News : March 2006

New HST model adds excitement to the Range Rover Sport…

New bodykit and bumpers give the David Saddington-styled RR Sport an agreeably aggressive stance…

The Range Rover Sport now gets an even more exciting look to the new flagship, the Supercharged ‘HST’ specification. Having received its UK debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Press Launch for 2006, the HST adds a host of additional equipment along with dramatic design cues inspired by the Range Stormer concept car, first shown at the Detroit auto show in January 2004.

“The HST allows a Range Rover Sport customer to drive the closest thing there is to the radical Range Stormer, our first ever concept vehicle and a real milestone for the company,” says Land Rover UK managing director, John Edwards. The new HST will be based on the Supercharged specification with the additional equipment including: electric sunroof, an electronic active locking rear differential and privacy glass. The interior is distinguished by a unique hand polished lined oak trim.

The exterior design is the work of the same Land Rover team that created the original Range Stormer. It includes new flush-fitting front and rear bumpers and a new larger open-mouth grille. The front lower air intake is deeper and new front fog lamps are mounted in the spoiler. The lower doors and lower rear boot are body-coloured, making the body sides appear deeper, accentuating the vehicle’s road-hugging qualities. A new tail spoiler is also fitted, and the special rectangular tail-pipes are close to those used on the original Range Stormer concept vehicle.

Further visual impact is provided by the 20 inch ‘Stormer’ alloy wheels, chromed aluminium side vents and body-coloured door mirror cappings, unique to this derivative.

“The Range Rover Sport continues to be a major success for Land Rover, with strong order banks in most markets,” says John Edwards. “It appeals not only to those who want a dynamic 4×4 but also to customers who want comfort and refinement. That’s why we call it a Sports Tourer. Customers are coming not just from competitor 4x4s but also from premium saloons. They value the extra all-round command driving and breadth of capability that only a Land Rover can offer.”

The Range Rover Sport HST is now on sale from £63,000 on the road. For more information contact your local Land Rover dealership or visit

Busy Sport & Racing auction generates ‘interesting’ prices…


Just about everything at Sport & Racing fell under the hammer. (Picture: James Crofts)

THE Knight in shining armour naver came in at the last minute to rescue Sport & Racing from the humiliation of the auction process, and on a chilly afternoon in March, its entire history was sold to the highest bidder in one of the saddest auctions in MG Rover’s recent history.

Bidders packed into the compact facilities at Sport & Racing, and bought everything that was thrown up by the Wyles Hardy auctioneer.

Prices ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, and due to the sheer weight of lots in this sale to end all sales, it dragged on well into the evening. The auctioneers decided in several cases to lump individual items into combined lots, but even so, the sale ended up being something of an opus. Some items went for silly money, as sale hype certainly got the better of some bidders – but the biggest surprise of the day was reserved for the prices raised by a number of the significant cars in MG’s history…

