An important and traditionally important MG Metro 6R4 rally automotive of all time has been taken from scrapyard to showroom situation in an epic salvage mission – and you’ll watch the complete rebuild strategy of the Group B legend for your self subsequent month.
That’s as a result of the complete restoration of the long-lasting Nineteen Eighties British championship profitable racer has been documented within the opening episode of the brand new TV collection of Automobile SOS, which is because of debut on our tellies on 11 March.
Hosts of Nationwide Geographic’s top-rated automotive restoration present, Tim Shaw and Fuzz Townsend, have given That is Cash unique entry to the monumental effort to avoid wasting the supreme rally machine – a car the pair describe because the ‘Holy Grail’ and the ‘pinnacle of each automotive when it comes to rarity, efficiency and iconic motoring royalty’.
From scrapyard to showroom situation: It may not look it, however this MG Metro 6R4 Group B rally automotive is similar one which received the 1987 British Nationwide Championship. The brand new collection of Automobile SOS paperwork its return to glory within the palms of hosts Tim Shaw (left) and Fuzz Townsend (proper)
For many who haven’t seen the present – now in its ninth season – it follows the trials of the 2 motoring fans on undercover missions to revive traditional automobiles for deserving homeowners who do not know their four-wheeled pleasure and pleasure is being fixed-up behind their backs.
Most automobiles on the coronary heart of the episodes are street-legal machines which have fallen into such a state of disrepair that they’re past the realms of being returned to the highway by their keepers.
Nevertheless, the opener to the newest collection includes a automotive with extra provenance than arguably any that’s appeared earlier than.
The MG Metro 6R4 is taken into account by many as the final word Nineteen Eighties Group B rally automotive.
Extremely highly effective, unfathomably mild, missing of security options or structural rigidity, and searching like a Rover Metro that’s spent a lockdown interval pumping iron in a health club, it epitomises one of many best eras in motorsport historical past.
And the automotive in query right here is probably the most profitable of its type – the British Nationwide Championship profitable machine from 1987 pushed Scotsman, David Gillanders.
The MG Metro 6R4 was co-developed with the Williams F1 workforce in 1985 to compete in Group B rallying. Nevertheless, the championship was scrapped a 12 months later over security considerations. The 20 6R4 ‘works’ competitors automobiles went on to race in different collection, together with profitable the 1987 British Nationwide Championship, pushed by Scotsman David Gillanders (pictured)
Proprietor of the MG Metro 6R4, Brian McKay from County Down in Northern Eire, has had the automotive since 2007. His son, Gerard, had discovered the stricken car in a neighborhood scrapyard, regardless of its historic provenance
When Automobile SOS collected the automotive, the low-production, ultra-rare, racer was nothing greater than a rolling chassis that was lacking most of its parts
20 years after being topped champ, it was discovered by proprietor, Brian McKay, a former truck driver, and his son Gerard from County Down, Northern Eire.
But it surely wasn’t situated in a museum – not even a storage of barn for storage functions. They as a substitute stumbled throughout the automotive in a dilapidated and sorry state at a neighborhood scrapyard again in 2007.
A current sickness has prompted a bodily road-block that’s prevented Brian from finishing the rebuild of the uncommon rally weapon himself. Step ahead his two daughters, Daybreak and Caroline – and household pal Barry – who known as on the help of Automobile SOS to get the Metro working once more.
Barely capable of comprise their pleasure about getting their palms on the piece of rally historical past, Tim and Fuzz are knocked for six when offered with a stripped chassis lacking most of its parts.
The engine, gearbox, driveshaft and drivetrain have been all current and accounted for – however in bins separate from the MG. A number of the different components, together with the bell housing (a part of the transmission that covers the flywheel and clutch), have been additionally seemingly broken past restore.
Pictured: Tim and Fuzz collected the automotive from Brian’s household in January final 12 months. With Covid lockdowns hitting in March, the mission wasn’t accomplished till July, that means the key needed to be stored from the proprietor for longer than first thought
Fuzz Townsend stated the workforce’s ordinary workshop merely didn’t have the experience or expertise to rebuild the MG Metro 6R4 themselves. They took the dilapidated motor – and its bits – to race-car builder Ric Wooden (proper) who manufactured lacking components for the long-lasting fashionable traditional machine
Tim exhibits the harm to the bell housing, which is a part of the transmission that covers the flywheel and clutch. It was seemingly broken past restore however the episode exhibits the way it was rebuilt by Wooden’s workforce of expert technicians
Tim and Fuzz welcomed Brian’s daughter Daybreak and household pal Barry, to see the automotive half-way by way of the construct course of – a matter of days earlier than lockdown first hit and the mission went on maintain
With a restricted supply of accessible parts and exceptionally excessive asking costs for them, a lot of the lacking or broken objects have been reproduced or rebuilt at Ric Wooden Motorsport in Stockport, which has specialised in constructing race automobiles for 30 years.
‘The 6R4 is probably the most troublesome mission we’ve ever taken on,’ Fuzz instructed us in an unique interview.
