Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.
A chronological day-by-day history of MG.
The MG octagon was registered as a trademark by Morris Garages.
Cecil Kimber, founder of MG, drove the first MG sports car to victory in the Land’s End Trial. This was to be the first of many successes for the famous octagonal marque. Since that first victory, MG has participated in almost every form of motorsport and achieved success in hill climbing, land speed record breaking, long-distance endurance racing, rallying, in touring cars and sprinting.
Cecil KimberShow Article
William Morris, using his own money purchased Wolseley Motors at auction for £730,000, possibly to stop General Motors who subsequently bought Vauxhall. Other bidders beside General Motors included the Austin Motor Company. Herbert Austin, Wolseley's founder, was said to have been very distressed that he was unable to buy it. Morris had bought an early taxicab, another Wolseley link with Morris was that his Morris Garages were Wolseley agents in Oxford.Morris had tried to produce a 6-cylinder car and not been successful. He still wanted his range to include a light six-cylinder car. Wolseley's 2-litre six-cylinder 16-45, their latest development of their postwar Fifteen, "made a deep impression on him". Morris incorporated a new company, Wolseley Motors (1927) Limited, he was later permitted to remove the (1927), and consolidated its production at the sprawling Ward End Works in Birmingham. In 1935, Wolseley became a subsidiary of Morris' own Morris Motor Company and the Wolseley models soon became based on Morris designs. It became part of the Nuffield Organisation along with Morris and Riley/Autovia in 1938. After the war, Morris and Wolseley production was consolidated at Cowley, and badge engineering took hold. The first post-war Wolseleys, the similar 4/50 and 6/80 models, were based on the Morris Oxford MO. Later, Wolseleys shared with MG and Riley common bodies and chassis, namely the 4/44 and 6/90, which were closely related to the MG Magnette ZA/ZB and the Riley Pathfinder respectively. Other badge engineering exploits followed at BMC. In 1957 the Wolseley 1500 was based on the planned successor to the Morris Minor. The next year, the Wolseley 15/60 debuted the new mid-sized BMC saloon design penned by Pinin Farina. It was followed by similar vehicles from five marques within the year. The tiny Wolseley Hornet was based on the Mini but the booted body style was shared with Riley as the Elf. Finally, a version of the Austin 1800 was launched in 1967 as the Wolseley 18/85. The Riley marque, long overlapping with Wolseley, was retired in 1969. Wolseley continued in diminished form with the Wolseley Six of 1972, a variant of the six-cylinder Austin 1800, the Austin 2200. It was finally killed off just three years later in favour of the short-lived Wolseley 18-22 series saloon, which was based on the Leyland Princess (also known as the 18-22 series) and never even given a clear name, being badged just "Wolseley", and sold only for seven months until that range was renamed as the Princess. Today, the Wolseley marque is owned by Nanjing Automobile Group bought as part of the assets of the MG Rover Group. Note that the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company continued trading, and continues today as Wolseley plc.
The MG M-type (also known as the MG Midget) made its debut at the London Motor Show opened at Olympia. The M-Type was one of the first genuinely affordable sports cars to be offered by an established manufacturer, as opposed to modified versions of factory-built saloon cars and tourers. By offering a car with excellent road manners and an entertaining driving experience at a low price (the new MG cost less than double the cheapest version of the Morris Minor on which it was based) despite relatively low overall performance the M-type set the template for many of the MG products that were to follow, as well as many of the other famous British sports cars of the 20th century. The M-type was also the first MG to wear the Midget name that would be used on a succession of small sports cars until 1980. This 2-door sports car used an updated version of the four-cylinder bevel-gear driven overhead camshaft engine used in the 1928 Morris Minor and Wolseley 10 with a single SU carburettor giving 20 bhp (15 kW) at 4000 rpm. Drive was to the rear wheels through a three-speed non-synchromesh gearbox. The chassis was based on the one used in the 1928 Morris Minor with lowered suspension using half-elliptic springs and Hartford friction disk shock absorbers with rigid front and rear axles and bolt on wire wheels. The car had a wheelbase of 78 inches (1980 mm) and a track of 42 inches (1067 mm). 1930 brought a series of improvements to the car. The Morris rod brake system, with the handbrake working on the transmission, was replaced a cable system with cross shaft coupled to the handbrake and the transmission brake deleted. Engine output was increased to 27 bhp (20 kW) by improving the camshaft and a four-speed gearbox was offered as an option. The doors became front-hinged. A supercharged version could be ordered from 1932, raising the top speed to 80 mph (130 km/h). Early bodies were fabric-covered using a wood frame; this changed to all-metal in 1931. Most cars had bodies made by Carbodies of Coventry and fitted by MG in either open two-seat or closed two-door "Sportsmans" coupé versions, but some chassis were supplied to external coachbuilders such as Jarvis. The factory even made a van version as a service vehicle. The car could reach 65 mph (105 km/h) and return 40 miles per gallon. The open version cost £175 at launch, soon rising to £185, and the coupé cost £245. The 1932 supercharged car cost £250. The M-type had considerable sporting success, both privately and with official teams winning gold medals in the 1929 Land's End Trial and class wins in the 1930 "Double Twelve" race at Brooklands. An entry was also made in the 1930 Le Mans 24 hour, but neither of the two cars finished.
MG M-type - 1928Show Article
The last MG 14/40 Mk IV was completed. Launched in 1927, the car was based on the contemporary Morris Oxford flatnose and was a development of the MG 14/28 and was built at Edmund Road, Cowley, Oxford where MG had moved in September 1927. During production it became the first model to carry an MG Octagon badge on its radiator, the previous cars had retained a Morris Oxford badge. The change of name from 14/28 to 14/40 seems mainly to have been a marketing exercise and the reason for the Mark IV is unclear although it has been suggested that it represented the fourth year of production. Externally the cars are very difficult to tell apart. There were some changes to the 14/28 chassis and suspension and the brake servo was deleted.Production ended in 1929, after approximately 700 cars had been built.
MG 14/40Show Article
The MG Car Company Ltd staged a grand inaugural luncheon at its new factory in Abington, England. In 1935, MG was sold by Morris to Morris Motors Limited, and at this time MG's competition activities ceased, while over the next 18 months, the product range was completely altered to re-align it with Morris and Wolseley. Although the MG Car Company as such became dormant, the MG factory at Abingdon survived as an operational unit into the British Leyland era. In the late 1970s it became part of British Leyland's Jaguar Rover Triumph subsidiary. From time to time the Abingdon factory also produced other makes of car for BMC/BL, such as Riley (1949-1957), Austin-Healey (1957-1971), some Morris Minors (1960-1964) and Vanden Plas 1500s (1979-1980). By a twist of fate, from 1959 onwards MG saloon cars production returned to Cowley, then later at Longbridge, rather than Abingdon. With the discontinuation of the MG Midget and MGB models in 1979-81, the factory was closed, and the Abingdon property disposed of. A and B Blocks are still extant, re-clad and part of the Abingdon Business Park. The Administration Block (known as "Top Office") still stands at the end of Cemetery Road. Cecil Kimber's home is now a pub - The Boundary House - in Oxford Road. Between 1982 and 1991, the MG badge re-appeared on sportier versions of Austin Rover's Metro, Maestro and Montego ranges. In 1992, the MG RV8 was launched, an up-dated MGB Roadster powered by a Rover V8 engine and produced in low volumes. In 1995, the completely new MG F two-seater roadster was launched, selling in volumes unthinkable since the 1970s. In 2000, then parent BMW sold the MG Rover Group to a consortium which used the MG badge on sportier Rover-based cars. Production ceased in April 2005 when MG Rover went into administration. The assets of MG Rover were bought by Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile in 2005, who themselves were bought by the Chinese company SAIC in 2007. In 2007 production of the MG TF roadster and MG 7 large sports saloon, derived from the Rover 75, started in China. Production of the MG TF re-started at Longbridge in small volumes in 2008.
MG Factory at Abingdon; ZA Magnette and MGA lines circa 1955Show Article
Edsel B Ford purchased a MG M-type, possibly the first US sale for this marque, which he used frequently for three years before adding it to the Henry Ford museum collection.Show Article
The MG Car Company was reorganised as the MG Car Company Ltd., with Sir William R Morris as Governing Director and Ceill Kimbrr as Managing Director, severing the legal link with Morris Garages.Show Article
The second day of the ‘Double 12 Hours’ at Brooklands, which was won on handicap by an MG Midget, driven in turn by the Earl of March and British aviation pioneer C. S. Staniland, at an average speed of 65.62 mph and covering a distance of 1,574.9 miles. Cars of this make took the first five places in the race. The event ran for 12 hours on the Friday, when the cars were backed up, and restarted at 8 a.m. the next morning for another 12 hours. There were 48 starters, but only 24 finished. The greatest actual distance was covered by a Talbot (1,902.9 miles), which ran into tenth place on handicap. British cars took the first 12 places.
