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Corporate Business

Former MG Rover Panel Beater’s Business Thriving

Former Longbridge worker Tony Dudley has laid solid new foundations for his garage business – by building an MOT bay himself. The former MG Rover panel beater spent five days helping lay down a total of 27 tons of concrete to mark the latest key milestone in the history of Northfield-based MGR Services. And Northfield Labour MP Richard Burden drove along his prized MGZT as the first car to undergo an MOT at the popular garage, less than a mile from the former home of MG Rover.

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Corporate Business

Volvo Snapped up by Chinese

This isn’t exactly British car news, but Swedish car maker Volvo is heading into Chinese hands, after owner Ford announced that Geely is in pole position to buy the struggling manufacturer. Following in the footsteps of MG Rover’s sale to Shanghai Automotive and Nanjing Automobile, the potential deal marks the latest move by a fast-expanding Chinese car maker to boost its presence in Europe. Negotiations have been ongoing for some time, and it is understood Ford was only willing to enter into discussions once it had evaluated the firm’s Chinese operations. Now the green light has been given, the future of Volvo and the launch of promising upcoming models such as the S60 should be secure. The move will also benefit Geely. Volvo’s research and development expertise and engineering skills will be a huge bonus, as its main interests are […]

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People

Champion Driver Donna Mae Mims Dies

BRIDGEVILLE, Pa. — Donna Mae Mims, the first woman to win a Sports Car Club of America national championship in 1963, has died. She was 82. Mims died Tuesday of complications following a stroke, said Aaron Beinhauer, director of Beinhauer Family Services, which is handling the arrangements. Per her wishes, Mims’ body was seated behind the steering wheel of a 1979 pink Corvette for visitation hours at the funeral home in McMurray, Pa., Beinhauer said Sunday. Known as the “Pink Lady” because of her preferred color for cars, Mims worked for Yenko Chevrolet and the company’s sports car division and started racing in 1958, according to Beinhauer Family Services. Mims’ association with the car company led her to race cars, including the Camaro, Austin Healey, MG, Corvette and Corvairs. Mims participated in the original Cannonball Run, where her 1968 Cadillac […]

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Corporate Business

MG Stops Sports-Car Production for Six Months

Chinese-owned MG Motor U.K., the British sports-car marque, is to halt production of its TF sports car for six months, not resuming until March next year. Sales of the low-volume sports car, the only vehicle now built at the once-massive Longbridge factory in England, have been slow through the year. The midengine two-seat TF sports car started life as the MGF in 1995 and was Britain’s best-selling sports car for years. It’s now sold in limited numbers in the U.K. Just 265 were sold in the first nine months of this year, although September was the revived brand’s best month yet, with 65 TFs finding buyers. The company also has orders for all 50 copies of a new 85th-anniversary limited edition. According to newly appointed sales and marketing director Guy Jones, the small-sports-car market is down 30 percent this year […]

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Corporate Business

MG Motor Hires Guy Jones as Director

Jones will take responsibility for UK sales, marketing, PR and aftersales, as well as the development of the MG brand. He has previously worked as brand manager at Bentley and marketing director at Kia UK. ‘MG is a much loved iconic British brand that now has SAIC as a proud new owner, capable of developing the brand on a global basis,’ said Jones. ‘SAIC are already playing a leading role in China, now the world’s largest car market, and have ambitious global plans for the MG brand.’ MG is now owned by Chinese firm SAIC, and re-commenced production at Birmingham’s Longbridge plant last year. It launched its first advertising since the 2005 break-up of MG Rover last autumn, focusing on its TF LE500 model.

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Classic Cars

1973 MG Midget on eBay

Yes, unfortunately, due to other projects and constraints I need to sell the MG Midget I bought to restore. Needless to say the hardtop sold quickly, but the rest of the car is still available. This includes a clear title in my name and all the goodies such as original SU carbs and air cleaners, gauges, etc… Please take a look at my MG’s auction listing.

