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Still an amateur-- what is an MG?



  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    I am trying to get one of my British Buddies to find a DVD of "Who Killed the British Car Industry?" but so far no luck.
  • texasestexases Posts: 7,760
    How many special (non-US or metric) tools would I need to work on a, say, 1970 MGB?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    None...SAE + Metric should handle everything except a few special tools that have nothing to do with size of the be honest, an adjustable wrench, a vise grip, some screw drivers and a fishing tackle box are about all you need to fix an MGB. We are talking 1915 technology here.

    Of course, I'm not recommending you use such tools---but you could get away with it in a pinch. Well maybe not for head bolts :P

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  • texasestexases Posts: 7,760
    Good - I was wondering if it was infested with those 'quaint' English fasteners - Whitworth, or something like that?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Unless you really get into it you don't need any special tools I can think of. There are special reamers that are used for front end work (MG's are king pin front ends, believe it or not) but most people just buy rebuilt swivel assemblies if needed and don't do the reaming themselves. I have done lots of work on my MGB and don't recall needing anything out of the ordinary.
    One thing most MG owners don't realize is that you can change rod bearings while the engine is in the car, since the oil pan can be removed without removing the engine. I don't know how many times I have heard of people having the little 1.8 rebuilt because of a loose rod bearing. It's not always necessary, as long as the crankpin is in good condition.
  • no-one seems to have mentioned the MG RV8 which was the spiritual re-incarnation of the old MG-B. 3.9 Ltr V8, 5-spd, 0-60 in 5.9secs. Quite nice in an olde wolde sort of way. Maybe they didn't make it over the pond (?) Go here for a look.

    Of course, Rover were badging all sorts of dire things as MG's. Most of them ghastly but the MG ZT260 did have the 4.6 Ltr V8 from the Mustang, (honest) and is now something of a collectable item. Links to that, and the MG SV - a truly horrific "supercar" that was a rebadged Italian something are below. :lemon: The SV was truly bad and one of the motoring magazine's road test cars broke down repeatedly. Mostly, bits just kept falling off. You could, if you were brave, or stupid, enough specify a factory NOS kit for your SV. Aaaaaaarrrggghhh.

    Apologies for being late to this thread. Many excuses; mostly boring. :blush:
  • If I am correct, about half of the RV8s ended up in Japan.
  • no-one seems to have mentioned the MG RV8...
    You mentioned the reason why it wasn't mentioned...Americans last saw a new MG in 1980. We were not given access to the MG Metro (which I would have liked), Maestro, RV8, ZR, ZS, ZT, or the SV (which was actually designed to meet US specs). The 1979 Midget and 1980 MGB were the last MG-badged vehicles sold in the US.

    The RWD ZT-260 would have been a nice addition to the US marketplace, and I would have even liked the standard FWD versions of the ZT. The SV was sold in the US in its previous incarnation as the Qvale Mangusta...of which you can probably still find an unregistered one around for not too much money.
  • Rather thought that's why the RV8 didn't hit your shores. The Metro, Maestro, (and Montego), weren't actually that good but the Maestro was quick for it's day. Remember driving the whole range at a trade track day at Brands Hatch, (those were the days). Kept waiting for the turbo to kick-in on the Metro - it never seemed to and the Montego shed a drive shaft midway through a bend. :surprise: Not an experience I'd like to repeat in a FWD car. Best fun of the day was from a) a standard Rover 820i which was just so precise and chuckable and b) a Rover SD1 Vitesse V8 which was huge fun in the bends and had that lovely V8 rumble from the ex-Buick lump which went on to be fitted into just about everything from Range Rovers to TVR's. Good SD1's ones are now hard to find.

    The ZS, ZR and ZT were/are, of course, re-badged Rovers. The ZT was actually a Rover 75 - lots of badge snobs decried it but it was, and still is, a b****y good motor car and lots of testers said the ride was better than Rolls Royce. Ever so cheap now. Yes, you're absolutely correct, the SV was of course the Qvale but I couldn't bring that name to mind. In MG form it was a real hairy disaster...............Lada quality for Porsche money; not a good combination. :lemon:
  • The Qvale Mangusta wasn't a great car either. Qvale is an American company that made a deal with deTomaso to make the Mangusta, but legal issue arose and Qvale absorbed the whole operation before selling it to MG Rover.

    America did have the Rover 3500 (you call it the SD1) for a couple of years during Rover's second attempt on the States. I've found a few 3500's around and thought about buying each and every one. Even thought about buying a Sterling 825 (Rover 825 to you) in the early 1990s. But the Sterling was creaked and rattled so bad that I decided not to spend the money on it.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,877
    Funny...a friend of mine who travels to the UK often is in love with the Rover 75. He'd bring one over to NA if he could.