The last MG 18/80 MkII was completed. The 18/80 was available with three types of bodywork , each of which was distinguished by a specific name. The two- door torpedo was called Mark I, while the two-door coupe was called Mark II. Both were offered from 1928 to 1932. The sedan , called Mark III, was instead assembled only from 1930 to 1931 . The three versions were based on Morris Oxford , from which they also took the characteristic "Bullnose" radiator , which in English means "bullet-shaped muzzle". The 18/80 was characterized by a grille with vertical fins typical of the MG models. The 18/80 had installed an engine with six cylinders in line of 2,468 cc of displacement that developed maximum output of about 80 hp of power . The Mark I and the Mark III were equipped with only one SU carburetor , while on the Mark II there were two. The maximum speed reached by the model was 125 km/h .
MG 18/80 Mark IIShow Article
Lord Nuffield (Sir William Norris) sold the MG Car Company Ltd and Wolseley Motors Ltd to the public corporation Morris Motors Ltd.Show Article
The SS Jaguar 2½-litre saloon with its 102 bhp six-cylinder Weslake-designed cross-flow ohv cylinder head on its Standard engine caused a sensation when it was launched at a trade luncheon for dealers and press at London's Mayfair Hotel. The show car was in fact a prototype. Luncheon guests were asked to write down the UK price for which they thought the car would be sold and the average of their answers was £765. Even in that deflationary period, the actual price at just £395 would have been a pleasant surprise for many customers. Also available was a similar looking but scaled-down version using a 1½-litre four-cylinder side-valve engine. The Motor magazine in its announcement issue of 24 September 1935 referred to the SS Jaguar's distinguished appearance, outstanding performance and attractive price. With its new 2½-litre engine it could now compete with Kimber's heavily influenced by Morris but brand new MG SA. Extract from the speech of chairman and managing director Mr W Lyons to the shareholders Friday 11 October 1935: "This new car, which is called the Jaguar and has received a most enthusiastic reception from the whole of the trade and public has been produced to an ideal. It has fulfilled all our most optimistic anticipations, for it was intended to produce a car of extremely high quality and performance, hitherto associated with only the most exclusive type of car, at a moderate price."[ Everyone else noted the new grille's likeness to a Bentley's.
SS Jaguar 2½-litre saloon advertisement 1936Show Article
Goldie Gardner driving an MG set the all-time Brooklands record for Class G (under 1100 cc) of 124.40 mph.Show Article
The MG SA 2-litre made its debut at the 30th International Motor Exhibition at Olympia in London. Olympia’s story began in May 1884 when John Whitley created the National Agricultural Hall Company with the aim of building and operating the country's largest covered show centre. The National Agricultural Hall soon changed its name to Olympia in keeping with its ideals and objectives. Opened in 1886, it covered an area of 4 acres. The Grand Hall, 450 feet by 250. The hall was said to be the largest building in the kingdom covered by one span of iron and glass.
MG SAShow Article
Goldie Gardner driving the MG EX135 on the Dessau (German) Autobahn set a Class G record for the mile (187.62 mph) and the kilometre.
MG EX135Show Article
Founder of the MG marque, Cecil Kimber (56), died. He was killed at King's Cross railway accident, having boarded the 6:00 pm express to Leeds. Shortly after leaving the station, the train wheels started slipping on a newly replaced section of rail inside Gasworks Tunnel. However, in the darkness, the driver failed to realise that the train was no longer moving forward and had in fact started to slip back down the hill at a speed of some 6 or 7 mph. A signalman, attempting to avert a collision with another train, switched the points, but unfortunately the train had already slid too far back down the track. The only effect was to derail the final carriage, forcing it onto its side and crushing it against the steel support of the main signal gantry, entirely demolishing the first-class compartment where Kimber had been sitting. He was one of only two casualties.
Cecil KimberShow Article
Donald Healey Motor Company Limited was formally incorporated. The business was founded by Donald Healey, a successful car designer and rally driver. Healey discussed sports car design with Achille Sampietro, a chassis specialist for high performance cars and Ben Bowden, a body engineer, when all three worked at Humber during World War II. Healey's new enterprise focused on producing expensive, high-quality, high-performance cars. It was based in an old aircraft components factory off Miller Road in Warwick. There he was joined by Roger Menadue from Armstrong Whitworth to run the experimental workshop. In later years they also had a now-demolished showroom (formerly a cinema) on Emscote Road, Warwick, commemorated by a new block of flats called Healey Court. The cars mainly used a tuned version of the proven Riley twin-cam 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine in a light steel box-section chassis of their own design using independent front suspension by coil springs and alloy trailing arms with Girling dampers. The rear suspension used a Riley live axle with coil springs again. Advanced design allowed soft springing to be combined with excellent road holding. Lockheed hydraulic brakes were used. When it was introduced in 1948, the Elliott saloon was claimed to be the fastest production closed car in the world, timed at 104.7 mph over a mile. The aerodynamic body design was the work of Benjamin Bowden and unusually for the time it was tested in a wind tunnel to refine its efficiency. This was the start of aerodynamic styling for reduced drag, that culminated in Bowden's last UK offering, the Zethrin Rennsport. In 1949 the most sporting of all the Healeys, the Silverstone, was announced. It had a shorter chassis and stiffer springing and was capable of 107 mph. It is now a highly sought after car and many of the other Healeys have been converted into Silverstone replicas. These cars had numerous competition successes including class wins in the 1947 and 1948 Alpine rallies and the 1949 Mille Miglia. Government planning and controls required any substantial expansion of production to be for the export market alone. So in 1950 Healey built the Nash-Healey using a Nash Ambassador engine with SU carburettors and Nash gearbox. Initially the 3848 cc unit was used but when in 1952 body construction was transferred from Healey to Pininfarina the larger 4138 cc engine was fitted. The final Healey car of this era was the G-Type using an Alvis TB21 engine and gearbox. This was more luxurious and heavier than the Riley engined models and performance suffered. Healey judged a cheaper sports car marketable in large numbers was needed to save the business, one that would fit between the MG and Jaguar cars then selling so well in USA. Working in with his eldest son Geoffrey in the attic of the family home, Healey designed a two-seat roadster employing numerous low-cost Austin components, the Austin-Healey 100. Austin chief Sir Leonard Lord was so impressed when he saw it on the Healey stand at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show he offered to make it in his own factories under the name Austin-Healey. The result was a 1953 a joint venture which created the British Motor Corporation to manufacture the Austin-Healey marque. The 100 evolved into the highly regarded and collector coveted 3-litre Austin-Healey 3000, followed by a diminutive 950cc Austin-Healey Sprite, known affectionately as the "frog-eye"or"Bugeye". Commenting on the 3000 after Donald Healey's death The Times observed: "The big Healey's brutally firm ride, heavy steering and engine so close it would roast a driver's feet never detracted from the superb, timeless styling and classic proportions." Donald Healey Motor Company was finally sold to the Hamblin Group, although Healey Automobile Consultants and the engineering parts of the company remained in the hands of Geoffrey and Donald Healey.
Healey badgeShow Article
The Longbridge car plant in the West Midlands (UK) produced its millionth car, an Austin. Opened in 1905, by the late 1960s Longbridge employed around 25,000 workers. A wide variety of products have been produced at the site during its history, although the core product has been cars, most notably the original two-door Mini. During the Second World War the main plant produced munitions and tank parts, while the nearby East Works of Austin Aero Ltd at Cofton Hackett produced several types of aeroplane such as the Short Stirling and the Hawker Hurricane. Originally a printing factory built on green fields the site has had a variety of private owners, as well as a period of state ownership. Since the collapse of MG Rover in 2005 part of the site has been redeveloped for commercial and residential usage. The remaining 69 acres of the site are owned by SAIC and is a manufacturing and research and development facility for its MG Motor subsidiary.
MG Rover works at Longbridge, BirminghamShow Article
Nanjing Automobile Group Corp. (NAC), a state-owned company was founded as military garage in Jiangsu. Its the oldest and currently fourth largest Chinese automobile manufacturer with 16,000 employees and annual production capacity of about 200,000 vehicles. Coincidently also on March 27, 2007 NAC revived MG brand and began production of MG sports cars.Show Article
The Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport coupe with a trend-setting body designed by Carrozzeria Pininfarina was introduced at the Fiera de Milano, Italy. The Pininafarina design was honored by New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1951. In the MOMA's first exhibit on automotive design, called "Eight Automobiles", the Cisitalia was displayed with seven other cars (1930 Mercedes-Benz SS tourer, 1939 Bentley saloon with coachwork by James Young, 1939 Talbot-Lago Figoni teardrop coupé, 1951 Willys Jeep, 1937 Cord 812 Custom Beverly Sedan, 1948 MG TC, and the 1941 Lincoln Continental coupe). It is still part of the MoMA permanent collection. It was not, however, a commercial success; because it was coachbuilt, it was expensive, and only 170 were produced between 1947 and 1952. Most cars were coachbuilt by Pinin Farina with some by Vignale and Stabilimenti Farina.Building on aerodynamic studies developed for racing cars, the Cisitalia offers one of the most accomplished examples of coachwork conceived as a single shell. The hood, body, fenders, and headlights are integral to the continuously flowing surface, rather than added on. Before the Cisitalia, the prevailing approach followed by automobile designers when defining a volume and shaping the shell was to treat each part of the body as a separate, distinct element—a box to house the passengers, another for the motor, and headlights as appendages. In the Cisitalia, there are no sharp edges. Swellings and depressions maintain the overall flow and unity, creating a sense of speed. The 202 is featured in the 2011 video game L.A. Noire by Rockstar Games and Team Bondi as a secret car called the Cisitalia Coupe.
Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport coupeShow Article
The first race meeting took place at the Goodwood race circuit, West Sussex, England organised by the Junior Car Club and sanctioned by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. The winner of the first race was P. de F. C. Pycroft, in his 2,664 c.c. Pycroft-Jaguar, at 66.42 m.p.h. Stirling Moss won the 500cc race (later to become Formula 3), followed by Eric Brandon and "Curly" Dryden, all in Coopers. The race lasted only three laps but he won by 25.8 seconds. Dudley Folland, in a single-seater MG K3, took the Madgwick Cup for Formula 2 cars.The highlight was the five-lap race for another new category; Formula One. Reg Parnell's latest model Maserati 4CLT/48 was pressed hard by Bob Gerard's pre-war ERA but Parnell won by four-tenths of a second, even though Gerard set the fastest lap, leaving with the outright lap record at 1'42.8", 83.39mph. A total of 10,478 paid at the gates, 1,000 club members also entered and an estimated 3,000 sneaked in. Goodwood became famous for its Glover Trophy non-championship Formula One race, Goodwood Nine Hours sports car endurance races run in 1952, 1953 and 1955, and the Tourist Trophy sports car race, run between 1958 and 1964. The cars that raced in those events can be seen recreating (in shorter form) the endurance races at the Goodwood Revival each year in the Sussex Trophy and the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy (RAC TT).
Goodwood circuit - 1948Show Article
Sam Collier drove an MG TC to victory at Bridgehampton, New York, USA, in a race for supercharged cars up to 1250cc and unsupercharged cars up to 1950ccShow Article
The first Heart Trophy Race was held at the Suffolk County (New York) Airport and was won by Brett Hannaway in an MG TC.Show Article
Goldie Gardner became the first driver to exceed 120 mph in Class J (below 350 cc) when he reached 121.048 mph on the Jabbeke Road in Belgium. Later that day he reached 104.725 mph in a MG YA to claim the 'World's Fastest Saloon' title for the marque.
MG YA (1947-53)
The first race staged at the Opa Locka Speedway, Florida, US was won by Bob Gegen in a supercharged MG TC.Show Article
In San Francisco the first Golden Gate Park Road Race was held. A 3.1-mile, eight-turn course was laid out in the western half of the park. Co-sponsored by The Guardsmen and the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department, the meeting was SCCA-sanctioned. Fifty-eight entries were accepted for the three races on the card: F3, sportscars under and sportscars over 1500cc. The under-1500s consisted mostly of MG TCs and TDs, while among the over-1500s were Jaguar XK120s, Allards, an Aston Martin, a Ferrari and a variety of specials. An estimated 50,000 spectators saw Roger Barlow (Simca Special) win the small-capacity category and Bill Pollack's Cad-Allard beat Phil Hill's Ferrari 212 in the main event. There were several changes made to improve crowd control and the racing for the second running in 1953. An even bigger crowd was anticipated and miles of snow fencing was erected to keep fans further from the track. An additional production car class replaced F3 and more entries were accepted: 87. OSCA, Giaur, Jowett, Nardi, C-type Jaguars and Healey Silverstones joined the more familiar MGs, Allards, Porsches and homebuilt specials. Ken Miles' R-1, an MG-based special, was the fastest 1500, but the man of the meeting was 21-year-old Masten Gregory, who belied his inexperience — just two races prior to this one — with a mature drive to victory aboard a C-type. A record 100,000 lined the course. The third meeting in 1954 was bigger and better: 143 entries, 115,000 spectators, four races. Bill David's OSCA ran away with the under-1500cc event and Jack McAfee's Ferrari 375 outran the field in the main event. Journalists and officials were by now speculating that Golden Gate Park's races might gain grand prix status and attract top international drivers to compete with America's best. Not everybody was enamoured, though. Environmentalists wielded power even then and the city fathers succumbed to their pressure to stop the races: too many people, too much noise, and damage to plants and trees. Racing cars were getting faster, too, increasing the chance of a big accident. The venue was consigned to history.
1952 Golden Gate Park Road RaceShow Article
Ken Miles drove the R-1, an MG special he built, to victory in the Desert Trophy Race at Palm Springs, California, USA.Show Article
George Lister in Cambridge, England founded Lister Cars. Inspired by Cooper, he used a tubular ladder chassis, de Dion rear axle, and inboard drum brakes. Like others, he used a tuned MG engine and stock gearbox. It made its debut at the British Empire Trophy at Oulton Park in 1954, with former MG pilot Archie Scott Brown at the wheel. Later, Lister swapped in a Moore-tuned Bristol two-litre engine and knockoff wire wheels in place of the MG's discs to improve performance. For the sports car race supporting the 1954 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Scott Brown won the two-litre class and placed fifth overall behind only works Aston Martins. In 1955, a handful of Lister-Bristols were built with a new body built by an ex-Bristol employee with the aid of a wind tunnel. Despite its new fins and strakes, it was less successful than the original Lister-Bristol of 1954. Lister moved up to a six-cylinder motor from a Formula 2 Maserati A6GCS for their own car, while customers continued to receive the Bristol motor, sold for ₤3900. Lister also attempted single-seater racing with a multi-tube chassis powered by a Coventry-Climax motor and using an MG gearbox, but the car was a failure. For 1957, Lister redesigned the car around a Jaguar D-type inline-six, with an aerodynamic aluminium body; it was tested by racing journalist John Bolster, performing a 0–100 mph (0–160 km/h) run in 11.2 seconds. Driver Archie Scott Brown won the 1957 British Empire Trophy in the new Lister-Jaguar. Refined again in 1958, the Lister-Jaguar entered international competitions. Brown was killed that season when he crashed the Lister-Jaguar at Spa-Francorchamps. Lister also developed another single-seater car based on the Lister-Jaguar, for use in the unique Race of Two Worlds at Monza. Cars from this era are affectionately known as the "Lister Knobbly" cars, due to their curved bodywork. For 1959, Lister hired aerodynamicist Frank Costin who produced entirely new bodywork built around a new Chevrolet Corvette powerplant. However, the front-engine layout of the new Lister-Chevrolet was quickly eclipsed by the rear-engine layout of the new Cooper sports car. By the end of 1959, Lister withdrew from competition, although production of sports cars continued for customers. In 1963 Brian Lister was chosen by the Rootes Group to prepare the Sunbeam Tiger for the prototype category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Ford V8-powered Tiger was still in the early stages of development while Lister were constructing the chassis at the Jensen factory. Lister beefed up the suspension and brakes, added an aerodynamic fastback hardtop with a more sloping windscreen and a Kamm tail. The 260 cu in (4,300 cc) Ford V8 engine was tuned by Carroll Shelby to give it 275 hp (205 kW) instead of the stock 160 hp (120 kW). The cars were designed with a top speed of 170 mph (270 km/h), but were developed in too short a time frame and both suffered engine failures. Rootes later received a refund for the engines. The two cars and one prototype mule still exist. The Lister company returned in 1986 as Lister Cars Ltd. based in Leatherhead, Surrey, with engineer Laurence Pearce tuning approximately 90 Jaguar XJSs, improving their capable top speed to over 200 mph and with an asking price of over £100,000. Success at this endeavour led the company to design a new sports racer, the Lister Storm. Launched in 1993, it would use the largest V12 engine ever fitted to a production road car up to that time, a 7.0 L Jaguar unit. The Storm was later developed for motorsport in various guises, winning the FIA GT Championship in 2000. Lister later developed a bespoked Le Mans Prototype, the Storm LMP in 2003. Brian Lister died in December 2014 aged 88.
Lister Jaguar CostinShow Article
British manufacturer MG Cars unveiled a new sports car, the MGA, capable of 97.8 mph, at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The MGA design dates back to 1951, when MG designer Syd Enever created a streamlined body for George Philips' TD Le Mans car. The problem with this car was the high seating position of the driver because of the limitations of using the TD chassis. A new chassis was designed with the side members further apart and the floor attached to the bottom rather than the top of the frame sections. A prototype was built and shown to the BMC chairman Leonard Lord. He turned down the idea of producing the new car as he had just signed a deal with Donald Healey to produce Austin-Healey cars two weeks before. Falling sales of the traditional MG models caused a change of heart, and the car, initially to be called the UA-series, was brought back. As it was so different from the older MG models it was called the MGA, the "first of a new line" to quote the contemporary advertising. There was also a new engine available, therefore the car did not have the originally intended XPAG unit but was fitted with the BMC corporate B-Series type allowing a lower bonnet line. The MGA convertible had no exterior door handles, however the coupe has door handles.It was a body-on-frame design and used the straight-4 "B series" engine from the MG Magnette saloon driving the rear wheels through a 4-speed gearbox. Suspension was independent with coil springs and wishbones at the front and a rigid axle with semi-elliptic springs at the rear. Steering was by rack and pinion. The car was available with either wire-spoked or steel-disc road wheels. A total of 101,081 units were sold through the end of production in July 1962, the vast majority of which were exported. Only 5869 cars were sold on the home market, the lowest percentage of any British car. It was replaced by the MGB.
