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Corporate Business

MG Rover: Don’t forget the Workers

Whilst the Phoenix Four – via their media spokesperson – engage in an a somewhat unseemly public spat over who was responsible for the collapse of MG Rover four years ago with the loss of 6,300 jobs at Longbridge and several thousand more in the wider economy, we need to remember who really lost out here. I doubt if it was the Phoenix Four, who did rather well out of the whole affair – after all their remuneration, pensions and other benefits ran into the millions. Rather, it is the workers and their families, who deserve some answers as to what went so wrong at MG Rover under Phoenix’s stewardship. Lord Mandelson’s statement earlier this week that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is to investigate the circumstances surrounding the collapse MG Rover back in 2005 did genuinely come as a […]

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Corporate Business

Jaguar poised to shut for the summer

Executives at Jaguar Land Rover, the Midlands carmaker, are drawing up plans for an extended shutdown of its UK plants and a new round of staff layoffs as it struggles to cope with the slump in the world car market. Preparation for the closures comes just days after the company released its new flagship, the latest version of the Jaguar XJ beloved by prime ministers and top British executives.

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Classic Cars

MG Midget is a mechanic’s dream

This story from the San Francisco Chronicle…. Richard Haas is a marketing consultant based in the Peninsula. A Bay Area native, he was brought up in the United States, South America and Europe. I grew up with British motorcycles and cars – BSAs, Triumphs and MGs. My first motorcycle was a 650 side valve BSA with sidecar I bought with an older friend. I remember my Mom’s black MGA fondly, and my first college car was a Sunbeam Alpine. One day in 1996, my future wife and I were driving past a gas station on Camden Avenue in San Jose when we spotted a green MG Midget with a “for sale” sign. We called the guy who had left it there – it was a repo (thanks to too many traffic tickets), and he wanted $1,600 for it. It looked […]

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Corporate Business

Yuman sees similarities between GM and British Leyland

An interesting article from The Yuma Sun …. Stan Gourley is a man who obviously loves cars, particularly his 1970 Triumph TR6. The car sits in his garage, partially restored. “You know,” Gourley said, looking at his jasmine yellow car, “it’s really sad to think that in 20 or 30 years this TR-6 would probably be a Chevrolet Camaro or a Pontiac GTO or an Oldsmobile 442.” Gourley, a man who knows British sports cars, explains that he thinks what happened to the British Leyland Co. back in the ’70s and what is occurring to General Motors now is too similar to be ignored. “They were a giant company that dominated the market for British cars in the ’60s and ’70s, but then they had real labor problems, the government nationalized the companies, then guaranteed billions of dollars in bailout […]

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Corporate Business

Jaguar trying to recapture past glory

Jaguar has emerged from its stuffy, country-club period, the one that saw it essentially remake over and over and over again the original XJ for 41 years. Jaguar now wants to be sexy and modern. Founder Sir William Lyons would most certainly approve. He was never a man to look backwards, to live in yesterday, endlessly reliving the great triumphs of the past. He was a forward-looking, innovative fellow. His cars of the 1950s and into the 1960s were cutting-edge and daring for their time. That’s what Jaguar is trying to recapture. “It’s about making Jaguars that are quintessentially Jaguars,” O’Driscoll said. But this is a nervous business. Jaguar, now part of Tata’s integrated Jaguar Land Rover Group (JLR), is not swimming in dough. Far from it. Tata Motors’ Indian business, which relies mostly on truck sales, made a profit […]

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Classic Cars

Triumph Spitfire for Restoration

Just noticed on Craigslist this morning that there is a 1974 Triumph Spitfire being offered for a good price. I know nothing about this car and have no interest in its sale, so please use the contact info in the ad! The ad says the car is in Charleston, SC, but I have no idea where that phone number goes…. This car is a great fixxer upper. Needs paint and body work has 95% of the parts this is a steal at 800.00 If interested call 1-423-277-9273. Needs some mechanic work. Basically needs to be put together.

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New Cars

MINI’s 50th Anniversary JCW

This year MINI celebrates 50 years of the iconic Mini, and as a part of that celebration MINI is releasing a limited edition of the Cooper Works car, the John Cooper Works World Championship 50, of which only 250 will be produced and made available in Europe. Inspired by John Cooper’s son Mike who was heavily consulted during development, the vehicle will be adorned with the British racing green of days gone by. According to the BMW press release, the car will be powered by a “155 kW/211 hp four-cylinder engine with Twin-Scroll turbocharger and petrol direct injection. The production version of the MINI John Cooper Works World Championship 50 features numerous exterior and interior details reflecting the racing pedigree of the brand.

