Classic M.G. Sports Cars
This guide features the marque of MG and some of the best-loved British sports cars from the last 50 years. From the early post-war years the TD is followed by the all-new MGA in 1955. The long running MGB, spanning three decades, sold 500,000 examples. The RV8 and MGF revived the famous badge for the nineties.
Launched in October 1992, the V8-engined MG RV8 was available for sale to the public in the spring of 1993. Defined from the outset as a special edition of 2000 cars, the MG RV8 featured the tried and tested Rover 3946cc engine which in it's tuned form produced 173 bhp and gave the model a top speed of 134 mph. Priced at £25,000, it ranked as the fastest and most expensive production MG to have been produced.
Making its debut in 1949, the MG TD was offered as the replacement for the TC model, which had been introduced in 1945. An amalgam of the TC and the compact Y-type saloon, the TD featured a box-type chassis, similar to that of the Y-type, with tubular cross-members. There was independent front suspension via wishbones and coil springs, just as on the saloon and at the rear the semi-elliptics are retained. The TD's general body shape was similar to that of its predecessor although the car was slightly wider and the fitting of bumpers made the TD look considerably sturdier. It also looked somewhat more modern than the TC due to a lower stance, helped by a 4-inch reduction in wheel diameter and a less angular front-end. Unlike the TC, left hand drive was available, helping to make the TD the most popular T-Series MG with strong US sales. Around 30,000 examples were produced between 1949 and 1953 before being replaced by the TF.
The MGA that had replaced the MG TF was born of Abingdon's own design office, headed by Sydney Enever. It was a close relative to the car, which had done so well at Le Mans in 1955. With "full-width" chassis-based styling and steeply raked radiator grille, the MGA found many admirers and, importantly, many more buyers than the T-Series cars before it. During its seven year production run over 100,000 MGAs were produced in both tourer and fixed-head forms. Initially, the MGA used 1489cc British Motor Corporation B-series engine, inherited from the last days of the TF. This was enlarged to 1588cc and used between 1958 and 1960, before another increase in capacity to 1622cc for the final MGAs. An interesting Twin-Cam version of the MGA was also produced, it's engine was based on the 1588cc block but with twin overhead camshafts making for a sharp increase in performance over the standard model. Only 2000 Twin-Cams were produced, about two percent of the total series production.
M.G. MGB 1960s
The 1960s were boom years for the British economy and the car industry prospered as living standards rose. The MGB was introduced in 1962 as the replacement for the MGA and its new chassis-less, monocoque construction allowed many of the MGA's shortcomings to be eradicated in the new model. The MGB was shorter and lower than the MGA, though it was wider than its predecessor, giving far more interior space and comfort. There were wider doors for easier access, which housed wind-up windows and exterior door handles. In addition, there was now adequate luggage space and ample legroom. The sturdy B-series 1798cc engine also engine also enabled the MGB to be able to do everything the MGA could do on the road but better, with lower levels of interior noise and a softer ride.
M.G. MGB 1970s
The period between 1969 and 1975 saw many changes to the MGB, and despite many hundreds of changes being carried out under the skin, the basic character of the MGB remained unaltered. During this period there were two different grille styles, new wheels, changes to the seating and facia and various other features introduced, associated with the mass production principles of the British Leyland regime. The car was criticised with monotonous regularity by the motoring press, mainly on account of performance, an area in which the competition was leaving behind. Nevertheless, the sales figures showed that these were some of the best years for the MGB and that the public still loved the model. 39,393 examples were sold in 1972, the car's highest yearly total for the period between 1962 and 1980.
M.G. MGB 1980s
The MGB was not intended to last until the 1980s, indeed the MGA before it had seen only seven years of production, totalling some 100,000 vehicles. During the long lifespan of the MGB regular facelifts were performed to maintain the car's appeal and by October 1980car's owner enjoyed the benefit of inertia reel seatbelts, lower-geared steering, electric cooling fan and rear fog-lamps. In order to satisfy US safety regulations and continue to sell cars to it's major market, the MGB received a major facelift in 1974 with the fitting of black urethane bumpers. These materially affected the car's character and together with other safety features such as a heavily padded dash, made the late 1970's and early 1980's MGBs much softer sports cars than the 1962 originals. The very last MGB rolled off the Abingdon production line at 2.00pm on October 22, 1980, destined, like most MGBs, for America. The model had seen 18 years of continuous production since 1962 and gained affection of many enthusiasts throughout the world.
After the launch in October 1992 of the RV8 as a limited production special edition, the revival of the marque in the Nineties has been completed by the MGF. A thoroughly modern two-seater sports car, the MGF, the first truly new MG for 33 years, bristles with innovation. Mid-engine, rear wheel drive, wishbones all-round with Hydragas suspension and electric power steering are just some its features. For the 1.8iVVC model, the top speed is 130mph, with 0-60 mph coming up in 7 seconds. With its bold modern styling, the MGF is clearly an MG for the Nineties and beyond, yet within its curvaceous body there are clear reminders of earlier MGs, such as the exposed headlamps and familiar grille shape.