MG MGAShow Article
The Morris Oxford Series VI, MG Magnette MkIV, Riley 4/72 and Wolseley 6/110 were launched.
MG Magnette MkIVShow Article
Production commenced of the Morris 1100, a small family car built by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and, later, British Leyland. The vehicle was in production until June 1974. The range was expanded to include several rebadged versions, including the twin-carburetted MG 1100, the Vanden Plas Princess (from October 1962), the Austin 1100 (August 1963), and finally the Wolseley 1100 and Riley Kestrel. Throughout the 1960s, the ADO16 was consistently the UK's best-selling car.
The MGB was launched. In structure the MGB was an innovative, modern design in 1962, utilizing a monocoque structure instead of the traditional body-on-frame construction used on both the MGA and MG T-types and the MGB's rival, the Triumph TR series. Wind-up windows were standard, and a comfortable driver's compartment offered plenty of legroom. The MGB achieved a 0–60 mph (96 km/h) time of just over 11 seconds. The 3-bearing 1798 cc B-Series engine produced 95 hp (71 kW) at 5,400 rpm — upgraded in October 1964 to a five-bearing crankshaft.
The MG 1100 four-door saloon costing £949 was launched in Britain. Like the Morris 1100, the two-door saloon was reserved for export only. The MG 1100 had a more powerful 55 bhp twin carburettor version of the A Series engine and a more luxurious interior.
MG 1100 - 1962 advertShow Article
Austin Healey Sprite MkIII and MG Midget MkII were launched.
Sprite MKIIIShow Article
The roadside breathalyser was used for the first time in the United Kingdom. The new measures were brought in by Transport Minister Barbara Castle as part of the Road Safety Act, with a drink-drive limit of 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood. Drivers faced a 12 month ban if they found to be over the limit. There was much opposition to its introduction with pubs stating it would put them out of business and motorists claiming it was an infringement of personal liberties. Traffic accidents dropped dramatically once it came into force.
The film "The Graduate" opened at two theatres in New York: the Coronet on Third Avenue and the Lincoln Art Theater on Broadway. The film, based on a 1963 novel by Charles Webb, "The Graduate" made household names out of many of its stars. Though the young stage actor Dustin Hoffman had never been in a movie before, he rocketed to stardom thanks to his brilliant portrayal of the film's protagonist, the aimless Benjamin Braddock. At the same time, a marginally famous folk-pop duo called Simon & Garfunkel sold millions of records as a result of the film, which made their songs a part of its narrative in complex and sophisticated ways. The movie also made a star out of Benjamin Braddock's graduation present: a bright-red Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider. Alfa Romeo had been making racecars for decades—even Enzo Ferrari drove an Alfa before he began building his own racers—but had never sold very many in the United States. (American customers preferred larger cars, and when they did buy smaller sports cars they tended to buy them from British manufacturers like MG and Triumph.) But the 1967 Duetto Spider, a two-seat convertible roadster, was a real beauty: It had a sharp nose and a rounded, tapered rear end, glass-covered headlights, and what designers called a "classic scallop" running down the side. It handled well, could go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 10 seconds, and got 23 miles per gallon of gas.
British Motor Corporation and Leyland announced that they would merge to form the British Leyland Corporation. It was partly nationalised in 1975, when the UK government created a holding company called British Leyland, later BL, in 1978. It incorporated much of the British-owned motor vehicle industry, which constituted 40 percent of the UK car market, with roots going back to 1895. Despite containing profitable marques such as Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover, as well as the best-selling Mini, British Leyland had a troubled history. In 1986 it was renamed as the Rover Group, later to become MG Rover Group, which went into administration in 2005, bringing mass car production by British-owned manufacturers to an end. MG and the Austin, Morris and Wolseley marques became part of China's SAIC, with whom MG Rover attempted to merge prior to administration. Today, Mini, Jaguar Land Rover and Leyland Trucks (now owned by BMW Group, TATA and Paccar, respectively) are the three most prominent former parts of British Leyland which are still active in the automotive industry, with SAIC-owned MG Motor continuing a small presence at the Longbridge site. Certain other related ex-BL businesses, such as Unipart, continue to operate independently.
British Motor Holdings (BMH) merged with LMVC (Leyland Motor Vehicle Corporation) to become British Leyland Motor Corporation. It was partly nationalised in 1975, when the UK government created a holding company called British Leyland, later BL, in 1978. It incorporated much of the British-owned motor vehicle industry, which constituted 40 percent of the UK car market, with roots going back to 1895. Despite containing profitable marques such as Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover, as well as the best-selling Mini, British Leyland had a troubled history. In 1986 it was renamed as the Rover Group, later to become MG Rover Group, which went into administration in 2005, bringing mass car production by British-owned manufacturers to an end. MG and the Austin, Morris and Wolseley marques became part of China's SAIC, with whom MG Rover attempted to merge prior to administration. Today, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover and Leyland Trucks (now owned by BMW Group, TATA and Paccar, respectively) are the three most prominent former parts of British Leyland which are still active in the automotive industry, with SAIC-owned MG Motor continuing a small presence at the Longbridge site. Certain other related ex-BL businesses, such as Unipart), continue to operate independently.Show Article
The Morris 1800S, MG 1300 Mk II, Riley Kestrel 1300 Mk II and Wolseley 1300 Mk II were launched.
The MG 1300 was withdrawn from the UK market.
The MG-S (also known as MG S1300) was introduced in Spain (with three round instruments, leather steering wheel and leather seats).Show Article
British Leyland was nationalised. It incorporated much of the British-owned motor vehicle industry, which constituted 40 percent of the UK car market, with roots going back to 1895. Despite containing profitable marques such as Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover, as well as the best-selling Mini, British Leyland had a troubled history. In 1986 it was renamed as the Rover Group, later to become MG Rover Group, which went into administration in 2005, bringing mass car production by British-owned manufacturers to an end. MG and the Austin, Morris and Wolseley marques became part of China's SAIC, with whom MG Rover attempted to merge prior to administration. Today, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover and Leyland Trucks (now owned by BMW Group, TATA and Paccar, respectively) are the three most prominent former parts of British Leyland which are still active in the automotive industry, with SAIC-owned MG Motor continuing a small presence at the Longbridge site. Certain other related ex-BL businesses, such as Unipart), continue to operate independently.
British Leyland (BL) announced it was to end production of all MG models. The history of the marque has been a bumpy one since the creation of the brand in 1924 by Cecil Kimber, who chose the letters MG as a tribute to William Morris, the owner of Morris Garages.The original MGs – known as Morris Garage Chummies – were made by fitting tourer bodies to Morris Cowley chassis. Purists, however, say the first true MG was the 14/28 sports model, which was also the first to sport the distinctive octagonal logo.Originally the cars were built in Oxford, but production was shifted a few miles south to Abingdon in 1929, where it continued until the plant was closed amid huge protests in 1980. The Prince of Wales was one of a number of distinguished MG owners. His first car was a cobalt blue MGC GT, which was bought in January 1968. Ironically on the day the Abingdon plant shut, he was performing the official opening of British Leyland’s Mini Metro plant in Longbridge, where MGs had also been produced since 1962. The closure of Abingdon also stopped production of the much loved two-seater sports cars, even though the brand was kept alive by Austin Rover, who stuck the badge on an array of unimpressive saloon cars and hatchbacks. These Metros, Maestros and Montegos may have been sportier than their conventional counterparts, but they were not true MGs and did not attract the devotion of the MGB, which had become the world’s top selling sports car. “The marque has a great deal of affection, but has not been treated particularly well,” said Chris Seaward of the MG Car Club. It has been passed from house to house.” In 1995, when the MG was owned by BMW, the MGF – a proper sports car in line with the marque’s heritage was launched. It was hugely successful. In 2000 BMW sold the business to the Rover group which stuck the MG badge on some Rovers, as well as continuing to produce sports cars. It was not a happy period with the company going into receivership and production stopping after an ill-fated rescue attempt by the so-called Phoenix Four, which made huge amounts for the businessmen involved but not for the staff on the Longbridge production line. In April 2005 the MG MG Rover Group went into administration, after which it was bought by NAC China’s oldest carmaker. Production restarted in 2007 in China, and later at Longbridge plant in the UK under the current manufacturer MG Motor. The first all-new model from MG in the UK for 16 years, the MG 6, was officially launched on 26 June 2011.