‘It’s a British Rally Championship profitable automotive, so we needed to get it as shut as doable to its authentic setup and standing, together with utilizing as most of the authentic components as we may.
‘With a Group B rally automotive and one which was as compromised because it was, we would have liked someplace with a number of expertise and machining capabilities. We needed to borrow first rate components from different folks, scan them and switch the info into the critically broken bits we had, such because the switch field casing, to construct every little thing in home.’
Tim instructed us he had tried to supply a number of the lacking parts however was requested to pay ‘ridiculous sums for the smallest components’.
He explains: ‘We discovered a man in Denmark who had components for a 6R4. After I started negotiating he stated for me to carry a clean cheque. He stated he needed £20,000 only for a entrance differential.
‘He instructed me there aren’t any extra components and no person is making them, so he can cost what he needed. I’ve by no means had a name like that in 9 years of looking for components for 90 automobiles world wide. No one has instructed me I would want £50,000 minimal and be going again with bits in a shoe field.’
Why the MG Metro 6R4 is a Group B rally favorite
The MG Metro 6R4 was designed in 1985 in partnership with the then-dominant Williams F1 workforce, with simply 20 works competitors automobiles constructed together with 200 detuned highway variations – which have been required as a part of laws to ensure that the 6R4 to qualify to participate in Group B.
It was ferociously quick, with the run of competitors automobiles utilizing a 410bhp V6 engine behind the motive force’s seat and in a featherweight chassis cloaked in flimsy bodywork.
Describing the missing of structural rigidity, Fuzz Townsend instructed us: ‘The 6R4 was so flimsily constructed within the first place that not many survived in first rate form. If any have survived, they’ve been fortunate, given they’re so unsubstantial.
‘Underneath the pores and skin on the automotive, it’s all engine and there’s as little as doable holding it collectively. It’s unimaginable to suppose that they anticipated a few folks to take a seat in them and threat their lives racing it. I’d be shocked if most of the authentic 20 competitors automobiles exist in any respect.’
Whereas they may have been scary to race flat out from a security perspective, they have been definitely fast.
An MG Metro 6R4 works automotive may speed up from 0-to-60mph in lower than three seconds and had all of the components to take the battle to Group B rivals together with the Audi Sport Quattro, Lancia Delta S4 and 037, Peugeot 205 T16, Renault Maxi Turbo and Ford’s RS200.
Nevertheless, the termination of Group B rally in 1986 over security considerations following the deaths of drivers and spectators meant the 6R4 by no means had the chance to problem for titles.
It did proceed for use in nationwide championships, profitable each the British and French collection’ – the automotive featured by Automobile SOS being the title winner for the previous in 1987.
One of the crucial poignant moments within the prolonged particular episode paperwork Tim assembly the automotive’s title-winning pilot, David Gillanders, who reveals he had stored the steering wheel from his crowning machine – and strikes a deal to reunite it with the automotive, on the premise he will be there to see it handed over.
Completed in its championship profitable color scheme, the Metro is finally returned to Brian some seven months after it was taken from his storage with out his figuring out.
Nevertheless, a lot of the delay to the completion of the mission was brought on by the coronavirus hanging final 12 months, a matter of days earlier than the automotive was on account of be completed.
In actual fact, the 6R4 was initially deliberate for the earlier season of Automobile SOS, however when lockdown hit the workforce couldn’t have it prepared in time to air.
‘One of many largest issues was retaining it quiet from the proprietor,’ the boys instructed us.
After the primary lockdown was eased in the summertime, the workforce returned to place the ultimate touches to the rebuilt ’80s legend
Completed in all its glory: The automotive absolutely accomplished, together with being returned to the racing livery it had when it received the British title in 1987 – some 20 years earlier than the history-filled motor was present in a scrapyard
Fuzz and Tim returned the automotive to proprietor Brian (proper) and his son Gerard (left) in an elaborate rouse the place the petrol heads had been instructed they have been merely visiting a resort for lunch
Commenting on the significance of the mission, Fuzz stated: ‘We’re not going to have the ability to get our palms on a real competitors profitable automotive full cease, not to mention the one and most essential 6R4 to grace the floor of the planet.
‘It felt like a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang story. A well-known automotive from the previous that leads to a scrapyard and we get to carry it again to life. It’s a magical little story that solely comes alongside as soon as in a lifetime.’
Tim provides: ‘That 6R4 is the rationale why I’m into automobiles. Seeing it made me really feel 12 once more. Attending to work on it’s the spotlight of my life within the automotive world. And changing into associates with David Gillanders and reuniting the automotive with its steering wheel has been the most effective achievement in my time on Automobile SOS.’
Whereas the blokes say not one of the automobiles they work on are ever valued as soon as accomplished, one other of the 20 1985 works MG Metro 6R4 automobiles, which had received the French Rally Championship, offered at Artcurial’s Paris public sale this month for a staggering €244,360 – round £214,700.
Given the upper provenance of the Gillanders automotive, it’s more likely to be valued in extra of that determine.
