A little car that's gone far
There are fans of the Metro all around the world, from places as exotic and romantic as the Dominican Republic, New Zealand and Winchester. If you don't believe me, take a look at the guestbook on the Mini Metro land home page.
But I have found more evidence of how far the appreciation of the Metro has spread. I was travelling in the Caribbean recently, on the region's biggest airline Liat. In their in-flight magazine I found an advert for a car rental firm - reproduced on the right - which clearly shows the profile of an Austin Metro. The text doesn't mention Metros by name, so they must be included under "other fine cars".
You will also notice that it is definitely the profile of an Austin Metro, not a Rover Metro. Of course you know that the bonnet of the Rover Metro is slightly longer. This must surely mean that Jonas rent-a-car are offering cars dating from before 1992. If the roads in Antigua are anything like the roads I experienced in the Caribbean, then I'm surprised any car has survived that long. Even a Metro.
To be honest, it took me a while to think of any.
Finally, though, it dawned on me that there was one famous person who owned a Metro. And boy was she famous. She still is.
Lady Diana Spencer, later to become Princess Diana, owned a red Metro when news of her involvement with Prince Charles first became public. This was the car that was chased around London by hordes of photographers. Being so nippy in traffic, doubtless the Metro often gave them the slip.
Here's a picture - you can just about make out Lady Diana (trust me, it's definitely her). You'll notice that this isn't even the top-of-the-range Metro, the HLS - no head restraints. It's an L, the second from bottom in the range (cloth trim, twin coachline instead of side rubbing strip). Such prudence in our Royals, we should be proud.
When Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles were married, there was a special edition Metro produced to celebrate. Here are pictures. It had a Royal crest on the doors, and came with a presentation box with "A British Car for a Royal Occasion". Yes, it was Corgi toys that produced the special edition, not Austin - shame. Still, nothing like a Royal wedding to produce patriotic consumers.
The unpronounceable toy
Scalextric made a set with Metros, so you could race them in your own living room. The picture here is of a customised one, made to look like the fastest Metro ever built, the 6R4. The real-life 6R4 didn't quite have the same legendary boot capacity as the regular Metro, as it had an engine there instead. Click on it to go to the Metro-Scalextric-modification website.
The ultimate accessory for your Metro
Got a late model Rover Metro, or a Rover 100? Got a Psion 5 or 5mx? There's a good chance your Metro is Tahiti Blue or Nightfire Red or British Racing Green. If so, you can re-skin your Psion so it matches your car! On your darkest, most despairing days, just remember this. We live in a fundamentally wondrous world if such a thing as this is possible.
You can also get a case in a matching colour. I have one of these in glorious Tahiti Blue, perfectly matching our Rover 200's Nightfire Red. Er, why did I do this?