Events : Report – Pride of Longbridge 2022

Pride of Longbridge 2022

After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the Pride of Longbridge (POL) rally made a return to Cofton Park in Birmingham. It’s a poignant place to hold this rally, as not only is it opposite the site of the ‘The Austin’ in the leafy Longbridge suburbs, but it’s also where the  Save MG Rover Rally was held on 16 April 2005, just days after the Administrators were appointed to call time on the company.

In all, almost 2000 cars made it to Cofton Park, with a great span of entries from the 1930s Austin 7s, through to a handful of the latest generation MGs brought along by their enthusiastic owners. The sheer number of Rover 75s and 200/400s was heartening to see, especially considering how rapidly they are disappearing off our roads. But what really makes Pride of Longbridge stand out is the sheer variety of cars at the event, which is treated by many as an annual pilgrimage.

Poignant venue, triumphant event

Pride of Longbridge 2022 - 002

The event, masterminded by the brilliant Gemma Cartwright MBE, was also thought-provoking for another reason. It’s the first time Pride of Longbridge has taken place following the removal of the final car assembly buildings at the factory in 2021 – CAB 1, CAB 2 and the Paint Shops have all gone, leaving just the Kremlin, the Elephant House and the iconic Conference Centre standing.

MG UK was also notable for its absence – the first time the brand has had no official presence at Pride of Longbridge – and the company’s branding has disappeared from the former factory’s gates. However, at least Summit Garage (Dudley) Limited had a presence at Cofton Park, bringing along its Maestro delivery van to add a little class to the proceedings.

Rover Tomcat fan Mert Özgün was probably the hero of the show. He and his son took six days to drive the 2300 miles from Ankara in Turkey to display their Rover Tomcat Turbo (above) at the event. The car had just 36,000km on the clock and came with an impressively-engineered twin-axle trailer with matching Tomcat body attached to it. Great work!

Gemma Cartwright said afterwards: ‘Thank you to the POL volunteers for today – they are a fantastic group, who worked well together. It was an amazing feeling seeing the cars starting at the top of the gates then the wonderful river of Longbridge cars literally entering the park. Thank you to all those who attended and travelled to support POL in recognition of the great cars we made and the collapse of MG Rover.’

Enjoy the gallery!

Photography: Stephen Wright and Nicolas Roughol

Keith Adams

10 Comments

  1. Keith, this was a great report and summed up the whole day for me . As an ex Longbridge apprentice I always have mixed emotions as to what is an annual pilgrimage for me . It really is the “ must go to “ event on my calendar and is not to be missed . There is always a huge array of cars in fabulous condition – The turnout of MGFs and Zt”s was very impressive . It is great to see so many dedicated enthusiasts keeping the memory alive . But is very poignant when I think of what could have been had we stayed with Honda . Seeing cars queue up for the classic Q gate photo opportunity I find very moving . Hero of the show must go of course to the man with his Tomcat and four wheel trailer who drove from Turkey . What other car could generate such a following . I had a thoroughly enjoyable day – I was hoping to bump into you to see your Austin 1300 but I missed it .
    I”d like to thank the organisers and all the exhibitors for keeping the memory alive . I look forward to the next one and keep up the good work . All the best .
    Dave Handley

  2. Also where the 40th anniversary of the Austin Healey was held, April 1982 and we had a tour of the works and met up in Cofton Park but then you cannot post images here and also the Austin Healey is not very often mentioned here either !? We all know Longbridge as AUSTIN not MG!

  3. Well written and another great POL, I attended in my ZT190 and was surprised to be parked next to a 75 which had driven from Slovenia.
    A two day trip with an overnight in Belgium apparently.
    We enjoyed a 20 mile trip to attend and I even caught up with the Austin A35 that I first owned 50 years ago!
    Thanks to all those who made it possible!

  4. A well supported event it seems and deservedly so. Love the gallery photos particularly the two Trophy yellow MG ZS. Also the orange ADO16 1300GT like my brother once owned.) A shame the current MG Motors were not involved though their current product range is much removed from its forebears. This event is very much like Remembrance weekend…

      • As the ZS’s are later 2004 versions that explains the different shade of yellow. I recall the originals being called Trophy yellow.

        • Trophy Yellow was the standard yellow for all the MGs. Sunspot was a special order through the ‘Monogram’ scheme from 2002 on – build records showed only 15 ZS built in this colour.

          • Thanks for that correction Clive. I recall the Monogram scheme also included some optional two tone colours for the R75 in 2004, though I only ever saw one in black & metallic red… looked good though

  5. Great report and some lovely cars to see. I last went to POL in 2015 – The 10th anniversary when MG Rover Group collapsed – and remember being very saddened at how much of the former Longbridge site had fallen under the might of the developer, to become a characterless red brick housing estate. It was thanks to the Longbridge assembly plant that a lot of work went to my father’s engineering company, who designed and manufactured a lot of their marking equipment, such as the VIN markers used on many of the cars, engines and gearboxes. I’ve not been back since because I hated what had become of the site, although I might change my mind next year.

  6. My favourite exhibit in the Roger Irrelevant category was the Vauxhall Cresta pickup truck. The I Didn’t Know You Could Do That award goes to the Maxi with MGB/Stag alloy wheels. And the We Had One Of Those to the VDP Princess 1300 – even the same paint (Navy) as ours.

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