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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 […]

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Corporate Business

Rover Report: No Fraud

The Telegraph reports that the report into the demise of MG Rover will highlight “questionable” business practices by the Phoenix Four but contains no “smoking gun” on the conduct of the Government. The report will be published this Friday after the Serious Fraud Office decided not to pursue a fraud investigation into the demise of the Midlands car maker in 2005. According to sources who have seen the document, it makes uncomfortable reading for the Government – especially over what happened to a £100m bridging loan designed to rescue MG Rover – but suggests that Labour did try to save the car maker and there was no deliberate plan to pull the plug on the business. The report, which has cost the taxpayer £16m and has taken four years to compile, contains numerous details of complex financial transactions. However, the […]

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Classic Cars

Triumphs Gather in California

Each year, five big West Coast Triumph clubs get together to hold a major event they call Triumphest. And every year, the Vintage Triumph Register holds its national meet, called the North American Triumph Challenge. This year, the two events will join together in San Luis Obispo, California, for one giant weekend of Triumph fun, from September 30 through October 4. Called Triumphest 2009, the event has all the makings of the largest gathering ever of Triumphs in North America. The event has everything you would expect, and some things you might not. Of course there’s a concours, with every variety of sporting Triumph, as well as an autocross, a funkhana, tech sessions, a time-speed-distance rally and a rally that’s just for fun. There’s also a Le Mans start contest, a “walking rally” through lovely San Luis Obispo, dinner cruises […]

Aston Martin Cygnet
Aston Martin

Aston Martin Cygnet: Really? A microcar?

In Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, the ugly duckling grows into a swan. Upper-crust British auto manufacturer Aston Martin may reverse the process, morphing its handsome sports cars into the Cygnet microcar. Cygnet is a collaboration with Toyota, which will sell Aston Martin 2,000 of its iQ mini-commuters to be adapted, with a target sale date of 2010 in Europe. Aston Martin, best known for its dashing James Bond DB series of 150 m.p.h. sports cars, has grafted its signature grille onto the iQ microbox. This makes the mini-Martin concept look like a fugitive from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” The bold Aston Martin “face” is disproportionately narrow and tall; think a Rolls-Royce golf cart. The iQ is only 117 inches long (that’s less than 10 feet) and 59 inches high, but it seats four. It’s powered by a 998-cc 3-cylinder […]

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Racing and Competition

British bid to claim land-speed record

There’s still time to secure their place in history, but for a British team of speed record-chasers in America, the clock is ticking. Driving a vehicle that has been described as the world’s fastest kettle, they are attempting to break a world land-speed record that has stood for more than a century. And it isn’t going well. Powered by nothing but super-heated water, the team hope to blast their way to more than 130mph along a runway more usually reserved for the Nasa space shuttle. In doing so, they will set a new time for the fastest steam-powered vehicle. That was supposed to happen on Friday but so far the record has remained tantalisingly out of reach. At time of writing, the team had nothing to show for their efforts but bruised egos, damaged pride and a flat tyre. That […]

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Corporate Business

Your iPhone Can Help You Find Your Way

Never text while driving. Call with caution while driving. But there’s one phone application made specifically for use on the road — GPS navigation. Already, several car nav programs for mobiles are available, but today the most highly anticipated of them arrived: the TomTom app for iPhone, which was announced in June. The app was designed to closely emulate GPS navigation units for cars, and indeed it has turn-by-turn directions, voice instructions, touch-screen commands, a choice of 2D or 3D mapping, day/night screen choices and coverage of the U.S. and Canada. The price is not cheap — $99.99 — but that’s less than the cost of the vast majority of dedicated car navigation units. Of course, the iPhone screen is smaller than the ones on most car units. The tech blog will have a full review of the app, upcoming, […]

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Corporate Business

Lotus Wins Top Award

Niche sportscar manufacturer Lotus has scooped a ‘best driver’s car’ accolade for its Evora model. The award, from Autocar magazine, followed assessment on road and track around the South Downs and the Goodwood race circuit. Lotus beat off competition from Aston Martin, Nissan, Porsche, Audi, Lamborghini and Jaguar. The mid-engined 2+2 Lotus Evora combines a super stiff extruded and bonded aluminium chassis with vehicle dynamics knowledge employed to tune its race-car derived double wishbone suspension. Roger Becker, vehicle engineering director for Lotus, said: “The dynamic ability and driving experience of the Evora were the foundation of the engineering process and we are delighted that Autocar has recognised this by giving the Evora this accolade. The Evora offers the great Lotus driving experience in a very comfortable, practical, refined and efficient package, and with only 205 g/km of CO2 it shows […]

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People

Three classic MGs stolen in one week

According to The Reading Chronicle, thieves have escaped with three classic cars from a garage forecourt in the space of just a week. There are fears that the MGB sports cars could have been stolen to order and have already been sold on to either an unscrupulous collector or unwitting buyers who think they have a bargain. A white MG B Roadster worth £10,000, a black MG B GT worth £4,500 and a red MG B GT worth £4,250 were all stolen from Beech Hill Garage last week. The Roadster (RJW2 00F) and black GT (SKU2 26J) were both taken between 6.15pm on Wednesday July 29 and 8.15am the next morning, and the red GT (OCK6 37K) some time between 6pm on Wednesday, July 22 and 8.15am on Monday, July 27.

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Racing and Competition

Race plans for UK-bound MG6

The new MG6 will go straight into action as a race car if it goes on sale in the UK next year, according to reports in the Motorsport News newspaper. The Shanghai Automotive-designed car is scheduled to become the first all-new MG model to go on sale in the UK since the 2001 MG ZS and ZT. Both the hatchback MG6 and its saloon sister car (which is currently being sold in China as the Roewe 550) will be launched in the UK and Ireland, according to Eleanor de la Haye of the MG Motor Company.

MG Motor Logo 2011
Classic Cars

MG 1100 For Sale

Just got this note from a friend so I thought I would pass it along. Note that this car is not mine nor do I know anything more about it than what is listed here. Seems like a great deal to me though! If I didn’t already have two projects cars, plus our normal daily drivers, I would be keeping this one to myself. It’s finally time! After going back & forth for quite a while, I have decided I have too many cars and not enough time, so I am putting my MG 1100 up for sale. The car is a 4-door 1964 US-spec. model in Connaught Green w/Dove Grey interior. I am the 3rd owner. The first owner used the car from new. The second owner bought it as a parts car for his 1100, then realized it […]