    From the rental cars he has had, he also likes Peugeot diesels.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    The new Peugeot turbo-diesels are pretty fantastic little cars. I can see why he likes them. I was *very* impressed.

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    I was wondering- if I ever got a late '70s MG (Midget or B) would it be possible to chuck the junk stock Zenith carb and install dual SUs on the motor? Would that work even with all the emissions garbage?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    You can do it, but it won't pass emissions in a lot of places. On an MGB the integrated intake/exhaust manifold will need to be replaced with the older style separate manifolds, carbs, etc. Downdraft Webers and headers are a popular option. I know shifty doesn't agree, but it's the way a lot of people go.
    I'm not sure on a Midget, but I think it's about the same.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    Yeah, you could do it but the earlier Midgets are so cheap that why would you bother? As for the late 70s Bs, those are cheaper than the earlier cars but you're stuck with the rubber bumpers and the jacked-up suspension--which takes a LOT to correct.

    You can put a Weber on if you want to waste gas and gain about 1/2 a horsepower (front half or rear?), but there's nothing like a pair of SUs. They work the best.

    I'd have to check but I think you could take a late 70s Midget engine, put on an earlier head, manifold and twin SUs, replace the exhaust system, etc. But then you can't pass smog and couldn't re-sell the car in many states.

    I know a guy who modified a 1980 MGB with vastly better suspension and an earlier engine and it runs and drives just great...but it still looks like a 1980 MGB--and he has to re-install the old engine every two years for smog check.

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  • Re. one of Shifty's old posts . . . I would agree the overall quality of the MG was better than Triumph, but having owned a number of both, I disagree in one area - engines.

    My experience with both marques from 1959 thru 1968 models, including a Magnette, MGB, MGB GT, TR3A, TR4, GT6, and a TR6, I feel that Triumph made the better engine. Not only were they stronger and more torquey, both the Vanguard I4 and the Vittese-based Inline 6, but longer-lived than the MG. The basic problem with Triumph was the entire package - many times, not well-executed. All but 3 were bought new, and really had an excellent time learning about cars during my early years as a driver and car owner.
  • What do you think of this?

    Combined with this story

    or do you think that is all BS or a stupid idea entirely?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    Sounds like a classic case of corporate blundering into expansion for no good reason into areas in which they have no business. (can you VW Phaeton?)

    RE: Triumph vs. MG -- you'd get no strong argument from me that Triumph made a better engine than MG...Triumphs were always a touch faster and MGs seemed to handle better and were better-built.

    RE: A new BMW "Spitfire". I think the name "Spitfire" on a German product would not be good PR, even 67 years after the "Great Unpleasantness". If the UK still takes the time to do Spitfire fly-overs at memorial ceremonies I don't think they would much appreciate BMWs stealing the name. I mean, would you drive a Honda "USS Arizona"?

    I am told that names of soldiers and airmen killed in both WWI and WWII are published on the anniversary of certain battles, to this day.

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  • I agree for the most part. I think BMW has sort of lost their way like Mercedes has.

    I think the backlash if they came out with a model called the Spitfire would be felt even over in the states.

    Some of the small town papers in my neck of the woods do publish the names of the dead from certain battles. One of the local shops in the town over from where my dealership is has a little section with various articles from old newspapers when someone was killed in battle. Many of them go all the way back to WWI. Whenever a veteran from the town dies they add his obituary to the wall.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    One would think (if one were thinking) that to reprise a model name, one would pick a model name that had some glory, fame, mythology, etc attached to it....SILVER GHOST...CHARGER....MINI...MUSTANG....CAMARO....2002...540K...300SL

    but "spitfire"?

    I mean, this was a very humble little car when it first came out...

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  • You know if you were going to reprise a Triumph model could you do better then TR-6?

    It fits with BMWs tendency to use alpha numerics and BMW already has the best inline 6 cylinders in the world.

    I personally always liked the name Stag but I don't see it making a come back either.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    There was a car madein the USA called the American Moosehead. I always thought that would be a great name for a big SUV.

    This constant reaching back to the past smacks of desperation doesn't it?

    They'll never be another MG. It's still possible to evoke the past in a new car---Porsche and Ferrari both do that---their 2007 cars DO FEEL like the old cars in some ways...there's a definite connection in sound, driving position, even in styling....but a "new" MG? How could that possibly be re-created? Is someone really going to build a torquey pushrod 4 cylinder engine and mate it to a dogsled suspension? I don't THINK so.

