlo Rally piloted by the late Tony Pond and co-driver, Rob Arthur.

It would go on to make only one other - fateful - works appearance after.

Registration C870 EUD sold for a whopping £425,500 at auction in Sywell, Northamptonshire on Saturday, which is a new world record for this extremely rare model

Registration C870 EUD sold for a whopping £425,500 at auction in Sywell, Northamptonshire on Saturday, which is a new world record for this extremely rare model

The MG Metro 6R4 was designed in 1985 in partnership with the Williams F1 team, with just 20 'Evolution' competition cars built along with 200 detuned road versions. Of the 20 race machines, just nine were used by the official works team - with chassis 207 one of these

The MG Metro 6R4 was designed in 1985 in partnership with the Williams F1 team, with just 20 'Evolution' competition cars built along with 200 detuned road versions. Of the 20 race machines, just nine were used by the official works team - with chassis 207 one of these

The 6R4 has been preserved in full period specification for its entire life, which partly explains the eye-watering auction sale

The 6R4 has been preserved in full period specification for its entire life, which partly explains the eye-watering auction sale

With the exception of being used on two demonstration events by the vendor and owner for the last 22 years, it appears to have only been driven four times since its m

With the exception of being used on two demonstration events by the vendor and owner for the last 22 years, it appears to have only been driven four times since its comeptition retirement. Much of the last two decades had been spent on display at the Williams F1 Museum

Iconic Auctioneers says it has 'been informed' that the car has never been crashed, despite being raced by privateers in rallycross events after it was sold by the factory team.

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The 6R4 has been preserved in full period specification for its entire life, which partly explains the eye-watering auction sale.

With the exception of being used on two demonstration events by the vendor and owner for the last 22 years, it appears to have only been driven four times since its competition retirement.

Much of the last two decades had been spent on display at the Williams F1 Museum.

The auction house said: 'Enjoying the distinction of having been a Works Group B car at two WRC events including Monte Carlo, coupled with the fact that it remains in the very latest specification as developed in period means that, in our opinion, C870 EUD is undoubtedly one of the best examples currently available.

'Its exceptional originality and full ownership history represented an unrepeatable opportunity for collectors.'

Power is delivered by a 410bhp turbocharged V6 Rover engine located directly behind the driver's seat

Power is delivered by a 410bhp turbocharged V6 Rover engine located directly behind the driver's seat

Bolted into the stripped out body, the 6R4 features a featherweight chassis and is cloaked in incredibly light - though somewhat flimsy - bodywork

Bolted into the stripped out body, the 6R4 features a featherweight chassis and is cloaked in incredibly light - though somewhat flimsy - bodywork

Group B rally was terminated before there was time for the 6R4 to be developed to seriously challenge for a title. The series was pulled in 1986 following the tragic loss of three spectators and injuries to dozens more at the Portugal rally that year

Group B rally was terminated before there was time for the 6R4 to be developed to seriously challenge for a title. The series was pulled in 1986 following the tragic loss of three spectators and injuries to dozens more at the Portugal rally that year

Given this was raced at two WRC events - including the iconic Monte Carlo rally -  and that it remains in the very latest specification as developed in period makes it 'undoubtedly one of the best examples currently available,' Iconic Auctioneers said ahead of the sale

Given this was raced at two WRC events - including the iconic Monte Carlo rally -  and that it remains in the very latest specification as developed in period makes it 'undoubtedly one of the best examples currently available,' Iconic Auctioneers said ahead of the sale

Power is delivered by a 410bhp turbocharged V6 Rover engine located directly behind the driver's seat.

Bolted into the stripped out body, the 6R4 features a featherweight chassis and is cloaked in incredibly light - though somewhat flimsy - bodywork.

While this would have made them frightening to race flat out from a safety perspective, it is a ferociously fast car.

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Acceleration from 0-to-60mph in under three seconds, four-wheel drive and a short wheelbase meant incredible straight-line speed and nimble steering and darty changes of direction.

As such, the MG had all the ingredients to take the battle to Group B rivals of the era, including the likes of the Audi Sport Quattro, Lancia Delta S4 and 037, Peugeot 205 T16, Renault Maxi Turbo and Ford's RS200.

Sadly, Group B rally was terminated before the 6R4 could be developed to seriously challenge for a title.

The series was cancelled at the end of 1986.

It followed tragic events at the Portugal rally, which resulted in the loss of three spectators and injuries to dozens more  when Ford's works driver, Joaquim Santos, crashed his RS200 into a crowd.

Rally Portugal was this 6R4's second - and last - appearance in a WRC event.

It was driven by Marc Duez until Austin Rover Group immediately withdrew C870 EUD from the Portuguese round after the spectator deaths were confirmed.

Group B was put to bed once and for all with the series also reeling from the passing of Finnish driver Henri Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresto, who both died in a fireball accident having crashed off the road at the Tour de Course event in France just one month after the accident in Portugal.

With Group B still today remembered as one of the most exhilarating eras of motorsport, the cars that competed in it are treasured items. Which is why half a million pounds for a Metro is a better deal that it might look on paper.

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