1999 Rover 75

1999 Rover 75

Forgive me for having been on a bit of a Rover binge lately, but for those who don’t know on 15th April 2005, exactly 10 years ago, the Rover Group finally ran out of money and Britain’s last volume car manufacturer disappeared forever. I remember well the BBC news reports showing workers being turned back at the gates of the Longbridge Plant in south Birmingham, their jobs finished and their cars ceased. In all, nearly 6,000 people in the Midlands were sacked upon the closure of Longbridge, and whilst Rover, a brand that had dated back to 1904 and had once been a symbol of pedigree British Motoring, finally died after a long and painful spell under British Leyland and ownership by BMW, MG was able to claw away from darkness thanks to Chinese investors, rescuing one of the most renowned and hallowed names in Motorsport history.

This however was truly the last great Rover, and one that was a succulent blend of style and substance. Reliable, well priced, smooth riding and sweet, the Rover 75 was the embodiment of everything that was to be found in the everyman’s British motor car. But nowadays most people remember it as a prime example of how even though this car, as reliable, well performing and beautifully styled as it is, can be completely compromised by that all important part of the human psyche known as image…

The Rover 75 was unveiled in 1998 after 4 years of development, and was the first car to be launched by the company since the Rover 600 in 1993. In fact the car was built to replace both the Rover 600 and 800 to become the company’s flagship motor. The car was the last to be styled by world renowned coachbuilder Vanden Plas, famous for its distinguished chrome nose and luxurious internal styling. I remember well the style and profile of this mighty car, filled to the brim with soft leather seats and sublime wooden trim, built to emulate the mighty Rover P5 of the 1960’s, but with a fiery 4.6 Rover V8 under the hood for some extra grunt. It was perfect…

…trouble was nobody wanted it.

The main problem that killed the Rover 75 was its image. The car was designed to emulate grand old England, with that chrome and wooden trim making it look and feel very nostalgic. There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia, in fact I very much enjoy a look into the heritage of Britain and the Rover 75 strikes a chord with me, it’s very pretty, well styled and has a lovely feel to it, and many foreign buyers agree, with the 75 winning awards in Germany and France, as well as being dubbed the best car in the world by Italian stylists. The nostalgia of old England is something that foreigners love, they come to Britain in their droves to see old Castles and tour the quaint streets of our ancient cities. However, the only people who don’t like the …

1947 MG TC Midget Sports Car rear right

1947 MG TC Midget Sports Car rear right

MG Cars is a former British sports car manufacturer, which was founded in 1924, the creator of the MG brand.
MG Cars is best known for its two-seat open sports cars, but MG also produced saloons and coupés. More recently, the MG marque has also been used on sportier versions of other models belonging to the parent company.
The MG marque was in continuous use (barring the years of the Second World War) for 56 years after its inception. Production of predominantly two-seater sports cars was concentrated at a factory in Abingdon, some 10 miles (16 km) south of Oxford. The British Motor Corporation (BMC) competition department was also based at the Abingdon plant and produced many winning rally and race cars. In the autumn of 1980, however, the Abingdon factory closed and MGB production ceased.
The MG TA replaced the PB in 1936. It was an evolution of the previous car and was 3 inches (76 mm) wider in its track at 45 inches and 7 inches (180 mm) longer in its wheelbase at 94 inches. The previous advanced overhead cam engine was now not in use by any other production car so it was replaced by a more typical MPJG OHV unit from the Wolseley 10 but with twin SU carburettors, modified camshaft and manifolding. The engine displaced just 1292 cc, with a stroke of 102 mm and a bore of 63.5 mm and power output was 50 hp (40.3 kW) at 4500 rpm. The four speed manual gearbox now had synchromesh on the two top ratios. Like the PB, most were two seat open cars with a steel body on an ash frame but it could also be had from 1938 as a Tickford drophead coupé with body by Salmsons of Newport Pagnell or closed "airline" coupé as fitted to the P type but only one of these is thought to have been made. It was capable of reaching nearly 80 mph (130 km/h) in standard tune with a 0-60 mph time of 23.1 seconds. Unlike the PB, hydraulic brakes were fitted. Just over 3000 were made and in 1936 it cost £222 on the home market.
The TA was replaced by the TB in May 1939 with the fitting of a smaller but more modern XPAG engine as fitted to the Morris 10 but in a higher tuned state and like the TA with twin SU carburettors. This 1250 cc I4 unit featured a slightly less-undersquare 66.6 mm bore and 90 mm stroke and had a maximum power output of 54 hp (40 kW) at 5200 rpm. Available as either an open 2 seater or more luxurious Tickford drophead coupé, this is the rarest of the T type cars with only 379 made.
On the eve of the war, MG had offered the TB model which, with a few modifications was to become the first post-war MG, the TC Midget. The chassis of the new car was essentially the same as before, but the sliding trunnion …