Car Details Hammer price
MG ZS 180 5-Door 5-Door Hatchback Car Colour: Trophy Blue, Registration No. B3 MGX £3550
MG ZS 180 4-Door 4-Door Saloon Car Colour: XPOWER Grey, Registration No. BD02 HRW £3950
MG ZR 1.4 Stage II Conversion 3-Door Hatchback, Colour: XPOWER Grey Registration No. BX04 XZP £6795
Rover Streetwise 1.4 16V 5-Door Hatchback Saloon Car Colour: Green, Registration No. BU03 OXA £4600
MG ZR 1.8 ZRX Concept 3-Door Hatchback, NEC Motor Show, 2004, colour: Green, Registration No. BX05 DVG £10,075
Rover Streetwise 1.8 VVC 3-Door Hatchback Saloon Car Colour: Black, Fitted Leather Interior, Registration No. BX04 XZR £7375
Rover 200 3-Door Hatchback Car Known by the Staff of MG Sports & Racing as the ‘Bling’ Car! Registration No. BX05 DVF (Not roadworthy) £2795
MG ZT-T 2.5 Petrol 5-Door Estate Car Colour: Trophy Blue, Registration No. BU51 HZT £6275
MG ZT-T 2.0 Petrol 5-Door Estate Car Colour: Grey/Green, Registration No. B4 MGX £3100
MGF 1.8 VVC Supersport’ 2-Door Roadster Colour: Green (Chromaflare) This car is a Design Concept Vehicle Registration No. T677 ROF £8400
MGF ‘1.8 Sports’ 2-Door Roadster (Ex. Trophy Race Car) Colour: Red Registration No. T229 MOA £4375
MG TF ‘1.8 Sports’ 2-Door Roadster Colour: Grey This car is fitted with various enhancements Registration No. BX04 XZM £9800
MG TF 500 Concept 2-Door Hard Top Roadster Colour: Grey/Green This car has been built and developed as a Track Car. Registration No. Unregistered £20,650
MG TF TF ‘1.8 VVC Sports’ 2-Door Roadster Colour: Black, Registration No. X942 KOX £5400
MGF ‘1.8 VVC Sports’ 2-Door Roadster (Ex. Trophy Race Car) Colour: Black/White with Bolt-In Roll Cage £4650
Land-Rover Discovery Series II TD5 GS’ Auto 5-Door Estate Car Colour: Pale Blue,
Registration No. X195 CBC
Land-Rover Discovery Series II TD5 GS’ 5-Door Estate Car Colour: Gold, Registration No. T557 ROF 9800
Land Rover Discovery Series II TDi’ 5-Door Estate Car Colour: Dark Blue, Registration No. R556 BDU 4775
MG ZR 1.8′ Race Car (Designated R2) Colour: Blue, Registration No. Unregistered £6700
MG ZR 1.8′ Race Car (Designated R8) Colour: Anthracite, Registration No. Unregistered 5150
MG ZR 1.8′ Race Car (Designated R10) Colour: Trophy Blue, Registration No. Unregistered 7875
MG ZR 1.8′ Race Car (Designated R12) Colour: Red, Registration No. Unregistered £4250
MG ZR 1.8′ Race Car (Designated R14) Colour: Yellow, Registration No. Unregistered 7750
MG ZR 1.8′ Race Car (Designated R15) Colour: Red/Yellow Currently missing several Engine parts. Registration No. Unregistered 4650
MG ZR 1.8 Endurance’ Race Car (Designated OR4) Colour: Grey/Green
Registration No. Unregistered
MG ZR 1.8′ Race Car (Designated OR6) Colour: Yellow/Black, Registration No. Unregistered 7750
MG ZR Judd 2.0 Endurance’ Race Car Fitted Judd 2.0-Litre Competition Engine, Registration No. Unregistered 22,600
MGF ‘Supersport 1.8’ 2-Door Roadster Colour: Red, Registration No. Unregistered 3425
MG TF Sport 1′ Cup Race Car Shell, Registration No. Unregistered 3675
MG TF 1.8 Sport’ Cup Race Car Colour: Blue This car is MG Trophy Cup Series eligible. Registration No. Unregistered 5425
MG ZT 385 Supercharged V8 DTM’ Race Car Replica Colour: Blue/Green Development Car. Registration No. BX05 DUA 25,525
MG ZT V8′ Left Hand Drive Belcup Endurance Race Car The last competition car built by MG Sports & Racing Ltd. £43,300
MG ZR 1.8 160′ Group N Rally Car Ex. Tony Jardine Car has full rally spec. Registration No. BD02 HTK 5950
MG ZR 1.8 B11′ Rally Car Colour: Grey fitted with an 1800cc Race Prepared Engine. Registration No. BU05 AZR 13,550
Rover 25 Super 1600′ Rally Car Previously Driven by Gwyndaf Evans the Drivers Seat is embroidered with his name £43,300
MG ZR 105 1.4′ Left Hand Drive Rally Car (Designated CNR6) This is a non-homologated Rally Car 6700
MG ZR 105 1.4′ Left Hand Drive Rally Car (Designated CNR3), Registration No. Unregistered 6600
Rover 25 1.1′ Endurance Rally Car (Designated TSW1) Colour: Red/White
Registration No. SW03 ROV
MG ZR Replica Rally Show Car This vehicle is NOT a competition spec.
Registration No. Y431 UOM
MG ZR Replica Rally Show Car This vehicle is NOT a competition spec.
Registration No. Y425 YOM
MGF ‘Supersport California’ Design Concept Show Car Colour: Flame Red, Registration No. Unregistered 13,700
MG ZT-T 765 Bonneville’ Land Speed Car This is a heavily modified MG XPOWER ZT-T 34,900
MG ‘Bonneville 98 5.0L’ Land Speed Record Attempt Project Car,was built to compete at 50th Anniversary at Bonneville Salt Flats. 11,750
MG ‘Bonneville 97 1.4’ Project Car Driven by Terry Killborne from the USA the car achieved a top speed of 217.4mph. £16,300
Qvale Mangusta 4.6′ Auto Left Hand Drive 2-Door Roadster Colour: Yellow, Registration No. Y586 CAY 21,200
Qvale Mangusta 4.6′ Manual Right Hand Drive 2-Door Roadster Colour: Black
Registration No. BP02 ENE
MG X80 Rolling Prototype (X-80) Clay Buck 775
MG XPower SV ‘SV-R’ Prototype (XP1) 5400
MG XPower SV ‘SV-R’ Prototype (XP2) 11,375
MG XPower SV ‘SV-R’ Prototype (XP3) 16,450
MG XPower SV ‘SV-R’ Prototype (XP4) 17,575
MG XPower SV ‘SV-R’ 5.0-Litre Auto 2-Door Sports Coupe, Colour: Dark Fantasy 56,850
MG XPower SV ‘SV-R’ Right Hand Drive 5.0-Litre V8 Manual 2-Door Sports Coupe Colour: Dark Fantasy 57,900

