MG Some Thoughts
MG Some Thoughts - Photos and Stories.
by Geoff Wheatley
MG Some Thoughts
I was recently asked about the last MG Sports Car that came out of the UK. We are talking about the BMW MGTF that was not quite the success that the German company had hoped for, when the MG Factory closed in 1980 after producing the same car, the MGB for almost twenty years. (I know the Mini can claim to have done this, i.e. 1959 to today, but the MGB was never a Mini, mores the pity)
A couple of years after MG Closed its doors British Leyland in its wisdom took the bland Metro and put a few plastic strips on the interior and called it the MG Metro. This delight lasted for around four long years before the truth was recognized and the car was taken off the production line. Around the same time the Triumph TR7, the so-called new design of sports cars of the future, met the same fate leaving Leyland with a very limited range of vehicles to offer.
1974 Triumph TR7, Bond Museum display: Submited by Rick Feibush
Their answer was simple, change the name from B.L to the Rover Group which gave what was left of the once popular Rover Motor Company something of a new image in the dwindling UK motor market. (Regretfully with little real success). However, the famous BMW Company with production plants all over the world and a range of vehicles that certainly attracted the international motor market purchased Rover in 1994 and with the usual efficiency of this company exhibited a new MG, the MGTF, at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show. To be fair the prototype had been developed by Rover but that was as far as it got when Rover ran out of development money. The car was something of a success but suffered from various problems, the most constant being an ability to blow the seals off various parts of the rather unique power unit that the driver sat over in much the same way as the Boxster Porsche.
MGB Limited Edition sn-GHN5UL498886G 1979
Dean Lowe Photo
By 2000 BMW cut its losses and sold Rover to the Phoenix Company keeping the Mini and of course in the process developing the car into the attractive vehicle that we have today. Rover MG continued for a few years but like others ran out of money. The British Government declined to make any further investment in the struggling British Motor industry and production came to an end in 2003. It had been hoped that the MGTF would export to the North American market but the car was never able to obtain the safety and environmental requirements of the USA. I have seen several of these cars still on the road in the UK and a few managed to find their way to Canada and Mexico but as yet not here. As a foot note, when production ceased in the UK whatever stock was left at the Longbridge factory was sold off at whatever price it could fetch. My son, who lives in the UK, purchased a new MGTF for around five thousand US Dollars and still has the car. I have driven it a few times and have to say it’s a nice sports car in the full meaning of the term. Not that comfortable on the open highway but quite a good level of performance and remembering that the UK has rather liberal regulations on speed requirements on the Motorways, you can see what the car will do on the open road.
China now has the rights to the MG logo and has produced a small type car that they are trying to sell in Europe. It’s cheap but that’s about sums up the attraction compared with the range of small private vehicles available in the European market.
Geoff Wheatley ©
ED. Note: As of 2016, The "Abingdon Edition MGB Roadster" is being produced in Abingdon as a updated recreation of the orginal chorme bumper MGB.
William Wang MD MG Motor UK 2011
MG TF 135 2011
MG Photo 2011