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Auctions & Sales

Record Price Set For MG At Auction

A new record high price for an MG sold at auction was set earlier this month, when a a pre-war MG K3 Magnette sold for 231,000 pounds, or the equivalent of $372,000, at H&H’s auction in Buxton, England. It wrested the high-price crown from a 1935 Magnette Airline Coupe sold in 2007 for 199,037 pounds. It would take a book to detail the convoluted history of this car; in fact, a book has been written. Magnette-ised: The Pedigree of MG K3015-2 from 1934 to 2007, written by the seller, details the many changes the car has been through in the decades of its existence. H&H themselves described it as “the antithesis of a ‘matching-numbers’ car,” although it possesses an unbroken history as a genuine K3. The car is sort of like grandpa’s axe; the original frame was replaced with an […]

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Racing and Competition

Jaguar XKR GT2 at Petit Le Mans

Rocketsports Racing (RSR) is scheduled to debut the Jaguar XKR GT2, the newest entry in the American Le Mans Series, at the famed Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta this week. In preparation for a full championship effort in 2010, the team plans to enter the last two events on the 2009 ALMS schedule using the track time for testing and development. The car is currently undergoing extensive system tests at RSR’s East Lansing, Michigan facility and is being prepared for a performance evaluation and shakedown prior to Road Atlanta. The team will be hosting a press conference on Thursday, September 24 at Road Atlanta to officially unveil the car and drivers for 2009, and tire partners. RSR will face a flurry of competition in GT2 from the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Corvette and others. Fourteen GT2 machines are […]

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Corporate Business

MG Rover Inspectors Open Door to Action Against the Phoenix Four

West Midlands car industry activists are poring over the fine detail of the government report into the collapse of MG Rover to establish whether there are grounds to bring a civil action against the so-called Phoenix Four, the executives who bought the car company from BMW for £10 in May 2000. MG Rover watchers are said to be angry at the extent to which the Phoenix Four benefited personally while overseeing the demise of Britain’s last volume car manufacturer. They believe the report, compiled after a four-year investigation by two government inspectors, has opened the door to civil action. “Company law on fiduciary responsibility is complex and unclear,” said Nick Matthews, an academic at Coventry University and car industry analyst for 15 years. “The inspectors agree that it is uncertain, particularly in respect of the deal to buy MGR Capital. […]

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Classic Cars

Rover: A History in Cars

There is a very nice and concise history of Rover cars over at The Telegraph. I am not going to reprint it here, but do take a look at the article for a trip down memory lane.

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Classic Cars

My Projects: Triumph TR4 and MG Midget

I just realized that I never published any story on the front page of JustBritish about my current projects. There are links to them over there on the right, but you may never have scanned down. Anyway, I am currently restoring a 1973 MG Midget and behind that waits a 1962 Triumph TR4. Both are pretty far gone and will take a good bit of work, although I personally believe they are not as bad as they look. My wife seems to differ with that opinion – as is normal. My goal, whatever that is worth, is to have the Midget on the road before year’s end. It may not be perfect, but I would like to be able to drive it. After that, I need to start the slower and more expensive work on the TR4. The general hope […]

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Corporate Business

Historic Car Plant Echoes to Whisper of Output

Seen from Longbridge, MG Rover’s former base, the business’s industrial legacy five years on looks decidedly threadbare. In one portion of the cavernous and almost deserted plant – once one of Europe’s largest – China’s Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, owner of the rump MG brand, began making its TF two-seater sports car last year in small numbers for the UK and Ireland, using Chinese and European parts. The company will not comment on production volumes, but acknowledges they are modest. “It’s not MG Rover numbers – it’s a single model we’re producing,” says Peter Brooking, marketing manager for MG Motor UK. Most MG cars are now made in China. In 2006, a year after buying rights to the brand from MG Rover’s liquidators, Nanjing Automobile Corporation moved an entire production line from Birmingham halfway across the world in 4,900 shipping […]

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Classic Cars

Engineering Students Turn Vintage MGB Into Electric Car

The year was 1984. Roger Dougal, a newly minted Ph.D. in electrical engineering, was beginning his career in the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering. He was the new owner of a 1972 MGB – a red convertible, perfect for life in the Palmetto State, where he could zip along the highways and city streets with the car’s top down practically year-round. Lightweight with easy handling, the MGB was a snazzy roadster for a young professor on the go. But that was, shall we say, soooo last century. Fast forward about two dozen years. Now internationally recognized for his research on power sources and systems, Dougal still loves cars and has added a passion for sailboats. The MGB was collecting dust – and a few leaves – in his garage. But the professor’s ongoing curiosity about all things auto […]

