By on February 26, 2020

Ever wonder what would happen if a division of Aston Martin decided to create a luxury sports hatchback for a select few wealthy customers? Wonder no more — it’s Tickford Metro time.

First, the car. Underneath the heavy modifications seen here is a Rover Metro. Launched in 1980 as theoretical replacement for the Mini, the Metro was a very important product for British Leyland. The Metro wore many different badges, and was even developed into a rally car by MG. The first generation was on sale from 1980 to 1990, at which point it was replaced by an all-new Metro that was actually just a revised version of the original. Its name changed to Rover 100 for the 1995 model year; the new identity attempted to cover up the car’s origins (which were still in 1980). As the 100, the Metro soldiered on through 1998, replaced in part by the more modern and expensive 200.

Metro covered, let’s talk Tickford. The company was founded in the 1820s in Buckinghamshire. Originally a builder of carriages, Tickford started making car bodies once internal combustion came on the scene. Through the 1930s, the company mostly built convertibles for companies like MG, Standard, and Daimler.

Well established as a coachbuilder, the company experienced high demand for its craftsmanship. Ownership changed in 1955 when Tickford was purchased by David Brown, then owner of Aston Martin. Brown moved Aston Martin production to the Tickford site, where it stayed through the DB7. All tied up with one another, Aston Martin created an engineering branch in 1981 and called it Aston Martin Tickford. Once again, Tickford could work on projects outside the confines of Aston Martin.

One of the new entity’s first projects was a turbo Capri for Ford, but Tickford also worked for British Leyland. Enter Metro.

Introduced in 1981 at a cost of about $15,000 ($44,916 adjusted for inflation), the Tickford Metro was all about bespoke luxury and performance. The interior came coated in leather; it wrapped the doors, dash, and all new seats (from a Jag?) at the front. Premium audio with graphic equalizer occupied the newly swathed dash. A sunroof was standard, as were power windows and mirrors and phone dial wheels. The exterior also featured an aggressive body kit, revised fascias, and quad fog lamps. Underneath, Tickford tuned the standard Metro engine: New camshafts, valves, and heads were paired with a Weber carburetor for a full 80 horsepower.

Almost intended for obscurity, Tickford completed only 26 cars for some very special customers. Of that number, three were built with left-hand drive. Finished in beautiful brown, today’s Rare Ride is one of those three. Delivered straight to Los Angeles in 1984, it returned to its home country in 1986. With 9,600 miles since new, this one sold for an undisclosed sum in the recent past. It’s highly unlikely you’ll see another.

(H/T to Adam Tonge for finding this obscure ride.)

[Images: seller]

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15 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Obscure 1984 Frazer Tickford Metro, Aston Martin’s Hatchback...”

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Lipstick on a pig. Much like the latter Aston-Martin Cygnet (Smart Car).

    You do need to make a slight correction/clarification to part of the text. Tickford is the street in Newport Pagnell where the factory was. Currently the remaining section of this facility is used to refurbish Aston-Martins.

    In 1989 as I have previously posted I was lucky enough to be provided with an impromptu guided tour of the Newport Pagnell facility, from 2 senior Aston-Martin executives (engineer and designer).

    From Wikipedia:
    ‘From 1954 until 2007, the town was the home to the prestigious sports car manufacturer Aston Martin. The Newport Pagnell factory was considered outdated and a new production facility was built near Gaydon, in Warwickshire. There is still a service facility in Newport Pagnell, but the factory on the north side of Tickford St has since been demolished apart from the engine shop, board room and offices that are listed buildings.’

  • avatar

    That’s a uh very driver-centered stereo stack there.

  • avatar

    “The company was founded in the 1820s in Buckinghamshire”
    “a full 80 horsepower”
    “Finished in beautiful brown”

    This thing is so British it needs some tea and a monocle.

  • avatar

    They could be XJS seats, but if so, heavily modified. They are not Jaguar sedan seats (none of the sedans had the tip forward mechanism).

    • 0 avatar

      Those look to me like normal Austin Metro seats with bespoke covers and a bit more foam in the bolsters.

      I can’t imagine that any Jag seats were narrow enough to fit in a Metro.

  • avatar

    Historical trivia…..

    David Brown was an established industrial firm and a builder of agricultural tractors at the time they bought Aston-Martin. The tractor enterprise no longer exists but DB tractors have a collector following in North America.

    Another tractor magnate got into the car business after being insulted by Enzo Ferrari. That man was Ferruccio Lamborghini.

  • avatar

    Sweet Le-Car, yo.

  • avatar
    Johnstone McTavish

    They ain’t no Jaguar seats. They look a little bit similar to a post 94 XJS seats but that’s purely coincidental. These are 100% based on MG Metro Turbo seats with new leather facings – interesting in itself since the Vanden Plas version of the Metro already had awesome leather seats.

    Rover 100 also had a different engine and was a cross linked Hydragas suspension which actually made it a pretty neat hot-hatch with awesome handling (actually all metros handled well).

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I don’t care anything about the car, but please tell me those wheel’s bolt pattern is 4×108!

  • avatar

    Initial look made me think Renault Le Car .


  • avatar

    This screams 80s hot hatch… I love it! The interior is a bit too fancy and over the top given the car’s rally-like exterior. I bet it was blast to drive since I assume it was a featherweight.

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