The MG6 is a car that AROnline tracked from conception to its withdrawal from the UK market in 2016. It started out as a development of the Rover 75 or SAIC’s version of it – the Roewe 750 – and, as such, has quite a bit of British DNA under its skin. It’s a car that I’ve had a love-hate relationship via AROnline, but, on the whole, I still like the car, even though I struggled massively with the way it was marketed and sold across the UK.
This website is packed with lots of might-have-beens. There are so many prototypes that we’d like to have seen make production. It also features cars that didn’t sell as well as they should have, or were under-engineered. Or both. It’s the eternal soap opera. The MG6 slots just nicely into that playbook.
However, as the history of BMC, Leyland, Austin Rover and Rover becomes ever more distant, and fades away into a more ironic and sometimes amusing narrative that encapsulates the worst of British industrial relations for lazy historians, we do need to put the newer output into some kind of context. And that’s probably had me looking at MG6s for sale, and thinking to myself, ‘I wonder…’
Is it a classic? Will it be? Should it be?
Regular readers will know that I’ve been in and around the classic car business for some time now. I’ve commented, written about and analysed the market for more than 15 years and, in that time, I’ve come to realise that there are no surprises, just certainties. And one of those is that all cars will become classic cars. Really? Yes, absolutely.
It’s not a case of ‘if’, but ‘when’. And that is when the inequality of cars becomes apparent. Some cars become classics far more quickly than others. It’s usually attached to the supporter base of the maker, but other factors, such as motor sport success, stellar sales performance, or being a gamechanger come into play.
And I guess all of this had me pondering the MG6 when I found myself scanning through the classifieds for them. Retail dealers’ cars have now dipped below £2k, while auction examples, most often with dead diesels under the bonnet, can be had for less than a grand. So, they are heading for the bottom of the pool now – and quite rapidly, too. So the question is when will people start talking about the MG6 as a classic car?
Probably some time away yet, because one of the things I’ve found is that having an interesting backstory does not take a car down the road to classicdom. Maybe it should. But it doesn’t. What it does do, though, is make them interesting to people like you an me.
Should I buy, anyway?
I’d say so, yes. Probably not a diesel version, though. Who the hell is going to carry parts for that? Who indeed does now? The petrol’s in with a fighting chance, thanks to its K-Series engine (I know, but it is). At least you’ll be able to keep it running healthily thanks to the massive support and parts availability for that power unit.
It’ll be a talking point, too. Still, there are many people out there who don’t realise this car ever existed, and they are curious. They’ll say, ‘I didn’t know MG made cars like this,’ or ‘Is it British?’, or even, ‘I’ve seen those new electric MGs, but what the heck is this?’. Maybe they won’t. But already, having an MG6 will get you into certain classic events – which by my reckoning makes this the first Anglo-Chinese car to do so.
And you know what else? They drive well enough – decent performance and a well set-up chassis mean that you’ll be reasonably amused on back roads. But coming back to the original question, one has to ask when will it become a classic? I guess for non-conformists, we might see some movement in that direction within a couple of years, and for the wider classic car scene, expect some modern classic-type interest once the car hits 15 years of age. It’ll take a certain type of enthusiast to head in that direction – by which time, petrol cars might be banned off the road anyway.
So I ask you… when will it be a classic? We’ll revisit this one in years to come to see how close we were!