The combination of an Austin-Rover Metro and the blue and white livery of ‘Computervision’ will always bring to mind the ‘works’ run Metro 6R4s. Who could have imagined that something as dry as pioneering computer aided design equipment could have been made to look so interesting? This rather less mutant, but still glorious, slice of 1980s ARG history wears its colours equally well.
‘This was one of five works cars built,’ says owner and touring car hero Patrick Watts. ‘I drove it in the 1984 BTCC season for ARG (Austin Rover Group). The cars were developed by ARG but built and run by Roger Dowson Engineering and (after its racing career finished) sat in a collection for many years. I heard it was for sale two years ago and just didn’t think it would be a proper car,’ But it was, and very original too: that ‘Computervision’ livery is painted on, it’s not stickers.
‘Nick Swift (of Swiftune) has rebuilt the engine, and we’ve replaced the Jack Knight gears with Quaife ones. Turbo Technics have rebuilt the hybrid turbocharger.’ Watts warms to his theme: ‘It’s a beautiful little car – a jewel of a car! It’s actually more capable now than when in period due to the tyres; then they’d only last three or four laps sometimes, but now we have no problems. In many ways it’s a mini super tourer – probably ahead of its time in that respect. It’s very light, very fast, and beautifully built with Ohlins dampers and the like.’
Photography by Chris McEvoy