MG's logo since 2006Show Article
The last MG Midget rolled off the production line. The Midget can trace its lineage back to the Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite, the car which brought affordable sports car motoring to the British public in 1958. In 1961 the Austin-Healey Sprite Mk2 arrived, and with it the badge engineered MG Midget – a better appointed version that shared the majority of components with its Austin-Healey stablemate. Original cars were fitted with a 948cc A-series engine – the same engine that was used in the Frogeye in 1958, only uprated from 43bhp to 46bhp. Twin SU carburettors and the revvy nature of the A-series engine made performance engaging, if not truly quick. By 1962 the ageing 948cc engine was replaced by the updated 1098cc A-series, which was also shared with the Morris Minor, amongst others. Peak power was now a healthy 56bhp and the front drum brakes were replaced with more powerful discs as a result. While early cars certainly have their charms, they are somewhat lacking in creature comforts – a heater was only an option and windows were in the form of side screens, or curtains.
BL agreed to sell its MG works at Abingdon to a consortium headed by Aston Martin-Lagonda. The last car to be built there was the MGB, and after the closure of the Abingdon plant, the MG marque was temporarily abandoned. Although many plants were closed by BL, none created such an uproar among workers, dealers, clubs, and customers as this closure did. Years later, Sir Michael Edwardes expressed regret about his decision. In 1982, the MG marque was revived and the Austin Rover Group built high-performance versions of their saloon and hatchback models built at Longbridge (Metro) or Cowley (Maestro and Montego). The MG Metro continued until 1990, with the Maestro and Montego versions being suspended a year later.
Abingdon - the Spiritual Home of MGShow Article
A consortium headed by Aston Martin-Lagona failed in its attempt to buy British Leyland’s MG Works at Abingdon.Show Article
Production ceased of the MGB, Britain's best-selling sports car. It was produced by the British Motor Corporation and sold under the MG marque. Available in both convertible and coupe ("GT") forms, it was launched in May 1962 to replace the MGA.
Traditional MG production ended as a MGB was completed at the Abingdon, England factory. Total production for the 51 year history of the marque was 1,155,032, although the marque would soon be revived in various badge-engineered forms.
The Triumph Acclaim, a badge-engineered Honda, was officially launched and produced until 1984 when the Triumph marque was discontinued. The development process began in 1978, when British Leyland entered into negotiations with Honda to develop a new small family saloon. This was originally intended as a stopgap measure until the Maestro/Montego models were to be ready for production in 1983. On 26 December 1979 Michael Edwardes officially signed a collaboration between the two companies. The new car went into production 18 months later, badged as the Triumph Acclaim and based on the Honda Ballade (which was not sold in Europe). It replaced the Triumph Dolomite, which had finished production a year earlier at the defunct Canley plant in Coventry. The end of Dolomite and TR7 production meant that the Acclaim was the only car to wear the Triumph badge after 1981. The Acclaim was significant as the first essentially Japanese car to be built within the European Economic Community (now the European Union), to bypass Japan's voluntary limit of 11 percent market of the total number of European sales. The Acclaim was also a major turnaround point for BL itself, with the car sporting good reliability and build quality from the outset - a stark contrast to the quality issues which had plagued the Austin Allegro and Morris Marina during the 1970s. The Acclaim holds the record for the lowest percentage of warranty claims for a BL car. Unlike previous Triumphs, it was assembled at the Pressed Steel Fisher Plant at Cowley Oxford, taking over the withdrawn Austin Maxi production lines. It paved the way for the Honda-based, Rover-badged range of cars which BL (and successor organisations Austin Rover and Rover Group) would develop throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The most notable outward change from the Honda was the appearance of a central badge on the grille. At the time, the Japanese model had "Honda" to the right-hand side of the grille. Other changes included twin Keihin carburettors (the Ballade had only a single carburettor), the mirrors were situated on the doors, the independent front and rear MacPherson strut suspension was tweaked for the UK market and the seats were based on Morris Ital frames. The Acclaim was provided in a more luxurious interior trim than its Honda equivalent, even in its base models. The brakes were disc at the front and drum at the rear. All Acclaims were powered by the transverse-mounted all alloy and overhead-cam 1335 cc engine found in the Honda Civic. This engine was a member of the Honda CVCC family, although the cast alloy rocker cover with Honda branding was replaced with a plain black pressed steel item for the Acclaim to disguise the car's Honda origins. The engine drove the front wheels through either a five-speed manual gearbox or a three-speed Trio-matic (which was a manually selectable automatic transmission) gearbox (the same as the Hondamatic) and the interior was nearly identical (except for the seats). The usual BL trim levels were offered: L, HL, HLS and the top of the range CD, which had front and rear electric windows, chrome bumpers, headlamp washers, 165/70 tyres (the L had 145/80 tyres and the HL & HLS had 155/80 tyres), plastic wheel trims, velour upholstery with seat pockets on the back of the front seats, front seat head restraints and optional air conditioning. The car remained largely the same throughout its production life. A Mark 2 version of the Acclaim came out in 1983 (from VI No. 180415 onwards). The main changes were to the exterior door handles, an electronic digital clock replaced the previous mechanical one, a restyled steering wheel, a restyled gear knob, the rear interior door handles (they were just swapped) and the heater recirculation control, which was moved. Mark 2 HL and HLS cars were better equipped than the earlier ones. There was a limited-edition Avon Acclaim, getting its name from Avon coachbuilders of Warwick who did the conversion work, that had leather seats with piping to match the body colour, leather door panels, wooden and leather trimmed dashboard, wooden door cappings, two-tone metallic paint, colour-coded wheels with chrome embellishers, chrome-plated grille, colour-coded headlamp surrounds, vinyl roof and extra soundproofing. There was also an Avon Turbo, which had Lunar alloy wheels with 205/60 tyres, suede upholstery, front air dam, and side decals. A Turbo Technics turbocharger increased the engine's power output from the standard 70 bhp to 105 bhp. It is thought that there are only four surviving Avon Turbos including the press car (VWK689X), which was the first Avon Turbo. The acclaim was Britain's seventh best selling car in 1982 and the eighth best selling car in 1983. Production finished in the summer of 1984 when the Rover 200 was launched, based on the next incarnation of the Honda Ballade. A total of 133,625 Acclaims were produced, the vast majority of which were sold in the UK. The last Acclaim off the production line (a silver CD with the Trio-matic) is now in the Heritage Motor Centre. The Acclaim's demise saw the end of the Triumph marque as a car (although the name continues in motorcycles), as Austin Rover's restructuring retained only the Austin, Rover and MG marques, and by 1989 even the Austin marque had been axed. Earlier in 1984, Austin Rover had confirmed that the Triumph brand would be discontinued when the Acclaim was replaced, and its successor would be badged as a Rover. On Sunday 9 October 2011, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Acclaim, 23 Acclaims were gathered at the Cowley works where the cars were built and the Heritage Motor Centre. This included the oldest known surviving Acclaim, the first Avon Turbo, the final production Acclaim and the only known nut-and-bolt restored Acclaim.
BL Cars Ltd reintroduced the MG marque as a non-sporting variant of its Metro. The changes between the MG engine (taken directly from the Mini Cooper) and the standard 1275 included a modified cylinder head, with larger valves and improved porting, altered cam profile and larger carburettor leading to a 20% increase in BHP to 72 bhp. At the October 1982 Birmingham Motor Show the MG Metro Turbo variant was first shown. With a quoted bhp of 93, 0–60 mph in 8.9 seconds, and top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h) this car had few direct competitors at the time, although the growing demand for "hot hatches" meant that it soon had a host of competitors including the Ford Fiesta XR2, Peugeot 205 GTI and Renault 5 GT Turbo. This model had a few addition modifications bolted on over the normally aspirated MG model to give an additional 21 bhp. Aside from the turbocharger and exhaust system itself, and what was (at the time) a relatively sophisticated boost delivery and control system, the MG Turbo variant incorporated stiffer suspension (purportedly with engineering input from Lotus), and an uprated crankshaft of nitrided steel and sodium-cooled exhaust valves. Both MG variants were given a "sporty" interior with red seat belts, red carpets and a sports-style steering wheel. The Turbo also benefited from an LCD boost pressure gauge. The Turbo also received alloy wheels, black wheel arch extensions, blacked out trim, a rear spoiler surrounding the windshield, and prominent "TURBO" decals. While it retained rear drums, the front disc brakes were changed to ventilated units. The later MG variants were emblazoned with the MG logo both inside and out, which only served to fuel claims of badge engineering from some of the more steadfast MG enthusiasts. Others believed that this sentiment was unfounded, particularly in the case of the turbo variant, due to the undeniably increased performance and handling when compared to the non-MG models. From 1983, the MG badge also found its way onto higher performance versions of the Maestro, and shortly afterwards it was adopted for higher performance versions of the Montego.
