Utter the words ‘Mini Metro’ to anyone who had a driving licence in the 1980s and they’ll likely know someone who owned one, if they didn’t themselves.
But just a select few ever had the chance to get behind the wheel of this exclusive version – the ultra-rare Frazer-Tickford hot hatch produced by a division of Aston Martin.
Only 26 examples were made. This month, one of three built for the American market is set to go under the hammer at a British auction, with experts predicting it will sell for up to £45,000.
No normal Metro: This is an example of the ultra-rare Frazer-Tickford Metro – the ultra-exclusive supermini co-created by Aston Martin’s performance division
The left-hand-drive car, which originally found a home in Beverly Hills with a world renowned photographer, is one of the lots up for grabs at the H&H Classics sale at the Imperial War Museum Duxford on 17 November.
It is a 1982 example with around just 9,600 miles on the clock.
The auction house estimates the hammer will drop at bids of between £35,000 and £45,000.
A truly rare motor, it received the specialist treatment from then-new car company Frazer who partnered with Tickford – a new tuning division of Aston Martin at the time – to convert the noble supermini into a spoiler-laden performance machine with upgraded comfort.
The Metro name was even dropped to reflect that it had been rebuilt from the ground up by the automotive duo.
Only 26 were ever completed from 1981 – and they were not cheap.
Priced from £11,600 when new, this car would have cost more than a Porsche 944 at the time.
Using the This is Money historic inflation calculator, that price today works out at a massive £51,000. That’s around the price as a brand new Porsche Cayman T.
It is a 1982 example with around just 9,600 miles on the clock. The auction house set to sell in later this month estimates the hammer will drop at bids of between £35,000 and £45,000
The left-hand-drive car, which originally found a home in Beverly Hills with a world renowned photographer, is one of the lots up for grabs at the H&H Classics sale at the Imperial War Museum Duxford on 17 November
Engineers reworked the engine from a standard Metro 1.3S. It was fitted with Weber twin choke carburettor, a hotter camshaft and bigger valves with a gas flowed cylinder head to produce increase power to just over 80bhp
Production started in 1981, taking a standard Metro 1.3S and retuning the 1275cc engine with Weber twin choke carburettor, a hotter camshaft and bigger valves with a gas flowed cylinder head to produce increase power to just over 80bhp.
The bodywork had glassfibre additions, such as side pods, a front air dame and a skirt at the rear to give it an all-new bulked-out look complemented by unique 14-inch alloy wheels.
The front anti-roll bar was stiffened and a second added at the rear, while the Hydragas suspension was also tweaked to lower the ride height.
The cars, though extremely rare, were instantly recognisable by their bulging bodykits. Engineers fitted glassfibre side pods, front air dame and skirt at the rear
The Frazer-Tickford Metro was produced in extremely limited numbers from 1981
Original advertising for the car says ‘all aspects of the car, from appearance and comfort to performance and handling’ has been transformed
While most were resprayed in high-gloss silver and fitted with a more luxurious silver interior, this example is unique.
Finished in Cairngorm Brown paint, the cabin is complemented with beige saddle leather and Alcantara and piped with Chocolate brown accents.
It retains the ‘Tickford’ lettering emblazoned across boot lid and Aston Martin enamel badges in lacquer to highlight its legendary lineage.
The specification includes thick Wilton pile carpeting, Uher stack stereo, four Marchal fog lights, electric windows and mirrors and alloy wheels, and electric windows and mirrors.
All added bodywork and flashier interior added an extra 90kg to the Metro’s original kerb weight, so it wasn’t as fast as it could have been.
Official claims at new was 0-to-60mph in less than 11 seconds and a top speed of 100mph.
While most Frazer-Tickford Metros were resprayed in high-gloss silver, this example was finished in Cairngorm Brown paint
The specification includes thick Wilton pile carpeting, Uher stack stereo, four Marchal fog lights, electric windows and mirrors and alloy wheels, and electric windows and mirrors
The cabin is a mix of beige saddle leather and Alcantara with piping in Chocolate brown
Last sold in 2016, it has had just two owners in total, having originally been supplied in 1984 to the late Wendal ‘Rick’ McBridge, a renowned official Ferrari photographer living in Beverly Hills, California.
It came back to the UK just two years later and was used sparingly and then put in to dry storage.
It has around 15,000km on the clock – some 9,600 miles – and is being offered with a ‘sizeable history file’.
The car was last re-commissioned in 2015 ahead of its first change of ownership in 32 years, including a full service, brake overhaul, alloy wheel refurbishment and fitment with new tyres.
It has also had a new exhaust system, windscreen, interior refresh – including leather re-trim of the steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake gaiter and new alacantara headlining – at a total cost of £3,000, with the work carried out in 2018.
While it displays the number plate YKO 585X’, it will be sold with the retention document for registration number ‘FTM 1T’, which is said to stand for ‘Frazer-Tickford Metro, 1 Tickford’
The car has spent most of its life in dry storage, hence the incredible condition and low mileage.
While it displays the number plate YKO 585X’, it will be sold with the retention document for registration number ‘FTM 1T’, which is said to stand for ‘Frazer-Tickford Metro, 1 Tickford’.
Commenting on its availability at auction later this month, Paul Cheetham of H&H Classics said: ‘With early Metro’s ever-growing in popularity, the opportunity to offer this exceptionally rare example with just twenty six built is a privilege.
‘This is surely a unique chance to acquire a scarce example of Aston Martin’s first foray into compact cars with both interesting history and low mileage and ownership.’
He added: ‘It would be a worthy addition to any collection.’
Given that the auction is taking place in the UK, a right-hand-drive version would likely be more desirable.
Yet, despite this being a US-spec left-hand-drive example, bidding is expected to be competitive, such is the rarity of these cars.
You can find out more about the souped-up Mini Metro – and the auction – by visiting H&H Classics.
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