    Ferrari and Porsche were sophisticated cars in 1965. MG certainly was not. It had more in common with 1925 than 2005.

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  • There was a car madein the USA called the American Moosehead. I always thought that would be a great name for a big SUV.

    That would be a good name althought it almost sounds Canyoneroish.


    Completely off topic but that reminded me of this. If you ever get over to my side of the country you have to stop by the Golden Age of Trucking museum. My Wife's aunt, Aunt In-Law I guess, runs it along with another woman.

    Golden Age of Trucking

    I had my wedding there and it is a freaking cool place. They have some really cool old trucks there including some pre-war stuff from local makes.

    Partial list of trucks on hand They get new stuff all the time. When I was there for my wedding they had a collection of WWII era armor there.


    That is one of my favorites. 1928 Pierce Arrow.
  • One would think (if one were thinking) that to reprise a model name, one would pick a model name that had some glory, fame, mythology, etc attached to it....SILVER GHOST...CHARGER....MINI...MUSTANG....CAMARO....2002...540K...300SL

    but "spitfire"?

    I mean, this was a very humble little car when it first came out...

    But Mini "was a very humble little car when it first came out" as well.

    I can't imagine that BMW would launch a "BMW Spitfire" but a new Triumph Spitfire wouldn't have any negative connection to BMW. Nobody seems to have a problem with the ultimate British icons (Rolls-Royce and Bentley) being owned by their former rivals the Germans.

    BMW has done an excellent job of promoting its newer brands. Rolls-Royce has returned to its position as the top car to be driven in. Mini has established a subcompact as a premium brand. And none of this has seemed to lessen the impact of BMW's image.

    My dual loves of Triumph's rival MG (Triumph-powered MG Midgets were NOT as good as MG-powered ones) and off-brand vehicles in general are at odds. I would rather see MG become a global brand again (preferably not under Chinese control, though) than a revival of Triumph, but I also would like to see more niche brands revived. It's such a conundrum!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    Well humble in original form but also developed into a world-class butt-kicker. The MINI Cooper S gave bigger faster cars FITS in racing on tight tracks and in the Monte Carlo rally (and others). You can still view old film footage of MINIS eating up Corvettes at Lime Rock (back when Corvettes had maximum power and minimum brakes). The racing MINIS were formidable and highly respected cars.

    Spitfires share none of this world-class glory IMO. It's a car you bought when you couldn't afford an MGB and when you couldn't bring yourself to drive a Triumph Herald.

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  • Spitfires share none of this world-class glory IMO. It's a car you bought when you couldn't afford an MGB and when you couldn't bring yourself to drive a Triumph Herald.

    Again, I'm an MG fan so I find it difficult to defend Triumph. BUT...

    I would imagine that a revived Triumph would start with the TR-Series before they'd relaunch any other model name. I, personally, would rather see a revived Dolomite hitting the market to compete with the RWD tuner cars that the Japanese car fans seem to want from Toyota/Nissan.

    But make a TR9 and I'll be there to check it out.
  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    "Spitfires share none of this world-class glory IMO. ..."

    I'm sure you are correct, but in the world of sports car
    racing I seem to have read about several well tuned spitfires
    that did a lot in SCCA lower classes for several decades.
    Seems the car could be put in shape to compete at that level.
    BTW, I owned a B from '72 to '85 so was always partial
    to B's over any Triumph model.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    I'm sure a Spitfire won a race or two but we never heard about it in the outside world. MG had a lot more visibility in America at least, and certainly a more substantial pre-war reputation; also victories with Stirling Moss, etc. And of course, we had the MG TC which really was responsible for introducing the foreign sports car to America, with the returning US soldiers who brought them home after WW II.

    Triumph was, is, and always will be the also-ran of MG, and that's just the way it is, fair or not.

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  • starrow68starrow68 Posts: 1,142
    Guess that is the one advantage about not having followed it
    at the time. I only know about what they dredge up for the
    classic motorsports reviews of the past. I will say that
    I've seen two spitfires at track events in the past 4+years
    and no MGB's. Although the B's do seem to have a few entries
    at the Historic events.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    Yeah I don't think contemporary vintage racing reflects the actual spread or performance of the cars at the time of their manufacture...but I'm sure people raced their Triumphs back in the day. But I don't think Spitfires made much of a name for themselves back then.

    It's a pretty slender hook upon which to hang a reputation, is my point. It's a rather obscure car for a "heritage".

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