News : 2200-mile ex-development MG ZT up for grabs

A 2200-mile ex-development MG ZT 190 has come up for sale… but there’s a catch. It’s in the USA, and is believed to be one of just two cars shipped over there for EU4 emissions equipment testing.

We’d heard the stories of MG Rover test and development vehicles being abandoned in the USA as the Administrators had been called in back at home, but it would actually take some time for those cars to escape into the wild. This one came into the hands of its current owner, MG ZT fan Steve Shrader, back in November 2020, and now it’s for sale.

It came to him as a non-runner via eBay as the prototype ECU had been removed, and is one of the last pre-NAC/SAIC ZTs off the line. Getting it running again was a labour of love for Steve, who said: ‘I had to convert the EU4 ECU and wiring to EU3 parts to make it all run again.

‘However, it still has lots of EU4 parts on it adapted to fit. And now it’s literally a brand-new car again with pristine seats, super clean angine bay, shiny paint and cold air conditioning. It’s already had the cambelt swapped and is all finished to show quality.’

According to Duncan Lowe, there was a good reason for the ECU being missing. ‘It was a test car for the new engine control system with a ‘fly by wire’ throttle and was at International Falls. The ECU was removed and returned to Longbridge but the company went under before the ECU was returned for the next test phase so the car wouldn’t run.’

As can be seen from the video accompanying Steve Shrader’s advert for the car, there are a number of interesting non-production items, including an incomplete data logger in the boot and a red emergency stop button in the centre console. So, it’s definitely a fascinating car and would make a great partner for the EU4 prototype ZT-T we’ve previously documented on AROnline.

Steve added, ‘There are only three ZTs in the USA, and I am the greedy soul to have all three.’

View the video of the car on YouTube

Keith Adams


  1. The company I worked at had an incomplete prototype V8 ZT for a number of years after MGR went bust – the receivers never asked for it back/possibly were not aware of its existence. It was eventually sold off to a specialist to be broken for spares.

  2. Another wonderful looking rare car. Even the MG badges look in good nick and the bodywork in metallic (firefrost red?) looks pristine. Its hairpin alloys remind me of a ZS I once owned. Hopefully, it will get an enthusiast buyer wherever they live. Thanks for sharing this story.

  3. I may be one of the few people that can give the Rest of the Story on these cars. This was one of Six MG/Rovers that were in Blackduck, MN as Cold Weather Test Cars. I owned two of them for a decade, and still have contact with the current owner of the two Rover 75 branded versions. One Estate, one Saloon. V6 auto and 1.8L I4 K-Series with a five-speed. I still own a few of the spare bumpers for my Shops Display.

    Now… Want to know The Rest of the Story?

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