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People

Peter Wheeler, TVR owner dies at age 65

Peter R. Wheeler, the former owner of the quirky sports-car maker TVR and a maverick of Britain’s car industry, died June 11 in England. He was 65. His death, after a struggle with cancer, was confirmed by Ben Samuelson, a friend of Wheeler’s family and a former TVR employee. In 1981, when Wheeler bought TVR, a maker of fast and relatively inexpensive sports cars with a passionate fan club, the only thing that linked him with TVR was that he drove one. Wheeler, a chemical engineer from Sheffield, England, with no experience in the car industry who had made his money supplying specialized equipment to the North Sea oil industry, started designing and overseeing the production of several car models, including the Tuscan and the Chimaera, which were known for their finely tuned engines and extra-light bodywork. The company then […]

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MINI

New Mini Owner’s Site

MiniMania, the supplier of parts for both classic and new Minis, has launched a new social networking site for Mini owners. MiniOwners aims to be for Mini enthusiasts what FaceBook is to … well, to the rest of the world. According to the site, “MiniOwners.com connects you with other people who share a common love for the Mini! Keep in touch with your Mini friends, and make new ones! MiniOwners.com is an expansion of the Mini Mania’s already popular forum. We’ve added new features to take it to the next level of Social Networking. Amoung the many features of MiniOwners is the ability to create your own profile page, upload images to galleries you create as well as create profiles of your cars! Create a network of friends to share your latest projects with. Post status updates to let your […]

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Corporate Business

Budget MG’s here (or there) at last!

It was understandable that MG should want to mark its return to business in the UK last year by launching a comprehensively-equipped version of the TF sports car, in the form of the LE 500. But all the extra features included with the car ended up taking its price above £16,000 -and into the area occupied by its formidable roadster rival the Mazda MX-5.Now the entry-level version of the TF has arrived and, in retrospect, the Chinese-owned firm may have been better served by going with the standard car from the word go.The new MG TF 135 will retail for £13,511, which in itself is not bad value for a 1.8 litre, mid-engined soft-top sports car. Throw the government’s scrappage scheme into the equation, however, and you can get a new TF for £11,511, plus your old banger as a […]

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Classic Cars

1999 Jaguar XK8 meets the need for a smoother sports car

I’ve always loved sports cars. I think I got the bug back when I was a young kid growing up in the Richmond district of San Francisco. This was in the 1950s when they would have sports car races through Golden Gate Park. My dad would take me to these sanctioned races, which were held on weekends. I especially remember the MG TDs, Porsches and Allards. But by far the most impressive to me were the Jaguar XK120s, which were the hottest cars out there. As I grew older and started driving, I was drawn to European sports cars. The first two that I owned were used Triumphs, which were all that I could afford at the time. What I really lusted after, though, was one of the Jaguar XK120s that I had fallen in love with at Golden Gate […]

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Events

MG 2009 Starts Today in Breckinridge, Colorado

MG 2009 is an event that all of you British car lovers aren’t going to want to miss. It starts June 24th and runs until June 28th. This is a North America MGB Register’s annual event that is hosted by a different chapter of The MG Car Club each time, so we are very lucky to have this national meet right in our own backyards. This year’s host is The MG Car Club Rocky Mountain Centre. Now most of the events had to be registered for as part of the club, but there is one that will surely draw attention: The Peak 9 Car Show and Concours. The event will be on Saturday, June 27th in Breckenridge. More details to follow as I get them, so check back soon or check out the MG2009 website here. Another event that might […]

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Corporate Business

New Top Gear Fan Site

As the new season of Top Gear starts, you can almost feel the excitement on the wires. Well, maybe I exaggerate a bit, but people really are eagerly awaiting the new season of their favorite car show. As proof, check out the new fansite dedicated to Top Gear at site www.topgearshow.com. With subject ranging from the recent Stig reveal controversy to the reviewed cars themselves, there is a ton of good information on the site. (Let’s just hope they devote a nice section to Oliver, my favorite car from the show.) They are trying to create the ultimate fan site that is dedicated to classic moments of May, Clarkson and Hammond, so stop by and take a look. And don’t forget to tune in to Top Gear!

