MG X POWER : William Riley speaks to AROnline

Clive Goldthorp  

William Riley and his re-launched SV

William Riley and his re-launched WR SV Coupe

AROnline’s regular readers may recall that, when we last wrote about the dispute between MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited and Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation in November, 2008 (MG X POWER: The IPO’s Hearing Officer delivers his decision), we had been unable to contact the former company’s Managing Director, William Riley, for his comments. However, although contact was made shortly after that article was published, our News Editor’s recent health-related absence precluded him from arranging a meeting with William Riley until a few weeks ago.  

MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited’s Applications for rectification of the Trade Marks Register in respect of Registration No. 2296016 (the MG X POWER Trade Mark) and revocation of thirty one other MG Trade Marks have, in the meantime, been consolidated with the Infringement Proceedings which Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation commenced in the High Court last September. The High Court has subsequently scheduled the Trial for a date(s) to be fixed during the three months commencing in November, 2009 and ending in January, 2010.  

William Riley, quite properly, declined to discuss the continuing High Court Proceedings any further but did provide AROnline with details of MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited’s latest model range in addition to revealing some of his company’s plans for the future. The models currently available are as follows:  

WR SV-R Coupe  

Engine: 5.0 litre V8 32v 420bhp in Stage 1 specification  

Performance: 0-60mph 3.9secs Maximum speed 185mph  

Fuel consumption: 26mpg (unofficially)  

Price: £78,000 otr  

This version effectively supersedes the original MG XPower SV-R  

WR SV-R Convertible  

Engine: 5.0 litre V8 32v 420bhp in Stage 1 specification  

Performance: 0-60mph 3.9secs Maximum speed 185mph  

Fuel consumption: 26mpg (unofficially)  

Price: £84,000 otr  

WR SV-S Coupe  

Engine: 5.0 litre V8 16v with supercharger 520bhp in Stage 3 specification  

Performance: 0-60mph 3.6secs Maximum speed 200mph  

Fuel consumption: 24-25mpg (unofficially)  

Price: £82,000 otr  

WR SV-S Convertible  

Engine: 5.0 litre V8 16v with supercharger 520bhp in Stage 3 specification  

Performance: 0-60mph 3.6secs Maximum speed 200mph  

Fuel consumption: 24-25mpg (unofficially)  

Price: £88,000 otr  

MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited can, in addition, build a WR SV with any of the engine options for the Mustang-based V8s offered by either Ford Power Products in Dearborn or Roush Performance Products Inc. which supplies the superchargers and the Stage 3 engines. The company will be introducing a 5.4 litre V8 engine with up to 700bhp when market conditions improve but the existing 5.0 litre V8 engines will continue to be available.  

Riley, who describes the WR SV as ‘a British supercar icon,’ says that he intends to keep the car in production ‘pretty much indefinitely’ but does have plans to produce a wider range of sportscars which would, like the WR SV, be built on ‘a very strong welded steel chassis capable of handling high output engines and carrying state of the art braking systems.’ However, before any all-new models are developed, MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited aims to launch two further derivatives of the WR SV.  

An entry level version of the WR SV will be powered by a Ford 3.5 litre V6 engine and have fibreglass as opposed to Kevlar bodywork. The bodywork, which has been styled by an established, UK-based, Car Designer, has a ‘more rounded and voluptuous’ profile in comparison to that of the existing WR SV and will be available as both a coupe and a convertible from around £36,000 to £38,000.  

Development work on an electric version of the WR SV, the WR SV-E, continues despite the current economic recession. The car will feature hub motors and regenerative braking in addition to cutting-edge lithium polymer battery technology. Lithium polymer batteries are more advanced than the lithium ion cells used in the Tesla Roadster because they weigh less and can be charged more rapidly. The car’s Kevlar bodywork had been designed to incorporate selenium-based solar cells and will effectively function as a solar panel.  

Riley says that MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited should start testing the first WR SV-E prototype before the end of 2009 and adds that the technology showcased by the car has been developed with the specific intention of licensing the relevant patents to any interested OEMs.  

However, whether William Riley’s plans for his company come to fruition may well, at least to some extent, still be dependent upon the outcome any Trial in the current High Court Proceedings…  

[Editor’s Note: MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited’s website can be found here.]  

MG XPower WR

MG XPower WR SV Convertible

Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

22 Comments on "MG X POWER : William Riley speaks to AROnline"

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  1. Andrew Elphick says:

    So why is Mr. Riley selling a very scruffy yet *NEW* 09 SV for a third of that at auction? See this link.