1969 MG MGB

1969 MG MGB

Oh the MGB, the last great British Sports car?

A motor that refused to die even though British Leyland simply couldn’t stop messing around with it. The MGB is an example of a car that went from one of the most loved and lovable cars in British motoring, to what many describe as an empty husk broken and bent for legislation purposes. But the MGB would have its way in the end!

The story behind the MGB begins in 1962, when the car was designed to incorporate an innovative, modern style 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. However components such as brakes and suspension were developments of the earlier 1955 MGA with the B-Series engine having its origins in 1947. The lightweight design reduced manufacturing costs while adding to overall vehicle strength. Wind-up windows were standard, and a comfortable driver’s compartment offered plenty of legroom. A parcel shelf was fitted behind the seats.

The car was powered by a BMC B-Series engine, producing 95hp and giving the car a 0-60 of 11 seconds, perhaps not the briskest acceleration, but of course this car was more a comfy little cruiser, ambling about the countryside in sedate fashion admiring the views. The MGB was also one of the first cars to feature controlled crumple zones designed to protect the driver and passenger in a 30 mph impact with an immovable barrier (200 ton).

The roadster was the first of the MGB range to be produced. The body was a pure two-seater but a small rear seat was a rare option at one point. By making better use of space the MGB was able to offer more passenger and luggage accommodation than the earlier MGA while 3 inches shorter overall. The suspension was also softer, giving a smoother ride, and the larger engine gave a slightly higher top speed. The four-speed gearbox was an uprated version of the one used in the MGA with an optional (electrically activated) overdrive transmission. Wheel diameter dropped from 15 to 14 inches.

Upon its launch the MGB was given almost unanimous acclaim, largely due to its advanced and innovative design combined with its beautifully and sleek styling. Previous sports cars of the same calibre had always been levied with a reputation for their ropey nature, with a majority of previous models being simply remodelled versions of the MG’s and Triumphs that dated back to the end of and in some cases even before World War II. But the MG was different, and if I’m honest, a large part of its appeal is due to its small, low body, and it’s poky round headlights that make it look rather cute. It’s the kind of car you could give a name, preferably a girl’s one. Either way, the MGB sold in hundreds, disappearing off to all corners of the globe, touring the South of France, storming across the deserts …

1971 MG MGB GT

1971 MG MGB GT

Oh the MGB, the last great British Sports car?

A motor that refused to die even though British Leyland simply couldn’t stop messing around with it. The MGB is an example of a car that went from one of the most loved and lovable cars in British motoring, to what many describe as an empty husk broken and bent for legislation purposes. But the MGB would have its way in the end!

The story behind the MGB begins in 1962, when the car was designed to incorporate an innovative, modern style 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. However components such as brakes and suspension were developments of the earlier 1955 MGA with the B-Series engine having its origins in 1947. The lightweight design reduced manufacturing costs while adding to overall vehicle strength. Wind-up windows were standard, and a comfortable driver’s compartment offered plenty of legroom. A parcel shelf was fitted behind the seats.

