One thing is for sure – 2005 will be a year of anniversaries. In March, the Princess will celebrating its 30th birthday, and it is a good bet a few car magazines will be celebrating the event with a raft of retrospective articles. I suspect most will actually be pretty flattering (at long last), because it is now time for the bullshit to stop – the Princess was – still is – a good car, and it is about time it was given due credit in the mass media.
Strengthening values on eBay of late already show us the age of the four-figure Princess is well and truly with us, and before long, we could see it being elevated to SD1 levels of status in classic circles.
I think it deserves it…
Before then, the TR7 also hits the same milestone, and it is an interesting phenonemon. Still not quite accepted by die-hard Triumph aficionadoes, the TR7 is seen as more of a BL car than a Triumph, and to be fair, this perception is correct. But does that make it any lesser of a sports car? Of course not! It may be a bit weak and limp-wristed in 2-litre form, but it still possesses a certain magic in the way it feels to drive. It possesses that certain something – a quality we call the ‘Spen King factor’.
Allow me to elaborate. It rides well, has firm, but beautifully damped suspension and deep down, it has the feeling of a well-engineered precision instrument. Despite its short wheelbase, you still flow this car around corners in the way you do an SD1 (a car it shares many of its design principles with) – and although at the time of its launch, the press marked it down for not being sporty enough (a euphamism for ‘it doesn’t possess set-in-concrete suspension settings’) it has a delicacy of response that belies its heavy handed looks.
Strengthening Princess values on eBay of
late already show us the age of the four-
figure Princess is well and truly with us,
and before long, we could see it being
elevated to SD1 levels of status
in classic circles…
The idea of a TR7 being precisely engineered might jarr with anyone who suffered from Speke build quality, but that precision was more about design and engineering, rather than assembly. A true test of a classic is how well it weathers the sands of time – and the TR7 has aged extremely well – a convertible in a bright metallic colour, riding on alloy wheels still looks contemporary – to my eyes anyway.
That’s history, what about the present?
It is fair to say MG Rover’s PR department is now well and truly on the offensive – and with more young blood joining the team early next year, it should go from strength to strength. We’ll finally get some marketing, too. 2005 will also see the SAIC/MGR joint venture sealed, and we should soon begin to see a number of small, but significant product launches, before the arrival of the big gun RD/X60 late in 2006.
The 75 could receive a new dashboard, and will perhaps lose its retro dials (that only I seem to like), but more importantly, we’ll finally see evidence of significant investment at Longbridge. If the robots start going in to Longbridge at the end of the year, we’re looking at RD/X60 finally becoming reality.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.