MG : MGLive! Show report
The annual big MG bash, MGLive! returned to Silverstone this weekend. With thousands of visitors expected over the weekend, AROnline sent Contributor Adam Sloman to get the low-down on what many see as the MG event of 2010.
Organised by the MG Car Club, MGLive! is one of the biggest events of its kind and a must for any MG fan. With onsite camping, show and shine, an autojumble and a full race meeting programme over two days, MGLive! certainly offers great value for money.
This year’s event had an exciting extra dimension, as the MG6 was shown to the public for the first time. This was the first opportunity for potential punters to get up close and personal with the new MG, with a trio of 6s to sample. A silver 6 was on display in Abingdon Plaza for people to sit in and paw over, while members of MG’s development team were on hand to tackle questions from visitors. I took the opportunity to speak to MG fans and ask them exactly what they made of the car, after seeing it in the metal for the first time.
Paul Healey, Nuneaton:
“I own an MGF. It’s quite pleasing to the eye, but it needs an edge. It’s very similar to everything else out there, it’s just an ordinary car.”
Graham Ford, Trowbridge:
“I’m on my third ZR, I’m a big MG fan. This is much better than I expected – you know what people say about Chinese quality, but this is good. The driving position is spot-on, the seats are so comfy, no need to adjust anything. I’m seriously thinking about getting one, but I want a diesel.”
Pete De Jong, The Netherlands:
“To start with I didn’t like it but it’s growing on me. It needs a bodykit, or the option for one, to make it more like the ZS, which I think was a great car and the best MG-Rover built.”
Steve and Michelle Robinson, London:
“We own a ZR. I don’t think it’s the right car for MG. The silver colour doesn’t help, from a distance it could be any car.”
“Some of the finish is a bit plasticky. It’s more Rover than MG, it’s not my ZR. It’s not racey enough. Having said that, it’s brilliant to see MG back with a new car.”
Hugh Turner, Newton Poppleford:
“It’s not a bad car. I still think it’s a shame the Chinese had to get involved. I’m not sure I’d trade it in for my diesel SEAT – I think I’ll stick to my Midget.”
An orange 6 was also run around the famous circuit, giving those there for the racing a chance to see the all important model. Over at the Stowe sprint circuit, MG chassis guru Andy Kitson was giving a third 6 its international motorsport competition debut, competing against MGs both classic and modern. MG’s reputation has, in large part, been built on its motorsport success and this was a chance to demonstrate that the new car deserves the famous badge. Wearing number 86, the 6 in question featured the full UK chassis set-up, as reviewed so positively by weekly car magazine Autocar.
Sadly, things didn’t go quite to plan and, after just one brief lap, the car was forced to retire with a minor mechanical issue. With the 6 recovered, I was able to grab a few minutes with Andy and ask him a few questions, about the car, why it had retired and how things were progressing towards launch. ‘It’s a minor problem’ he said, not confirming if the turbo had, as rumoured, failed. ‘That’s motorsport. It’s a development car and these things happen.’
Andy’s 6 sported a new rear boot lip spoiler, which he confirmed will be standard on all UK-spec cars. ‘We’re still carrying out minor development work on the car – things have moved on since Autocar drove this particular 6.’
I also took the opportunity to ask Andy how the 6 might compare to other new cars, such as Alfa’s forthcoming Giulietta, which is being hailed as the latest benchmark for handling in the C-segment: ‘Well, I can say that we used the 159 as part of our benchmarking process, along with the Mazda 6 and the Ford Focus. Obviously I’ve not had chance to drive the Giulietta, but if you compare the rear suspension set ups on both cars, you’ll see that they’re remarkably similar. However, we were there first!’
Away from the new cars, there was a wonderful mix of all things MG, from the earliest pre-war cars right through to the last-of-the line ZT V8s, with both moderns and classics fighting it out for honours in the Concours and Pride Of Ownership competitions. There were a few absentees though, with the 80’s triple M cars in particular poorly represented on the Sunday.
There was a full race programme across the weekend and, with 16 different races from the MGCC Metro Cup through to the MG Midget Challenge and Aero Racing Morgan Challenge, there was plenty of variety out on track. Terry Grant’s awe-inspiring Stunt Show wowed visitors in the X-Treme Arena, as did the X-Treme Motorcycle Stunt Trials Display Team. With so much to see and do it was clear just how hard the organisers, many of them volunteers, had worked, and without a doubt MGLive! 2010 was a great success.
It’s a pity the MG6’s competition debut was cut short. However, the presence of the three pre-production cars was a positive showing from MG Motor UK and one that underlines the company’s commitment not only to new cars and new customers, but to the community that has supported MG for the last 85 years.