The car was powered by a BMC B-Series engine, producing 95hp and giving the car a 0-60 of 11 seconds, perhaps not the briskest acceleration, but of course this car was more a comfy little cruiser, ambling about the countryside in sedate fashion admiring the views. The MGB was also one of the first cars to feature controlled crumple zones designed to protect the driver and passenger in a 30 mph impact with an immovable barrier (200 ton).

The roadster was the first of the MGB range to be produced. The body was a pure two-seater but a small rear seat was a rare option at one point. By making better use of space the MGB was able to offer more passenger and luggage accommodation than the earlier MGA while 3 inches shorter overall. The suspension was also softer, giving a smoother ride, and the larger engine gave a slightly higher top speed. The four-speed gearbox was an uprated version of the one used in the MGA with an optional (electrically activated) overdrive transmission. Wheel diameter dropped from 15 to 14 inches.

Upon its launch the MGB was given almost unanimous acclaim, largely due to its advanced and innovative design combined with its beautifully and sleek styling. Previous sports cars of the same calibre had always been levied with a reputation for their ropey nature, with a majority of previous models being simply remodelled versions of the MG’s and Triumphs that dated back to the end of and in some cases even before World War II. But the MG was different, and if I’m honest, a large part of its appeal is due to its small, low body, and it’s poky round headlights that make it look rather cute. It’s the kind of car you could give a name, preferably a girl’s one. Either way, the MGB sold in hundreds, disappearing off to all corners of the globe, touring the South of France, storming across the deserts …

1947 MG TC Midget Sports Car 31

1947 MG TC Midget Sports Car 31

MG Cars is a former British sports car manufacturer, which was founded in 1924, the creator of the MG brand.
MG Cars is best known for its two-seat open sports cars, but MG also produced saloons and coupés. More recently, the MG marque has also been used on sportier versions of other models belonging to the parent company.
The MG marque was in continuous use (barring the years of the Second World War) for 56 years after its inception. Production of predominantly two-seater sports cars was concentrated at a factory in Abingdon, some 10 miles (16 km) south of Oxford. The British Motor Corporation (BMC) competition department was also based at the Abingdon plant and produced many winning rally and race cars. In the autumn of 1980, however, the Abingdon factory closed and MGB production ceased.
The MG TA replaced the PB in 1936. It was an evolution of the previous car and was 3 inches (76 mm) wider in its track at 45 inches and 7 inches (180 mm) longer in its wheelbase at 94 inches. The previous advanced overhead cam engine was now not in use by any other production car so it was replaced by a more typical MPJG OHV unit from the Wolseley 10 but with twin SU carburettors, modified camshaft and manifolding. The engine displaced just 1292 cc, with a stroke of 102 mm and a bore of 63.5 mm and power output was 50 hp (40.3 kW) at 4500 rpm. The four speed manual gearbox now had synchromesh on the two top ratios. Like the PB, most were two seat open cars with a steel body on an ash frame but it could also be had from 1938 as a Tickford drophead coupé with body by Salmsons of Newport Pagnell or closed "airline" coupé as fitted to the P type but only one of these is thought to have been made. It was capable of reaching nearly 80 mph (130 km/h) in standard tune with a 0-60 mph time of 23.1 seconds. Unlike the PB, hydraulic brakes were fitted. Just over 3000 were made and in 1936 it cost £222 on the home market.
The TA was replaced by the TB in May 1939 with the fitting of a smaller but more modern XPAG engine as fitted to the Morris 10 but in a higher tuned state and like the TA with twin SU carburettors. This 1250 cc I4 unit featured a slightly less-undersquare 66.6 mm bore and 90 mm stroke and had a maximum power output of 54 hp (40 kW) at 5200 rpm. Available as either an open 2 seater or more luxurious Tickford drophead coupé, this is the rarest of the T type cars with only 379 made.
On the eve of the war, MG had offered the TB model which, with a few modifications was to become the first post-war MG, the TC Midget. The chassis of the new car was essentially the same as before, but the sliding trunnion …