Jim Lott's MG Metro Turbo

An immaculate Metro turbo is a rare thing these days. Member Jim Lott has that base firmly covered with his 1989 example, though. Jim tells us the story of how the car came to be with detailed specifications within! 

First Registered: - 23rd January 1989

Mileage when purchased: - 45300

I saw the car advertised on e-bay in June 2009. It had been dry stored for around 14 years and was purchased by a car detailer in Walsall from the original London owner. He had detailed the outside of the car and fitted new tyres, got it running and MOTd. I went and saw the car and thought I must have it. So money changed hands and I collected it along with a new set of front disks and spare heater, in July 2009.

Initial Actions

Once I got it home I cleaned the inside and under the bonnet and carried out a complete refurbishment of the fuel system as it had a tendency to cut out if pushed hard. I cleaned, and with the aid of a Burlans SU repair kit, rebuilt the carburettor, replaced the fuel pump and fuel regulator and all of the under bonnet pipework. A new in line fuel filter was fitted. I roughly set up the carb to get it running and took it to my local MG Dealer and they put it on their 20 year old Krypton Tuning System and set it up correctly. The exhaust was also changed as it was blowing. The car was now running like it should.

Further Improvements

I took the car out on a couple of track days at Castle Combe and due to the layout of the circuit, it puts quite a strain on the nearside front wheel and suspension. I have had to replace the ball joints, wheel bearings and gas strut at the front. I have also changed the radius arm bearing at the nearside rear.

In 2013 I noticed that the bottom of the doors was starting to show signs of the dreaded tin worm and over the winter put it into my local dealer’s body shop for some TLC. They ended up having to strip and treat the bonnet, roof and tailgate, due to spider rust (rust that creeps under the paint) and weld new panels into the bottom of the doors. The affected parts were then re-sprayed and matched to the remaining paintwork. A new set of decals was obtained and fitted to finish the car off.

Once I got it home, I polished the car and applied copious coats of polish and wax and now all it needs to keep it clean is a wipe over with some instant detailer to keep it looking smart. After a couple of runs out in 2015 I noticed that the car was lacking in power (especially when I took it to Rockingham for the Top Gear Magazine Photoshoot). I did a compression check when I got it home and found that 3 cylinders had lowish compression and one (no 2) very low. I removed the head and found that the exhaust valve seats were very badly pitted and too far gone for lapping in again. I found a local machinist who fitted hardened valve seats and sorted the exhaust valves, and I lapped in the inlet valves myself. I put the car back together and now have my power back and can run on unleaded fuel without any additives!

Magazine Appearances

Over the period that I have owned the car it has featured in several national classic car magazines;

  • Classic Car Mart - February 2012
  • Practical Classics – July 2012
  • Classic Car Buyer - 21 st November 2012
  • MG Enthusiast – December 2012
  • Auto Express – Christmas Double issue 2013
  • Top Gear Magazine – Retro Mag – July 2016
  • Practical Classics – Complete Guide to buying MG Saloons – February 2017 (Reprint of July 2012)
  • Modern Classics – April 2017.

Track Days

  • Castle Combe – 18 th June 2010
  • Castle Combe – 6 th Sept 2010
  • Castle Combe – 13 th June 2011


  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Capacity: 1275 cc
  • Bore & Stroke: 70.61 mm x 81.28mm
  • Compression Ratio: 9.4:1
  • Valve gear: Pushrod overhead valve
  • Carburation: Single SU HIF44


  • Garrett Air Research T3
  • Max Boost Pressure: 7.5 psi
  • Max Power: 93 bhp (@ 6130 rpm)
  • Max Torque: 85lb/ft (@ 2650 rpm)


  • Type: 4 speed all synchromesh
  • Clutch: Single dry plate


  • Front: Independent bottom link braced by anti roll bar. Top link operating individual Hydragas units
  • plus telescopic dampers.
  • Rear: Independent trailing arms, anti roll bar, coil spring pre loaded on linked Hydragas units.
  • Wheels: Vented cast alloy 13" diameter, 5.5 J rims


  • Steel braced radial low profile 165/60 VR13.


  • Front - 4 piston caliper ventilated disc. Rear-7" drum.


  • 0-60 mph: 9.9 secs
  • Max speed: 112 mph
  • Fuel consumption: 50.3 mpg @ 56 mph (urban)
  • Top speed: 110mph
  • 0 to 60mph: 9.5 seconds
  • Average fuel consumption: in a range 30 to 40mpg
Last modified on Tuesday, 04 July 2017 20:33
(1 Vote)