Prices courtesy of Wiles Hardy – Buyers premium of 10 per cent is added to these figues, as is VAT (on the buyers’ premium) on certain cars…

For more information about the sale, and to see a full lot list, click on

MG ZT facelift completed…


Will Arup’s facelift of the ZT incorporate styling themes planned devised for the Coupe project? (All pictures Copyright Peter Stevens Design)

THE Nanjing-MG 7Z (nee ZT) will definitely be returning to the UK market in facelifted guise in 2007/2008 – the Solihull office of the Design consultants Arup has already completed the design for the revitalised executive car. The only question remains to be answered is will the new car be built at Longbridge as well as in China?

The news comes amid fevered speculation over the future of Longbridge, and whether full scale production will return to the factory, which has remained largely dormant since MG Rover fell into administration last April. A consultant for Arup described the car plant as ‘desolate’, but confirmed the paint plant remains in action, as it has done for the past year. Work at Arup has mainly concentrated on the technical execution of the facelift, with the actual styling probably handed over to an outside styling consultant.

ZT possibly in the UK, ZR definitely in China

The fate of the ZR and ZS remains in China, and as to whether the revitalisation of these cars had been completed, the answer is a firm ‘no’. The ZR is set to be the first MG to be produced by Nanjing – and plans for the resumption of its manufacture in China are now advanced. Plans to export the 25/ZR were well advanced before MG Rover went into administration – although the benefactors back then would have been SAIC.

According to several sources close to Longbridge, Nanjing remains deadly serious about re-starting production of the 7Z within Longbridge,under the MG marque name, but is still seeking finance to get the operation off the ground. A large UK dealer Group confirmed that Nanjing had informed them there would be new cars to sell by the end of 2007, and this chimes in with the plan to re-launch the MG marque in the UK and Spanish markets next year – initially to gauge demand for the re-launched cars across the rest of Europe.

Nanjing appears to be concentrating on saloon car production, and the matter of sports car production looks down to David James (and his SMART Roadsters) or GBSC and whether they can licence the MG name from Nanjing…

Although the Nanjing version of the MG ZT will re-enter production in 2007, the SAIC version (codename SAC528) is progressing rapidly, and the UK consultants, Ricardo are working on its revised version of the Rover 75. The word on the street is that the Rover name has been secured by SAIC, and company planners are well aware of the global value of the marque’s long and rich history – and it’s car enters pre-production late this year.

The Chinese Government has approved both SAIC’s and NAC’s plans to produce Rovers and MGs, and we’ve heard there are suppliers in the UK which have been asked to quote for both companies…

So: it’s full steam ahead for Chinese MG/Rover production, but Longbridge remains firmly in the starting blocks.

Foundation Laying Ceremony for the new MG factory in Nanjing. The company celebrates its 59th birthday, and the plan is to have the factory open and producing the new MG 7Z in time for its 60th birthday.

Changes at


WE’RE now attracting over 40,000 unique IP addresses per week, so from that, I can assume we get a lot of regular readers here. As a result, our inbox is constantly being filled up with e-mails…

Most of these e-mails are from site readers asking for help and information, and because of the sheer weight of requests now coming in, sometimes a response from us can take a while to come through.

