Omdat het toch altijd weer leuk is om een stukje over de MG RV8 te lezen heb ik het volgende artikel geplaatst;
One last hurrah: the 1994 MG RV8
May 22, 2014
The marque itself was overseen by three corporate parents during those 18 years on the line: BMC, British Motor Holdings and, finally, British Leyland. The basic roadster design spawned the MGC as well as the MGB GT coupes, the latter even being available in Buick V8 flavor from 1973 onward. But by 1980, the MGB exited production, unable to keep up with the competition from Japan even though the basic engineering was easy to work on and very well sorted. So that was it for the MGB, right?
Not quite. The idea of a small British roadster lived on, at least in the country that originated it.
The MGB made a brief comeback in 1993 in the guise of the MG RV8, a 3.9-liter V8-engined roadster that combined MGB architecture with Rover’s corporate V8. And recently we got a chance to go for a spin in one. But first, a little bit more history.
1,983 examples were made in the UK over three model years, with most going to Japan. The rest stayed in the UK. Photo by Jay Ramey
Project Adder, as it was known, took advantage of as much existing MGB architecture as possible. Old MGB bodyshells were used as the basis for clay modeling bucks. In went the 3,950-cc Rover V8 engine with Lucas multipoint injection, good for 190 hp at 4,750 rpm and offering 234 lb-ft of torque. These figures gave the MG RV8 the ability to sprint to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds, plenty quick for a small but heavy car with a relatively heavy engine up front. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a Rover R380 five-speed manual gearbox, though a few early cars used the Rover LT55 five-speed manual unit.
The steering and dash are very luxurious, compared to older MG interiors. Photo by Jay Ramey
So how did our example end up in Canada?
Via Japan, it turns out. Michel Foti of Montreal was traveling in the U.K. a few years back and happened upon a classic car magazine in the airport. Even though he has owned British roadsters before, the existence of MG RV8s was news to him. Flipping through the magazine, he found a couple RV8s for sale in the U.K. After some searching on the Internet, he discovered that a fair chunk of the production run had been imported back to Britain from Japan. Foti kept searching until he found the Oxford Blue example that he brought to Canada.
“It’s a 1994, one of the first sold in Japan, and I’m the third owner. A Japanese guy was the first owner, a British guy brought it back to the U.K., and I’m the third owner” Foti said as we settle in to go for a spin around Montreal on a subzero November morning.
Foti looked at three cars while he was in the U.K., visiting a dealer in Swansea, and, to his surprise, all of them had rather low mileage.
“This was the most expensive one of the three cars, but with [the] least mileage,” Foti tells us. “But, of course, the car was like brand new, only 16,800 kilometers. It was funny to notice that the car was built in Coventry in the U.K., brought by sea to Japan, from Japan brought back to the U.K., and from U.K. brought back to Canada. So this car has more mileage by sea than road.”
Very few parts are interchangeable with the MGB. Photo by Jay Ramey
Low mileage isn’t always a good thing; having the equivalent of 10,400 miles on the clock meant the RV8 had likely seen long periods of dormancy. The car Foti bought required a little recommissioning but nothing major.
“I was surprised because when I bought it and I brought it back, it was like a tractor. It was very stiff,” Foti says as we snake through Montreal traffic, with the metallic thrum of the V8 engine causing pedestrians to turn around with curiosity. “So the only thing I’ve done on the car is change everything that’s rubber, everything that’s rubber on the car. The tires, of course, all the bushings.”
The chassis of the RV8 feels very different from that of old MGBs, as it should. For starters, the suspension has been redesigned pretty thoroughly; the wheels are wider, and so are the stance and the tires. And it’s a much heavier car, too, with plenty of luxuries inside that would have seemed out of place in the old MGBs. No expense was spared, it seemed, to take the interior as far upmarket as possible, and the modest production plans allowed for every luxury trimming to be thrown at the RV8.
We ask Foti just how much of the old MGB is in this design.
“The guy who made the body shell of the car was the same who made the MGB in the beginning,” Foti says “He was retired, and all of his team was retired. So they hired his whole team and the whole factory plant where they made the shell of the MGB, and they redesigned the car. So 60 percent of the car is the MGB, and 40 percent is Rover technology. Plus the gearbox and the engine, and the suspension is not the same as the original of the MGB.”
The old over 3.9-liter V8 soldiered on, one of the best engines in Rover’s lineup at the time. Photo by Jay Ramey
“It’s a little bit more weight for the engine. The good thing is that Rover worked perfectly with the suspension on the front because the engine is very heavy, so that was a problem with the MGB” Foti says.
“Do the wide tires really help?” we ask him.
“Oh yeah, it’s different, you can feel it. Not, I would say at low speeds, but you can feel it when we’re going very fast. The steering is very tough, and you need that. And you have no power steering, that is the other thing too. That is very tough.”
The RV8 turned out to be a fairly successful exercise for Rover. Even though under 2,000 examples were built over two models years, the RV8 reconfirmed that Rover had the expertise and the touch to build roadsters, right when the world was finally coming out of a recession.
“When they came out with the car, it was 26,500 pounds. It was very expensive. At the same time, you had a Miata for 8,000, so it was very expensive,” Foti says with a nod.
“So have most of them left Japan by now?” we ask.
“They still have a lot in Japan, but they have something, like, 900. And I was surprised, but they have a lot in Australia and New Zealand, so they have a few there.”
The interior has been redesigned, tailored for comfort given the asking price at the time. Photo by Jay Ramey
For a car with such a limited run, parts are a bit scarce, but so far its lucky owner hasn’t had to do much. After all, the car hasn’t even hit 15,000 miles.
“I’m now trying to get two back lights right now in case something happens because they made only 2,000 pieces. I would say the light in the front is not a big thing because it’s a part from the old Porsche 911,” Foti says.
“Made by Bosch?” we ask.
“Yes, but the back casing was made just for this model, and they didn’t make a lot of them. So just that is more expensive than the disc brakes,” Foti replies.
A number of RV8s have since come back to the UK, though a few ended up in Australia and New Zealand. Photo by Jay Ramey
“I remember when I was 20 years old and I was very lucky to get an MGB at that time,” Foti tells us. “And for me, at that time, I’d wanted a roadster car for my life, all my life. Of course my life changed, like everybody, and I did not have a roadster car for many years. I have the chance to have one back, and I am very happy about it.”
Years of manufacture: 1993-1995
Number made: 1,983
Number sold in the U.S: 0
Number sold in Japan:1,581
Value range: $14,000 – $25,000
(de marktwaarde varieert naargelang staat van het voertuig, kilometerstaand, oorsprong, originaliteit, kleur en land. (CH))
Best source of parts: Japan, U.K.
Bij deze natuurlijk onze hartelijke dank aan Autoweek.com voor de toestemming dit te mogen publiceren!