MG MetroShow Article
The launch of the seven car Austin Maestro range was greeted with huge enthusiasm; maybe more so by the dealers than the public, who after enduring some horrible years selling some horrible mid-range cars, had something new and competent to sell. "Miracle Maestro – Driving is Believing" claimed the brochure for the long-awaited Allegro replacement. In its summing up of the new car the Consumers' Association, in the June edition of Which? magazine described it as roomy, comfortable, and nice to drive, and said "If you are considering buying one now, our advice, based on our first impressions, is to go ahead". In January 1984, after testing the car, they concluded: "In comparison with opposition of a similar price and body size, the Maestro has a clear advantage on room for passengers, with few cars equalling it for comfort either in the front or back". They also considered it to be a serious rival to the higher-segment Vauxhall Cavalier and Ford Sierra, apart from its smaller boot space. The Maestro incorporated many novel and pioneering features for its class. It had a bonded laminated windscreen, homofocal headlamps, body-coloured plastic bumpers, an electronic engine management system, adjustable front seat belt upper anchorage positions, an asymmetrically split rear seat, and a 12,000-mile (19,300 km) service interval. The MG and Vanden Plas versions had solid-state instrumentation with digital speedometer and vacuum fluorescent analogue displays for tachometer, fuel and temperature gauges, trip computer and a voice synthesis warning and information system.The car was a reasonable success, but not as much as beleaguered BL had hoped. After the "boom" years of 1986 and 1987, Maestro sales went into terminal decline. Production ceased in 1995 - although descendants of the Maestro are still being produced in China.
The Austin and MG Montego’s were showcased to the press in the South of France. It was initially available as a four-door saloon only, filling the gap in the range left by the discontinuation of the Morris Ital saloon two months earlier. However, it would be produced alongside the Ital estate until that model was axed in August 1984. The estate variant was launched at the British International Motor Show in October of that year. The 150 bhp (112 kW) MG turbocharged variant was released in early 1985 as the fastest production MG ever with a 0–60 mph time of 7.3 seconds, and a top speed of 126 mph (203 km/h). The Vanden Plas version, and featured leather seats, walnut veneer and features such as electric windows, central locking and power door mirrors. Like the Maestro, the Montego suffered from its overly long development phase, which had been begun in 1975 and which was hampered throughout by the industrial turmoil that plagued both British Leyland and Austin Rover Group during this period. The Ryder Report had recommended the costly modernization of both the Longbridge and Cowley factories, and since Longbridge was to come on stream first - the Austin Metro was put in production first, even though its design had been started after the Maestro/Montego. As a direct result of this delay, the two cars were now stylistically out of step, having been styled by several different designers - Ian Beech, David Bache, Roger Tucker and finally, Roy Axe, had all contributed to the Montego's styling. Arguably, both the Maestro and Montego had been compromised by the re-use of a single platform, doors and wheelbase to bridge two size classes - a mistake that BMC/BL had made before with the Austin 1800 and the Austin Maxi in the 1960s. Indeed, Roy Axe, when installed as Austin Rover's director of design in 1982 was so horrified by the design of the Maestro and Montego when he first viewed them in prototype form recommended that they be scrapped and the whole design exercise restarted. Like many BL cars before it, early Montegos suffered from build quality and reliability problems which badly damaged the car's reputation amongst the public. In some ways, the technology was ahead of its time, notably the solid-state instrumentation and engine management systems, but the "talking" dashboard fitted to high-end models (and initially used to promote the Montego as an advanced high-tech offering) was prone to irritating faults and came to be regarded as something of an embarrassment by BL and the British press. This feature was discontinued after a short period. There were also problems with the early sets of body-coloured bumpers which tended to crack in cold weather at the slightest impact. Development on the Montego continued. A replacement was proposed by Roy Axe in 1986, which would have been the existing Montego core structure clothed with new outer panels to mimic the design language set by the recently launched Rover 800-series, and would have been designated the Rover 400-series. This concept, designated AR16, would have also spawned a five-door hatchback version (designated AR17) to better compete with the Ford Sierra and Vauxhall Cavalier. The AR16/17 concepts were however abandoned due to lack of funds, and a facelift to the existing car (designated AR9) released in 1988 enhanced its appeal, which was buoyed up by both the Perkins-engined Diesel model, and the seven-seater version of the "Countryman" estate. The 2-litre turbodiesel (often known by its Perkins designation 'Prima') was a development of the O-Series petrol engine already used in the range. The diesel saloon won a CAR magazine 'giant test' against the Citroën BX (1.8 XUDT), the then new Peugeot 405 (1.8 XUDT) and Audi 80 (1.6) turbo diesels. They rated the 405 the best car, followed by the BX and then the Montego, with the Audi coming in last. "But if people buy diesels, and turbo diesel for their economy, the winner has to be the Montego. ...its engine is - even when roundly thrashed - more than 10% more economical than the rest. For those isolated moments when cost control is not of the essence, the Montego is a car you can enjoy too. The steering and driving position are quite excellent. ...the suspension as 'impressively refined'. It is silent over rough bumps, poised and well damped." The turbo diesel became a favourite of the RAF for officer transport. Car Mechanics Magazine ran an RAF officer transport de-mobbed Montego bought from a Ministry of Defence auction in 1996.The facelift also saw the phasing out of the Austin name. These late-1980s models had a badge resembling the Rover Viking longship, but it was not identical, nor did the word "Rover" ever appear on the cars.Though the car failed to match its rivals, such as the Volkswagen Passat, the car sold well[clarification needed] to the likes of the Ford Sierra and Vauxhall Cavalier. By the early 1990s, the Montego was terminally aged, and production effectively ceased when the replacement car, the Rover 600, was launched in 1993 (special fleet orders were hand-built until 1994, while estates continued until 1995). In its final year, What Car? magazine said "Austin Rover's once 'great white hope', Montego matured into a very decent car — but nobody noticed". The chassis development for the Montego and Maestro's rear suspension was used as a basis for later Rover cars, and was well regarded. Montegos continued to be built in small numbers in CKD form at the Cowley plant in Oxford until 1994, when production finally ended. The last car was signed by all those that worked on it, and is now on display at the British Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire. A total of 546,000 Austin/Rover Montegos and 23,000 MG Montegos were produced, with Britain by far being the biggest market for the car. In all, 436,000 Montegos were sold in the UK between 1984 and 1995. In August 2006, a survey by Auto Express revealed that the Montego was Britain's eighth-most scrapped car, with just 8,988 still in working order. Contributing to this, areas of the bodywork that were to be covered by plastic trim (such as the front and rear bumpers) were left unpainted and thus unprotected. In addition, pre-1989 models fitted with the A and S-series engines cannot run on unleaded petrol without the cylinder head being converted or needing fuel additives. This led to many owners simply scrapping the cars, as leaded petrol was removed from sale in Britain after 1999, and by 2003 most petrol stations had stopped selling LRP (lead replacement petrol) due to the falling demand for it. The Austin Montego, like many other Austin Rover cars at the time, offered a high luxury model. Sold opposite the MG, the Montego Vanden Plas was the luxury alternative. The Vanden Plas featured leather seats and door cards (velour in the estate version), powered windows, mirrors, door locks and sunroof. Alloy wheels were offered and later became standard on all cars. An automatic gearbox was also offered. It was available in both saloon and estate bodystyles. All Vanden Plas Montegos were 2.0 litres, either EFi (electronic fuel injection) or standard carburettor engines.
MG MontegoShow Article
Austin Rover announced its second new car launch of the year — the Rover 200, a four-door saloon which replaced the Triumph Acclaim and was the combine's second product from its venture with Japanese car maker Honda. As a result, the Triumph marque was discontinued by Austin Rover. There have been three distinct generations of the Rover 200 during its 21 years (1984-2005) production run. The first generation was a four-door saloon car based on the Honda Ballade. The second generation was available in three or five-door hatchback forms, as well a coupé and cabriolet (in relatively small numbers). Its sister model, the Honda Concerto was built on the same production line in Rover's Longbridge factory. The final generation was developed independently by Rover on the platform of its predecessor, and was available as a three or five-door hatchback. Just before the sale of Rover in 2000, and following a facelift, the model was renamed and sold as the Rover 25, and the MG ZR was based on the Rover 25 with mechanical changes to the suspension. Production ceased in 2005 when MG Rover went into administration. Production rights and tooling for the model, but not the Rover name, now belong to Chinese car manufacturer Nanjing.
Rover 200 - 1984Show Article
The stunning MG EX-E concept was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The EX-E was a mid-engined sportscar inspired by the Ferrari 308 and designed by Roy Axe and Gerry McGovern. The car's drivetrain and chassis were derived from the mid-engined MG Metro 6R4 rally car. The EX-E concept car did not lead to a production version, although Gerry McGovern did go on to style the later, smaller MG F sportscar. The car is now preserved in the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, England.
MG EX-EShow Article
Austin-Rover was renamed the Rover Group. It initially included the Austin Rover Group car business (comprising the Austin, Rover, Mini and MG marques), Land Rover Group, Freight Rover vans and Leyland Trucks. The Rover Group was owned by British Aerospace (BAe) from 1988 to 1994, when BAe sold the remaining car business to the German company BMW. The group was further broken up in 2000, when Ford acquired the Land Rover division, with the Rover and MG marques continuing with the much smaller MG Rover Group until 2005. Ownership of the original Rover Group marques is currently split between BMW (Germany), SAIC (China), and Tata Motors (India).
