After what seems like an unending battle to secure the future of the MG Rover prototypes that have been languishing in Longbridge since the firm went into administration in 2005, they have now been saved. SAIC has handed them over to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon for display, where their future will be assured as they look set for restoration.
The cars, which include the MG Rover RDX60 running model showed to the dealers and investors in 2003 (above), the Rover TCV concept, the MGF PR1, PR3 and PR3 running prototypes, the first production MGF and the TF Coupe, have all made it to Warwickshire, and will be restored and maintained while they are at the museum.
The collection of prototypes are officially ‘on loan’ to the British Motor Museum as part of a ‘multi-year arrangement’ and will be working their way through the workshop over the next few months. The RDX60 and MGF are set to be the first cars in to be restored.
Campaigned for by enthusiasts
The fate of these prototypes has been in question since at least 2019, when we were tipped off by a contractor on site that they were being moved, possibly with a view to being sold off or scrapped. MG Motor UK eventually responded with an announcement that they would be secured for the future, and would eventually go on display.
Then things went quiet until early 2023, when YouTuber and MG Rover enthusiast Tom Cowling (above) ran a video on his Tom // Drives channel showing various prototypes being stored in the open at Longbridge, looking the worse for wear. The story went viral, eventually leading to coverage on BBC TV. This, along with pressure from various industry figures and enthusiast groups, ended up forcing MG’s parent company SAIC into action.
Fast forward to late 2023, and a deal was struck between SAIC and the BMM, with the cars now being housed in the museum’s Collections Centre. They will be on display, starting with the RDX60 – with the plan being to restore the models, although the BMM can’t give a timeline.
Video walkaround of the RDX60
The star turn
The MG Rover RDX60 is rightfully being the presented as the star of the show. It’s a prototype of a vehicle that was never built with one of the most interesting, frustrating and ultimately ill-starred backstories of them all. Being housed alongside the Austin 9X, Triumph SD2 and Austin AR6 prototypes seems like a fitting place for it to be.
Tom is absolutely clearly delighted with the outcome. He says: ‘I’d like to thank the community for their efforts and supporting the campaign to get these cars in the museum. I’d like to recognise all of the people who made efforts before me as every small step made lead to the final push to get these cars where they belong today.’
Stephen Laing, Head of Collections and Engagement at the British Motor Museum, added: ‘This collection feels very familiar to me. Some, like the PR prototypes and MGF No.1, from when they were on display in the early years of the Museum. Others from regular visits to Longbridge over the past two decades. I’m pleased that our long-standing relationship with MG Motor UK has enabled the agreement of a multi-year loan of these unique cars.’
Gallery: MG Rover RDX60 model at the BMM
All photographs: British Motor Museum