  2. Lord Sward says:

    I hope he wins the court battle.

  3. ba_barabus says:

    Andrew Elphick :
    So why is Mr. Riley selling a very scruffy yet *NEW* 09 SV for a third of that at auction? See this link.

    That looks trashed on the inside!

  4. Davey B says:

    The Chinese complaining in the High Court about the infringement of Trade Marks is, to say the least, ironic.

  5. Terribly Modern Gentleman says:

    @Davey B This isn’t going anywhere!

  6. Richard says:

    How can you have two owners of the MG name? Ridiculous. It’ll be thrown out of court – either that or SAIC will pay Riley to go away quietly.

  7. Graham says:

    I wish this to be a success. However, just like the TF, it’s hard to see how these warmed up leftovers of MG Rover are going to succeed in the current market. They are going head to head with the likes of the Aston Martin V8, 911 and R8 and that is suicide. If they could cheapen it without pushing the weight up too much, may be by ditching a lot of expensive carbon fibre panels for glass fibre (why carbon fibre when they are not structural) to get the price down to where the TVR Tuscan was, then they might have a chance.

  8. Gary H says:

    Does any body buy these cars? (just asking)

  9. Graham says:

    Gary H :Does any body buy these cars? (just asking)

    Well somebody or something does because Porsche produce about 36K 911s each year which puts this exercise and TF production at Longbridge somewhat in the shade.

  10. alexscott says:

    You would think that Nanjing/SAIC would be quite happy to share a name with this road rocket. Why can’t they (Nanjing/SAIC and WR) save their faces and money and just start making cars.

    I notice that WR (William Riley) is mentioned instead of MG – is he conceding defeat already? What would Winston Churchill say…? Personally, I think WR is a bit vain. Surely there must be some other British heritage name or place that hasn’t been used yet or could be shared.

  11. alexscott says:

    OK, I’ve had a look at the website…and I take it all back. WR doesn’t stand for William Riley – it stands for Worcestershire Rocket. It’s true. Alex.

  12. Alex Mathias says:

    Is it the 1st of April already?!

  13. Richard says:

    Graham, we all want a British owned and made car to be a success but this ‘thing’ has always looked half baked to me. The Boxster at £36k shows how it should be done. Trying to sell a car more than double that price, albeit with far superior performance but now sadly with a very questionable pedigree, is indeed suicide.

  14. Mark says:

    That website is shocking.

    Basic grammar errors, lost links and just one vehicle image?

    I would have thought that an operation that can afford to produce the odd supercar and fight a legal case, could have forked out a few quid for a better shop window.

    SAIC should have them on the grounds of dragging the MG name into true shoddiness alone on this basis.

    Having said that, I hope they succeed in pulling off a TVR type thing.

    Leave the MG name alone though if you can’t honour the nameplate well enough. Just call it something else and let it stand on its own.

  15. Rob says:

    Mark: At least WR is trying to preserve the name. What’s more, it’s on a bloody quick car!

  16. Liam Jackson says:

    How can they justify those prices given the presence of the Nissan GTR which is just as aggresively styled, better developed, a lot quicker and also has a warranty? I can’t imagine the after sales service on these “MGs” will be great if/when something goes wrong.

  17. Mark says:

    Rob, No issues at all with the car – although it could do with a few tweaks… just that, with this iconic brand, I feel a great deal of care should be taken with its presentation. As I say I hope they succeed – Britain could do with more plucky souls like Mr. Riley.

  18. Michael says:

    Mr. Riley owns the MG X Power brand/badge of MG which he bought from the Administrators in 2005 after MG Rover went into admin.

    I wish Mr. Riley all the best and hope that he wins against SAIC/NAC.

  19. alexscott says:

    @ba_barabus
    I’m not sure that it’s a new car as such – it was registered in 2009 but probably wasn’t built then.

    Anyone had a look at the latest Holden HSV? I can’t help but think there’s some styling cues there. The photos don’t do the Commodore justice – in the metal you can always look twice. See this link.

  20. Cheap620Si says:

    I doubt they have sold more than a handful. Doomed to failure. I hope gets a few quid of Najing/SAIC though

  21. Rob says:

    In that case then Mark I am sorry I mis-understood your initial comments. I agree the presentation could be a little better but, having sat in one about two months ago, I was totally sold!

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