Rover Group logo 1986Show Article
British Aerospace (BAe) purchased 'The Rover Group' for £150 million. The Rover Group plc was the name given in 1986 to the British vehicle manufacturer BL (formerly British Leyland), which had been state-owned company since 1975. It initially included the Austin Rover Group car business (comprising the Austin, Rover, Mini and MG marques), Land Rover Group, Freight Rover vans and Leyland Trucks. The Rover Group also owned the dormant trademarks from the many companies that had merged into BL and its predecessors such as Triumph, Morris, Wolseley, Riley and Alvis. BAe sold the remaining car business to the German company BMW in 1994. The group was further broken up in 2000, when Ford acquired the Land Rover division, with the Rover and MG marques continuing with the much smaller MG Rover Group until 2005. Ownership of the original Rover Group marques is currently split between BMW (Germany), SAIC (China), and Tata Motors (India), the latter owning the Rover marque itself with its subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover owning much of the assets of the historic Rover company.
Jaguar XJ220 made its public debut as a concept car at the Birmingham Motor Show, England. JaguarSport created a purpose built factory at Bloxham, near Oxford for a limited production run of 350 cars. It went into production in 1990, costing £350,000 and becoming the world's fastest production car with a top speed of 220 mph. The first new Aston Martin for 18 years, the Virage was also revealed. Other vehicles introduced at the show included the MG Maestro Turbo and Middlebridge Scimitar.
Jaguar XJ220Show Article
The Mazda MX-5 was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, with a price tag of US$14,000. The MX5's first generation, the NA, sold over 400,000 units from May 1989 to 1997 – with a 1.6 L (98 cu in) straight-4 engine to 1993, a 1.8 L (110 cu in) engine thereafter (with a de-tuned 1.6 as a budget option in some markets) – recognizable by its pop-up headlights. The second generation (NB) was introduced in 1999 with a slight increase in engine power; it can be recognized by the fixed headlights and the glass rear window, although first generation owners may opt for the glass window design when replacing the original top. The third generation (NC) was introduced in 2006 with a 2.0 L (120 cu in) engine. Launched at a time when production of small roadsters had almost come to an end, the Alfa Romeo Spider was the only comparable volume model in production at the time of the MX-5's launch. Just a decade earlier, a host of similar models — notably the MG B, Triumph TR7, Triumph Spitfire, and Fiat Spider — had been available. The body is a conventional, but light, unibody or monocoque construction, with (detachable) front and rear subframes. The MX-5 also incorporates a longitudinal truss, marketed as the Powerplant Frame (PPF), providing a rigid connection between the engine and differential, minimizing flex and contributing to responsive handling. Some MX-5s feature limited slip differentials and anti-lock braking system. Traction control is an option available on NC models. All models weighed approximately one tonne. With an approximate 50:50 front/rear weight balance, the car has nearly neutral handling. Inducing oversteer is easy and very controllable, thus making the MX-5 a popular choice for amateur and stock racing, including, in the US, the Sports Car Club of America's Solo2 autocross and Spec Miata race series, and in the UK, the 5Club Racing championship. Raddatz and Otten won the AASA Australian Endurance Championship in 2011. The MX-5 has won awards including Wheels Magazine 's Car of the Year for 1989, 2005 and 2016; Sports Car International's "best sports car of the 1990s" and "ten best sports cars of all time"; 2005–2006 Car of the Year Japan; and 2005 Australian Car of the Year. The Miata has also made Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list 14 times. In their December 2009 issue, Grassroots Motorsports magazine named the Miata as the most important sports car built during the previous 25 years. In 2009, English automotive critic Jeremy Clarkson wrote: "The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it fourteen."
Mazda MX5 - 1990 brochureShow Article
The 250,000th Mazda MX-5 Miata was produced. The MX5's first generation, the NA, sold over 400,000 units from May 1989 to 1997 – with a 1.6 L (98 cu in) straight-4 engine to 1993, a 1.8 L (110 cu in) engine thereafter (with a de-tuned 1.6 as a budget option in some markets) – recognizable by its pop-up headlights. The second generation (NB) was introduced in 1999 with a slight increase in engine power; it can be recognized by the fixed headlights and the glass rear window, although first generation owners may opt for the glass window design when replacing the original top. The third generation (NC) was introduced in 2006 with a 2.0 L (120 cu in) engine. Launched at a time when production of small roadsters had almost come to an end, the Alfa Romeo Spider was the only comparable volume model in production at the time of the MX-5's launch. Just a decade earlier, a host of similar models — notably the MG B, Triumph TR7, Triumph Spitfire, and Fiat Spider — had been available. The body is a conventional, but light, unibody or monocoque construction, with (detachable) front and rear subframes. The MX-5 also incorporates a longitudinal truss, marketed as the Powerplant Frame (PPF), providing a rigid connection between the engine and differential, minimizing flex and contributing to responsive handling. Some MX-5s feature limited slip differentials and anti-lock braking system. Traction control is an option available on NC models. All models weighed approximately one tonne. With an approximate 50:50 front/rear weight balance, the car has nearly neutral handling. Inducing oversteer is easy and very controllable, thus making the MX-5 a popular choice for amateur and stock racing including, in the US, the Sports Car Club of America's Solo2 autocross and Spec Miata race series, and in the UK, the 5Club Racing championship. Raddatz and Otten won the AASA Australian Endurance Championship in 2011. The MX-5 has won awards including Wheels Magazine 's Car of the Year for 1989, 2005 and 2016; Sports Car International's "best sports car of the 1990s" and "ten best sports cars of all time"; 2005–2006 Car of the Year Japan; and 2005 Australian Car of the Year. The Miata has also made Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list 14 times. In their December 2009 issue, Grassroots Motorsports magazine named the Miata as the most important sports car built during the previous 25 years. In 2009, English automotive critic Jeremy Clarkson wrote: "The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it fourteen".
Mazda MX-5Show Article
The famous MG sports car brand, not seen on a volume sports car since 1980, was revived when the Rover Group unveiled the new MGF sports car which went on sale in the autumn of 1995. It was powered by a 1.8 L K-Series 16-valve engine, the basic having 118 hp (87 kW) while the more powerful VVC (variable valve control) had 143 hp (107 kW). Rover Special Projects oversaw the development of the F's design and before finalising the styling bought-in outside contractors to determine the most appropriate mechanical configuration for the new car. Steve Harper of MGA Developments produced the initial design concept in January 1991 (inspired by the Jaguar XJR-15 and the Ferrari 250LM), before Rover's in house design team refined the concept under the leadership of Gerry McGovern. An interesting feature of the F was its Hydragas suspension, a system employing interconnected fluid and gas displacers which provided a surprisingly compliant ride but which could be tuned to provide excellent handling characteristics. The MG F quickly shot to the top of the affordable sports car charts in Britain and remained there until the introduction of the MG TF in 2002.
The mid-engined, rear wheel drive MGF roadster was launched. Produced from 1995 until 2011, the MGF, designed and produced by Rover Group, was the first all-new car to bear the MG marque since the MG MGB that was produced from 1962 to 1980. Production of the MG TF paused in 2005, when MG Rover went into receivership, and resumed in 2007 under the company's new owners Nanjing Automobile of China.
The last MG RV8 was produced in Cowley, England. The MG RV8 was a hugely important step in the 1990s rebirth of its maker after more than a decade of saloon and hatchback-only production. Since Abingdon's closure in 1980, MG had been reserved for the Metro, Maestro and Montego - and although these cars were worthy, what enthusiasts really wanted was a new MG roadster. In creating the RV8, Rover very cleverly used a combination of off-the-shelf parts, such as the Range Rover's V8 engine and British Motor Heritage MGB bodyshell. So, in this incarnation of the MGB, the rubber bumper specification body was taken and modified to accept a new set of beautifully curvaceous outer panels. The 3.9-litre Range Rover EFi V8 engine developed 185bhp, and gave the RV8 enough power to crack 6.0 seconds for the 0-60mph run. A five-speed LT77 gearbox, derived from the Rover SD1, was used along with a new Salisbury axle. Very significant modifications were made to the suspension and brakes to bring the car up to date. The interior featured magnolia leather and burr elm. Most RV8s made were sold in Japan, but many of them have subsequently made their way back to the UK.
MG RV8Show Article
Alchemy Partners announced the impending launch of the MG Car Company following an outline agreement with BMW to acquire the Rover Group. The new company would continue with Rover's current model range of the 25, 45, 75 and "Old Mini" and would provide an ongoing service to Rover's customers.Show Article
BMW sold the bulk of the Rover Group (the Rover and MG marques) to the Phoenix Consortium, while it retained the rights to the Mini marque, and sold Land Rover to Ford. MG Rover went into administration in 2005 and its key assets were purchased by Nanjing Automobile Group, with Nanjing restarting MG sports car and sports saloon production in 2007. During that year Nanjing merged with SAIC Motor (the largest vehicle manufacturer in China). During 2009 the UK Subsidiary was renamed MG Motor UK. The MG TF was manufactured at the former MG Rover Longbridge plant and sold within the UK from 2008 - 2010. In 2011 the first all new MG for 16 years (the MG 6) was launched in the UK (assembled at the Longbridge factory). During 2013 a super-mini was added to the line up (the MG 3), this went on to help MG Motor become the fastest growing car manufacturer within the UK in 2014. The Rover brand, which had been retained by BMW and licensed to MG Rover, was sold to Ford, which had bought Land Rover from BMW in 2000. The rights to the dormant Rover brand were sold by Ford, along with the Jaguar Cars and Land Rover businesses, to Tata Motors in 2008.