As a result of this increase volume of traffic, we will be directing all technical enquiries to the site’s forums, leaving the way clear for other correspondence to be answered more personally. If you have sent e-mail to use in the past few months and not received a reply, please accept our apologies, and re-try submitting it to us…

Also, all requests for the members’ gallery will now be directed to Alexander Boucke, as from now on, he will now be responsible for this area of the website. So if you have pictures you’d like to see on the site, or would like to update your existing page, you can e-mail Alexander and he will attend to your query as quickly as his workload will allow…

Thanks for your continued support, it is much appreciated.

Keith Adams,

New MINI shown to Oxford (nee Cowley) workers…


Play spot the difference. (Picture: Motoring File.)

THIS year’s least well-kept secret has finally been unveiled.

The next generation BMW/PSA-powered MINI was unveiled by BMW top brass to Oxford workers earlier this week, as the company gears up to launch the new car this summer. Interestingly, the new car, codenamed R56 (why a Rover product code so long after the split?) is said to be lighter than the outgoing model, and the high performance Cooper S loses its endearing Supercharger upgrade in favour of a more conventional turbo unit.

Other snippets about the new car are already well-known, but the most interesting one for us, was imparted by a project engineer over a strong coffee about a year ago, stating that the new car is being worked on by ItalDesign (body engineering), in much the same way the Morris Ital was all those years ago.

Even at this late stage in the game, engineers are to-ing and fro-ing between Oxford and the ItalDesign studios, putting the finishing touches on the car, due for lauch late this summer.

Thanks to its more conventional engineering and cheaper-to-produce nature, the R56 will firm the basis of a larger range than the current version – with the Traveller version already having been confirmed for production, and the possibility of a two-seater sports version forming much needed additions to the range…

Sport & Racing under the hammer


Want this clay model? Get over to Wyles Hardy and it could be yours (assuming we don’t bag it first)…

AS talks between potential investors and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) continue over the future of MG Sport & Racing, a huge cache of cars, parts and memorabilia are about to fall under the hammer in order to raise much needed funds for MG Rover’s creditors.

The auction is being hosted by Wyles Hardy and its contents represent the entire history of a sports car company being scattered to the four winds. Word on the inside is that the sale is going ahead pending the results of the talks between foreign investors and PwC for the purchase of S&R. One insider related: “There’s a feeling that the sale is being pushed in the hope that it will persuade the investors to move a little more quickly.”

If the talks are unsuccessful and the sale does go ahead, it be the perfect opportunity to pick up a unique piece of motoring history – as everything, and we mean everything, goes under the hammer – with everything from 1/43 scale models to fully fledged SV-R supercars being up for grabs… A wealth of prototypes and other specials are also on offer, including the record breaking Bonneville ZT-T, the ZR-X concept car, and the MG ZT385 Supercharged V8, DTM Race Car Replica (we want this one…)

It’s a sad occasion, and we hope investment is forthcoming, before the sale sees the end of Sport & Racing – for good.

For more information, click on,

Dutch twist?


WE’RE not sure what it means for future MG sales in Europe, but the Receiver, Georg van Daal, acting on behalf of the collapsed MG Rover importer in Holland, has issued a statement to the effect that the European rights to the MG marque are owned by his company – and that the Chinese company tried to extract the rights without paying for them.

Georg van Daal, an agent acting on behalf of the Dutch MG Rover importer’s Receivers, found that the rights to the MG marque across twelve European countries belonged to them, and not Nanjing, as has been claimed. Recently the Chinese manufacturer Nanjing stated that they have the intention to build MG-branded cars in the UK – but without European rights, it won’t have a marque to sell them under.

Mr. Van Daal accidentally discovered that MG Rover Nederland BV owned the rights to MG in the BeNeLux, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia and Morocco.

He said: “Nanjing contacted me with the claim that they bought all the rights to the MG brand from PricewaterhouseCoopers and demanded that I sign them over to them for free. Nanjing denied me any access to documents its statement was based on. The only way I could get a look on them was, if I signed an agreement, and that’s something I won’t do. Nanjing wants something that belongs to the Dutch bankrupt MG Rover branch, so it has to prove it is entitled to the rights.

“Their entire attitude was so British… and that was not a smart move in this case.