This 1985 MG Metro 6R4, which went on to win the French Rally Championship, offered at public sale earlier this month for a staggering £214,700, together with sale premiums. The Automobile SOS 6R4, given its British title success, is probably going price much more
The Metro 6R4 featured earlier in February alongside different Group B rally icons together with two Lancias: A 1986 Delta S4 (center) offered for €810,560 (£712,100) and a 1985 037 (left) was purchased for €548,320 (£481,700)
The identical traditional automotive sale within the French capital in February additionally noticed the final Audi Sport Quattro S1 Group B machine produced in 1988 bought for a staggering €2million – almost £1.8million – making it the most expensive rally car to sell at auction of all time.
Automobile SOS returns to screens for its ninth season on Thursday 11 March with 11 unmissable new episodes airing solely on Nationwide Geographic, together with the prolonged 50-minute particular present devoted to the MG Metro 6R4 to kick off the brand new collection.
As for the remainder of the collection, six different initiatives being documented have been confirmed, with 4 but to be introduced.
Additionally to function within the new collection are a Jensen Interceptor (1966-1976), Fiat X1/9 (1972-1989), VW Beetle Wizard Roadster, Jaguar XJ-S (1975-1996) and Rolls Royce 20/25 Medical doctors Coupe (1929-1936). Tim additionally lets slip within the Q&A beneath that one other of the fashions will probably be an Alpine A110 (1961-1977)…
Automobile SOS Q&A: Who chooses the autos to rebuild?
That is Cash sat down – remotely – with hosts of Automobile SOS, Fuzz Townsend (left) and Tim Shaw (proper) to talk all issues four-wheeled
That is Cash: After fixing up 90 traditional automobiles that have been finally worthless on assortment, do you ever consider how a lot worth you’ve added to automobiles during the last decade?
Tim: ‘That Metro 6R4 we gave again in Eire is price greater than Fuzz’s home and my home. It’s a novel place to be in however it’s not in regards to the cash. It’s in regards to the journey.
‘There’s a value to life and the expertise of engaged on such a automotive, which for me is priceless. I do know there are individuals who purchase and promote automobiles and sit on them to earn cash, however they’re not petrol heads.
‘The factor about Automobile SOS and the individuals who watch the present – and whose automobiles we do up – is that they’ve all fallen in love with autos. After I do up a automotive, 80 per cent of the enchantment is the mission and 20 per cent is driving it. I’d have paid to have had the expertise to have labored on the Metro. The worth is the dimensions of the grin.’
That is Cash: Who will get to choose the initiatives and are you beginning to run a bit skinny on automobiles after 9 years?
Fuzz: ‘We’ve hundreds of individuals asking for our assist, from all world wide. The present is aired in over 100 nations and we’re receiving requests from totally different continents.
‘The workforce within the workplace, together with the collection producer, collate the entire functions. They’ll choose automobiles we haven’t finished beforehand and whittle it all the way down to round 50 initiatives after checking the again tales hooked up to them. We then attempt to decide on a choice of varieties that can circulate properly – a few of them classic automobiles, one or two from the ’50s and ’60s, a Japanese mannequin, a German motor, and many others.’
Tim: ‘In addition they ring Fuzz and me to run a automotive previous us. They will gauge instantly from our reactions if they will get a fantastic efficiency from us guys.’
That is Cash: What else can followers of the present count on to see from the brand new collection?
Fuzz: ‘This collection, I actually loved the 1929 Rolls Royce as a result of I actually love pre-war automobiles. I like to see the engineering of actually high-end automobiles again then – and you’ll see how Rolls Royce made their popularity. The lineage from their autos to what they’re now, by way of producing engines for Second World Struggle planes, is astonishing. I’m fascinated to see how automobiles have been so superbly intricate so way back.’
Tim: ‘We’ve a brand new addition to the workforce this collection known as Welsh Q [a spoof of the inventor behind James Bond’s gadgetry]. He’s a technical genius, an issue solver and inventor. And in two of the brand new episodes he manages to genuinely change the lives of automotive homeowners.
‘In a single instance we gave an Alpine A110 to the proprietor, Guido, who has Parkinson’s illness. He is a petroleum head by way of and thru. We all know he received’t have the ability to drive once more due to his situation, however he had this dream of getting within the automotive on his driveway and picture driving it. We bought Welsh Q to invent a system so Guido can stroll as much as the automotive with a transponder in his pocket, and if he touches any steel half on it the transponder will recognise it and open the door. For him, any time day and evening, he can sit in his automotive and reminisce and love his automotive.
‘Anther man, Andreas, who was the harmless sufferer of an acid assault, has no imaginative and prescient in his left eye. Welsh Q took what you’d see within the left wing mirror and put it within the peripheral imaginative and prescient of his proper eye – simply to the left of the steering wheel of his Beetle Wizard. He was blown away by that. He stated he struggled to drive due the problem, and this modification modified his life. To have the addition of a technical genius to the workforce to assist folks with situations is the massive spotlight for season 9 of Automobile SOS for me.’