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Articles

British days out: Getting straight into Top Gear at Beaulieu

There’s an official-looking horizontal line about 3ft off the ground as you enter the new exhibition at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. The notice alongside says: YOU MUST BE THIS TALL (to be bigger than Richard Hammond). And that sets the tone for the World Of Top Gear section that opened last week, coinciding with the start of a new series of Top Gear today (June 21st). The motoring programme has a huge following in 80 countries but this will be the only place in the world where you can see some of the vehicles that featured in Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May’s best-known stunts. Cars such as the Reliant Robin Space Shuttle, Suzuki Swift that played ice-hockey and Toyota Hilux driven to the North Pole are almost TV stars in their own right and are expected […]

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Racing and Competition

Formula 1 Goes Retro-Racing With the Return of Lotus

Amidst all of the bickering, wrangling and hand-wringing consuming the Formula One teams when they aren’t on the track comes word that Lotus could return to the sport next year. Yes, that would be the same Lotus founded by Colin Chapman, one of the greatest innovators racing ever saw. The same Lotus that revolutionized F1 on more than one occasion. The retro-racing vibe goes deeper. Brabham, the outfit launched by “Black Jack” Brabham and once owned by F1 capo di tutti capi Bernie Ecclestone has its eyes on the grid. There’s also some mumbling about Lola and March fielding cars next year. All of this is fueled by the civil war between the Formula One Teams Association and the Federation Internationale d’Automobile, which are at odds over the FIA’s plan for a budget cap to rein in the stratospheric cost […]

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Racing and Competition

Vettel Wins British Grand Prix, Red Bull 1-2

In front of nearly 100,000 fans on a dark overcast day, Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull RB5 stormed to an easy win at the historic Silverstone circuit for Formula One’s 2009 British Grand Prix. The race proved once and for all that mighty Brawn GP can be beaten, and that the F1 championship fight is likely to tighten before a winner is declared. The British victory was Vettel’s second of the season – he also won the rainy Chinese Grand Prix – and third of his F1 career. It was also the German’s first career win under dry conditions. All three of his wins have come from Pole position. Vettel also scored the hat-trick: Pole, fastest lap, and the win. For the Red Bull F1 team, it was their second win of the season, and their second in the […]

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Classic Cars

Phil Wicks Driving Academy at Brainerd International Raceway June 27-28

It is only three weeks away — the biggest celebration of the 50 years of the Mini/MINI — MINI East Meets West. The Phil Wicks Driving Academy will hold an event at Brainerd International Raceway on Saturday and Sunday, June 27-28. The days will consist of driving academy — all makes and models of cars — with instruction in classroom and on-track for Novice, Intermediate, and Expert; North American Can/Am Challenge races (classic Minis); Vintage car races — all makes and models; and North American MINI Cooper Challenge Time Trials. There will be a dutch treat banquet and awards presentation in the clubhouse at Brainerd on Saturday evening. All are invited to attend. Fees for the driving academy are $300 for one day, $500 for two days. And there will be lunch-time touring laps for non-participants for a fee of […]

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Corporate Business

Dom Joly stars in Made In Britain

One man… stripped of everything he owns and challenged to just buy British… Join award-winning television comedian Dom Joly on an epic road trip around Britain in an attempt to fill his house from top to bottom with British-made products in the brand new series Made In Britain. As part of this unique experiment, Dom will have his family home turned upside down and stripped of everything he owns that’s not made in the UK. He’s then challenged to go on a remarkable shopping trip, travelling the length and breadth of the country to try and replace all his foreign goods with British-made products. Before the inspectors arrive, Dom’s quaint country cottage in the Cotswolds is a safe haven for foreign merchandise: the Italian coffee machine, a television manufactured in Japan and pants made in Taiwan. In no time at […]

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Classic Cars

MGLive! Ticketing Goes Live

Admission tickets for MGLive!, the World’s largest MG event, which is being staged over the weekend of July 10, 11 and 12 at Silverstone circuit, are now available to purchase online from www.mglive.com – and those who book early will save £5 per ticket! MG enthusiasts can purchase their admission tickets securely through a familiar shopping cart system and select which events they’d like to participate in throughout the course of the weekend. Those who pre-book will benefit from a £5 saving when compared to the on-the-gate prices. With such a vast array of activities programmed, the online ticketing system separates each individual activity and allows enthusiasts to tailor a bespoke MGLive! weekend package. For those seeking an adrenaline laced experienced there is the autotest, sprint and Pirelli Pro Rally Rides but for a more sedate weekend the concours and […]

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Corporate Business

MG’s Quiet Revolution

The launch of a new variant model by any car company is relatively common – but the first glimpse of the Longbridge-built MGTF 135 deserves closer scrutiny. This is not just any variant, this is the first standard car – as opposed to a limited edition two-seater – that the famous old Birmingham factory has produced since its closure with the loss of 6,500 jobs back in April 2005. The owners of Longbridge, SAIC/Nanjing, have often lived up to the Chinese reputation for inscrutability in the intervening four years, with a number of false dawns and missed deadlines for model launches. But since Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation took over Nanjing Automobile 16 months ago, Longbridge would appear to have a more secure future, with deeper pockets and a much more significant resource base.