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Classic Cars

MG Sedans Had A Sporty Charm

There is an excellent article over on Driving.Ca by Bill Vance about some of our favorite cars, the MG sedans of the 50s and 60s. As the article says, “The MG name is inextricably associated with the sporty, two-passenger British roadster, a car that laid the foundation for the North American sports car movement following the Second World War. What is less well known is that MG also made some interesting sedans before the war — including the 1937-1939 2.3-litre SA — and after. The post-war sedans were imported to North America.” Often these were badge engineered with other marks such as Morris, Austin, and Wolseley. From those early SAs all the way up through the MG 1100s and 1300s, these sedans while not well known in the US had a great following at home in the UK. Please head […]

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New Cars

XPart Helps Rover Name On The Road

XPart is celebrating five years of keeping two million owners of Rover and MG cars on the road in the wake of the collapse of the Longbridge manufacturers. The company, based at Desford in Leicestershire, is keeping motor traders around the world supplied with replacement parts that enable them to service and repair the cars. XPart, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Logistics Services, one of the automotive industry’s leading supply chain management companies, acquired the MG Rover parts business in August 2004, less than a year before the manufacturer collapsed in April 2005. Since then, it says it has “worked tirelessly” to maintain high levels of parts availability and provide continuity for more than 700 MG Rover dealers throughout the world. It operates a network of importers, wholesalers and MG Rover specialist AutoService centres, 250 of them in the UK.

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Corporate Business

Former MG Rover Workers Could Be In Line For Cash Windfall

Former MG Rover workers living in Bromsgrove could be in line for cash left on the books of a car-leasing business linked to the collapsed company. According to the Daily Telegraph, Business Secretary Peter Mandelson is being urged to take control of a £22m dowry left on the books of the defunct MG Rover business, and distribute it among thousands of former car workers. The paper reported, on August 30, that the cash had come from a car-leasing business linked to the collapsed company called MGR Capital, which was co-owned by state-controlled bank HBOS and some of the original MG Rover directors. MGR Capital was wound up last year, with £22m in cash remaining on its books. The Telegraph said it had been expected that the money be divided between former shareholders, HBOS and two former MG Rover directors, Peter […]

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People

Frank Gardner, Motor Racing Legend, Passes

Motor sport legend and raconteur Frank Gardner never aimed to be the fastest racing driver of all time. He just wanted to be the oldest. After an international driving career blazing the circuits of Europe and Australia, surviving the most exciting yet dangerous era in the history of the sport, Gardner largely achieved his ambition and eventually retired happily with his wife Gloria on the Gold Coast, where he has died after a long illness, aged 78. The multi-talented Gardner was one of Australia’s greatest motor sport exports, winning more than 100 international races and numerous European titles as a driver, heading development programs for major manufacturers as an engineer, and taking out Australia’s biggest races as a team owner. Long-time friend, employer and rival Sir Jack Brabham said Gardner “could drive anything”, and British ace Vic Elford – who […]

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Corporate Business

What Might Have Been – the MG SUV

MG-Roewe’s parent company, SAIC, are very eager to build their own SUV based on Sssangyong IPR but a launch date of the Ssangyong-Roewe has never been announced despite it being spotted dozens of times out testing. It could be that the rights to Ssangyong IPR is in a murky place right now straight after Ssangyongs bankruptcy which saw them kick SAIC out of the boardroom and straight out of Ssangyong affairs, the Roewe SUV was expected to be launched in the first three months of 2009. The same could be said for the Roewe 95, it was largely understood that SAIC would have been excited to show off their luxury Roewe 95 limo model at the last Shanghai Auto Show, but as that is based off the Ssangyong Chairman it seems that that might have been temporarily delayed as well. […]

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Corporate Business

BMW Taps Into the British Psyche

History repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce … then as the Mini. An announcement that two new versions of Britain’s most successful car will soon be produced at BMW’s Cowley plant offers coruscating insights into national identity, consumer psychology and the realities of design today. It was on August 26, 1959, when ice-cream colored Ford Zodiacs with fluted chrome still wafted along dual-carriageways, that the Mini 1.0 appeared. As a small boy my father took me to see one of the first at the Rocket Garage in Liverpool. What was obvious even — perhaps specially — to a child was ingenuity of a high order. Alec Issigonis’s insistence on compactness and his refusal of “style” produced the most unusual and influential car ever. But Issigonis had a demanding personality: he insisted, for example, that discomfort kept drivers helpfully […]