“That MG Rover Nederland BV owned the rights to the MG brand isn’t as odd as it seems”, according to the receiver. “Due to international (European) laws about intellectual property, which includes also brands and design, it was easier as an UK based firm to use the Dutch branch for the registration of the MG brand. Besides the differences in registration, the Dutch taxes on royalties on the brands are very attractive.”

According to Van Daal, Nanjing claims that they bought all the rights to the MG brand. “The British administrators forgot to look to whom the actual rights belonged and they probably discovered it too late.”

It’s not clear what the rights to the name MG are worth. Mr van Daal doesn’t think it will be sold for millions, and that’s a pity for the Dutch MG Rover dealers who still have claims on the bankrupt company. MG Rover dealers are claiming about €5.2m, of which €1.4m has been accepted, with the rest still contested.

It is unclear whether Dutch dealers will be compensated for their losses, but the chances don’t look good…

Thanks to George van Nikkelen for the translation.

MPs ready to grill DTI boss on Rover hot seat

CHRISTOPHER HOPE, Industry Editor, Daily Telegraph

THE Department of Trade and Industry will have to answer questions in public for the first time about its behaviour in the days leading up to the collapse of MG Rover later this month.

MPs on the Commons’s Public Accounts Committee have summoned Sir Bryan Bender, the DTI’s permanent secretary on March 20 to explain his department’s role in the £1.4bn collapse of the car maker. Sir Bryan’s appearance will come days after the National Audit Office publishes a report on Friday next week into the behaviour of the department in the period leading up to the collapse.

Central to the MPs’ questioning will be the DTI’s decision to sanction a £6.5m “loan” to pay the wages of MG Rover’s 6,100 workers a week before the collapse last April.

The money was to buy time for MG Rover’s administrators Price Waterhouse Coopers to agree merger terms with Chinese auto giant Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

However, it later emerged that the DTI had already been told in three separate letters from SAIC that no deal was possible.

Conservative MP for South Norfolk, Richard Bacon, said: “There are serious questions that need to be answered in relation to the closure of MG Rover in relation to the use of public money.

“It is not clear that the use of this public money could be justified.”

Sir Bryan, who took over at the DTI after MG Rover collapsed, will appear on the same day as John Edwards, chairman of local quango Advantage West Midlands.

The DTI said last night that Sir Bryan was appearing before the Public Accounts Committee because he is the department’s “accounting officer”.

‘MINI GP’ at Geneva Motor Show

The MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works (JCW) GP Kit will make its first public viewing at the Geneva Motor Show. The fastest, most powerful production MINI ever will reach 62mph in under 6.5 seconds and achieve a top speed of 146mph. The GP has a power output of 218bhp, and a maximum torque of 181lb/ft.

Only 2000 of this special production model will be built and 444 are bound for the UK from July onwards. The guide price is £22,000 which includes £10,000 worth of additional equipment if specified on a standard MINI Cooper S. Almost three-quarters of the UK allocation have already been ordered by MINI enthusiasts six months ahead of launch.

In the interests of power to weight ratio, the car weighs approximately 40 kilos less than a standard MINI Cooper S. This has been achieved by modifications to the chassis and engineering tweaks. The longitudinal control arms on the rear axle are now made of aluminium and the sound-deadening material has been taken out.

The entire rear seat bench has been removed. In its place is a very neat flat loading area that can be folded up in a Z-arrangement for easy access to two additional storage boxes.

Standard equipment includes: limited slip differential, Dynamic Stability Control, Recaro sports seats in Panther Black leather, single CD, air-conditioning and a multi-function steering wheel. The car also features JCW sports brakes, JCW sports suspension and exclusive low-profile tyres and 18-inch light-alloy rims.

The special edition will only be available in exclusive metallic paintwork called Thunder Blue combined with a Pure Silver roof and Chili Red door mirrors.

A new aerodynamics package has been added that significantly improves the car’s drag coefficient and downforce on both front and rear axles, enhancing the driving experience at high speeds. New highlights are the front and rear air dams, the extra low side-sills, and the underfloor cover, as well as a wing-shaped rear spoiler.

The ‘MINI GP’ will join the existing JCW range of aftermarket and production option kits. The first engine tuning kit was launched in 2003 as an aftermarket option, and over 10,000 have been sold worldwide since that date. From the end of 2005, the kit became available as an Oxford production line fit and a new aftermarket version was launched for the MINI Cooper S with automatic transmission.

Posted in: AROnline News
Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

Have your say...