Streetka, the Ghia-built star of the 2000 Turin Motor Show, finally evolved from concept to production reality. The Streetka, was described by Ford as "a modern interpretation of the traditional two-seater roadster inspired by classics like the MG Midget and Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite." Designed by an in-house Ford team, Streetka was engineered from the ground-up in a new relationship with the renowned Italian design house and coachbuilder, Industrie Pininfarina.
Ford StreetkaShow Article
The Rover CityRover, a rebadged version of the Indian-developed Tata Indica, was introduced. Offered with only one engine size, a Peugeot-derived 1,405-cc (1.4-L), 4-cylinder, 8-valve producing 85 bhp, it could accelerate to 60 mph in 11.9 seconds, with a top speed of 100 mph. Although the interior space and performance of the CityRover were considered good for a small car in contemporary road tests, the overall lack of quality, below-par road handling and high price were not well received. According to car reviewer Parkers, the CityRover was the worst-rated Rover car from MG Rover, with a rating of 2 out of 5.
Rover CityRoverShow Article
The Frankfurt Motor Show opened to international media, with a series of concept and production vehicle debuts kicking off in the early morning. First news of terrorist attacks in the US came in the early afternoon. Large display screens were switched over to news coverage, opening celebrations were cancelled, and the usual upbeat presentations were absent for the rest of the show. MG Rover Group unveiled its stunning new luxury high performance sports coupe - the MG X80. Styled by MG Rover's world renowned design director Peter Stevens, the £55,000 MG X80 had a high-technology super-formed aluminum body, mounted to a steel box section chassis. Skoda revealed its new model, the Superb. There was a large number of concept vehicles, including the Citroën C-Crosser, SEAT Tango, Renault Talisman, Jaguar R Coupe, Ford Fusion and Audi Avantissimo. Top production car debuts included the BMW 7 Series, Ford Fiesta, Citroën C3, Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Polo and Lamborghini Murcielago.
MG X80Show Article
MG Rover announced the building of the 1.5 millionth MG car since production began in 1924. In celebration of H.M. Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the 1.5 millionth, a TF160 was fittingly painted in new Monogram Supertallic paint ‘Jubilee’ Gold and finished with special Jubilee badging. The car was sold, with proceeds given to charity.
Following England’s victory over Denmark MG Rover Group employees were given an extra day’s holiday to watch England play Brazil.Show Article
Volkswagen unveiled the striking new £22,000 Golf R32, the fastest production Golf ever built, to a crowd of waiting journalists at the NEC Motor Show. With a 3.2-litre engine developing a whopping 240 bhp, the Golf has an impressive top speed of 153 mph and could accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in a breathtaking 6.6 seconds. Rover Group unveiled the MG X80, whilst the DB7 GT, was the most powerful Aston Martin ever made. The stunning Bentley Continental GT won the Institute of Vehicle Engineers Motor Show Design ‘Car of the Show'. It beat the Jaguar XJ and Volvo XC90 to scoop the top award and also took the 'Best Luxury Car' award beating off close competition - again from the new Jaguar model.
Volkswagen Golf R32Show Article
MG Rover Group announced a ‘free fuel until 2004’ offer on MG and Rover cars registered before 31 March 2003. Participating UK retail customers were provided with a fuel payment card, with sufficient money provisioned to match the calculated average mileage of a typical driver. The monetary value was calculated on an average annual mileage of 10,000, or 833 miles per month, up to and including December 2003.Show Article
MG Rover entered the commercial vehicle sector with the launch of the Rover CDV and MG Express vans. The development of car-derived vans from the small car platform, bought the total number of vehicles in production at its single Longbridge factory to eleven. The MG Express, was created from the MG ZR hot-hatch. Prices started at £8,264 (excl. VAT). The Rover CDV was derived from the Rover 25. Available with a 84 hp 1.4-litre petrol and 101 hp 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, the Rover CDV cost £7,072 (excl. VAT). Specification features included the intelligent TrafficMaster traffic alert system.
MG ExpressShow Article
MG Rover Group announced a bold new extension to its small car range - the Streetwise. Based on the Rover 25, it had an increased ride height, chunkier bumpers and was aimed at a younger audience as an ‘urban on-roader'. The Rover Streetwise was an attempt by Rover to appeal to younger drivers. Rover had modernised the existing models in 1999 with a facelift for the 25, 45 and the Rover-designed 75 models but Rover was suffering falling sales and a tarnished brand after the sale of Rover to the Phoenix consortium in 2000 by BMW. Although new models were in the planning stages, the 25 and 45 models would be at least 10 years old before the new models were launched. Phoenix owned the rights to the MG brand, and had marketed the ZR, ZS & ZT with reasonable success, restyling the existing 25, 45 and 75 models. This included tweaked suspension, new wheels, altered dashboard inserts, different seats, and bodykits. With the MG brand proving popular, MG Rover Group turned their attention to the Rover brand. The Rover-badged cars had a rather staid image, and were commonly associated with elderly motorists. Thus, MG Rover attempted to appeal to a younger market. MG Rover decided to design a car for a niche market, and chose the ‘Urban on-roader’ look, similar to the Audi A6 Allroad, Škoda Octavia Scout, Volvo XC70 & Volkswagen Polo Fun/CrossPolo. The Streetwise ceased production in April 2005, when Rover ceased trading and went into administration.
Rover StreetwiseShow Article
Rover built its five-millionth car since production began in 1904, a 75 Saloon. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex visited the Longbridge plant to congratulate MG Rover staff and celebrate the significance of this motoring milestone.
Rover 75Show Article
MG Sport & Racing announced a higher-powered version of its high performance sports car, the MG XPower SV-R, at the Geneva Show. The 5-0 litre, XPower version of the all aluminum, 32 valve, double overhead camshaft V8 engine. Built in conjunction with V8 tuning specialist Sean Hyland the car accelerated from standstill to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. Top speed was circa 175 mph/ 282 km/h. Every SV was individually built to personal customer order and prices for the entry level SV start from £65,750.00.
MG XPower SV-RShow Article
British driver Fiona Leggate completed five races in 24 hours at Silverstone to establish a record for the most races driven by one driver in a day. The five races were part of the MG Car Club Silverstone MG 80 Race Meeting. Leggate won the last race, the Single Driver Enduro Race, with fellow British driver David Coulthard in second place.
Fiona LeggateShow Article
Eighty years on, the car that gave MG its maiden victory returned to the place of its inaugural success. To mark this historic event, ‘Old Number One’ as the car became known, ran once again at the famous Blue Hills mine, Cornwall.
MG Old Number OneShow Article
Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, announced – after a conversation with MG Rover chairman, John Towers – that the company was to be put into administration.Show Article
Administrators for Britain’s MG Rover Group said they would break up the company, laying off 5,000 workers, in a bid to find buyers for different units after the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. made clear it was not interested in a joint venture.
Administrators announced that BL had been sold to Nanjing Automobile, indicating that their preliminary plans involved relocating the Powertrain engine plant to China and splitting car production into Rover lines in China and MG lines in the West Midlands (though not necessarily at Longbridge), where a UK R&D and technical facility would also be developed.Show Article
The first Chinese-built MG sports cars rolled off the production line in the eastern city of Nanjing. State-owned Nanjing Automobile had bought the assets of collapsed UK firm MG Rover in 2005. The MG7 saloon and the MG-TF sports car, priced at between 180,000 and 400,000 yuan ($23,300 - $51,700; £11,800 - £26,300), were launched to the sound of music from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra against a video wall showing shots of Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace.
Full-scale car manufacturing resumed at the historic Longbridge plant, in the West Midlands, with the production of the two-seater MG TF LE500 sports car. The facility in Birmingham was mothballed when MG Rover collapsed three years earlier with the loss of 6,000 jobs. The company's Chinese owners, Shanghai Automotive (SAIC), said nearly half of the 700 MG TFs costing £16,400, it hoped to produce by the end of the year had already been sold.
Longbridge plant, West MidlandsShow Article
The first new MG for 16 years rolled off the production line in Longbridge. Designed in the UK, the parts were made in China and assembled in the UK. The 5-seater MG6 had top speed of 120mph (193km/h) and took 8.4 seconds to go from 0-60mph.
The first all-new model from MG in the UK for 16 years, the MG 6, was officially launched. Derived from the Roewe 550, it was distantly related to the Rover 75, sharing its front subframe. The MG 6 was initially announced in April 2009 at the Shanghai Auto Show, as a five door hatchback/fastback and in October 2010 at Shanghai Expo as a four door notchback saloon model. The MG 6 was discontinued from the UK line-up in 2016 after the brand decided not to update its diesel engine to meet Euro 6 regulations.
MG 6Show Article