Carlisle Import Nationals Preview: 1986 MG Metro Turbo

metro 1

Continuing our survey of the rare machinery you’re likely to glimpse at the Carlisle Import Nationals on May 17th through May 19th, provided you spend the more than 10 hours required to see most of the field, here is likely the first MG Metro to appear at Carlisle. This MG Metro Turbo from 1986 was brought into the country a while ago, and its restoration had wrapped up just months prior to its appearance at Carlisle. Last time we took a look at a 1962 GAZ 21i Volga from Carlisle 2012, one that was later flooded in Hurricane Sandy.

And speaking of making appearances at Carlisle, here’s a scheduling tip about the Carlisle Import Nationals that I learned the hard way. Even though the show takes place over three days, Friday is not really the day you want to be there (unless you plan on being there multiple days) as Friday is the day that everyone arrives in Carlisle. Sunday is not really the day to be there either, as that is the day that everyone drives back to their home states. Through the process of elimination (and I’m not talking about the countless British cars that break down on the way to the event), Saturday is the day to be there and is the day you’re going to see the biggest field of cars. Up to 1,300 of them, and all of them furrin’. Now let’s take a closer look at this MG Metro.

metro 2

This 1986 example is one of what are believed to be about five Metros in the US. A couple red hatches are on the west coast, one Metro is believed to be in Canada, and another one in North Carolina. This is obviously not the car’s original livery, as these graphics were added during the restoration. I am not usually a fan of overwhelmingly loud graphics on hot or warm hatches, but if the alternative was this car staying Refrigerator White, then this is doubtlessly a good choice made during the restoration. And it lets everyone in traffic know just what it is, so the owner doesn’t have to field questions such as “That some kinda Fiesta?” at traffic lights.

metro 3

Speaking of colors, since I haven’t seen a lot of Metros in person (less than 10 perhaps) I am undecided as to what were the best colors for these. But I suspect we have a certain hoon who frequents this website who may be able to tell us not only the best colors for these, but also everything we’ve always wanted to know about MG Metros but were afraid to ask our shop teacher in high school. Or, umm, anyone else for that matter.

The 2013 edition of the only classic car event in America where you’re likely to see a Fiat 124 sedan just a few feet away from a Citroen SM and a Renault Alliance will take place in Carlisle, Pennsylvania from May 17th through May 19th.

[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Jay Ramey]


  1. "…so the owner doesn’t have to field questions such as 'That some kinda Fiesta?' at traffic lights."
    I tend to get "Rabbit," "Yugo," or "JDM." Twice, however, pedestrians with British accents have shown memorable enthusiasm while crossing in front of it.

    1. I remember the woman saying "No" and you saying "Yes" over and over, but what was the second one?

      1. Two British guys in downtown Bellevue, late at night, crossing in the crosswalk. One glanced sideways, stopped, pointed, and the two of them laughed, cheered, and yelled "Metro! That's the way to do it!" while giving me their thumbs-up.
        It made my evening.

          1. Are you f'n kidding me? Compared to what was there when I was growing up in the dark ages, there very much is.

  2. I don't know what sort of 'restoration' took place here, but it appears that it's already busy rusting out it's rockers again.

        1. True. Mine has taken home trophies from the 2010 Concours d'LeMons Box Wine Country Classic and the 2010 Microcar and Minicar World Meet, after all.
          Then again, both trophies were for having driven the longest distance to enter each show, so the rockers presumably played merely a supporting role.

  3. My mate's mum used to have a red Rover Metro that rode really high at the back. Got rear ended by a Mondeo and written off sadly. I dig the Metro.

  4. I have to ask, why a Metro? Seems like an odd choice of car to import to the USA. But each to their own, and I applaud you for doing so!

    1. I can't take credit for mine. The trick is to find someone else who has gone to the trouble of importing it:
      who later puts it up for sale:
      and then buy it from him locally:
      which is also how I ended up with an Austin Maestro Vanden Plas from the same guy:

  5. There's a red Rover Metro in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Stuck in under a tree, on the front line of a scrapyard, but will not be scrapped due to ownership issues.

      1. Nope, she's right hand drive; still with a UK front license plate and tax stickers from about '98 or so. Not sure how it got legally road registered then as it would have been about six or so years old at the time. Bright red, two door, five speed. If my plans bear fruit, I'll own it by the end of the summer.
        I see weird French cars on the highway every now and then, with SPM plates (Departement du St Pierre et Miquelon). They must be doing cross country drives, I guess. You'll see the odd Euro RV with German or Swedish plates too.

          1. No, but I'll have to check it out now.
            OTOH, my first car at the tender age of 15 was a rear engine Canadian market Skoda 120.

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