Blog : Where are the Rover 75 production records?

Right now there’s a Rover 75 for sale in Canada that I would like buy and park next to my 1993 Rover 220 here in Detroit.

However, because of a missing tranche of production records that somehow disappeared nearly 20 years ago when MG Rover went bust, it is not possible to determine the exact date the beautiful light green Rover was built.

The production records for many, if not all, MG Rover cars made from around 1998-2005 have been lost. That is important many reasons, even for MG Rover fans who don’t live in the UK.

It matters to me because, without the production date, I can’t import the car. I have to prove to US customs officials when it was built. The date of first registration is October 2000, but the Rover 75 and MG ZT Owners Club can tell from the VIN that the car was built between October 1999 and February 2000.

The MGF and TF is gaining popularity here in the US, but imports of those cars will be slowed without the missing production records.

I wrote to the British Heritage Motor Industry Trust at Gaydon this week to find out what the officials there know about the missing MG Rover production records. This was the reply:

‘Dear Mr Truett,

Unfortunately, the later Rover Group factory records were never passed onto the BMIHT. As a result, they did not survive the collapse of MG Rover in 2005. I’m afraid there is no other organisation or contact.

Best Regards,

British Motor Industry Heritage Trust

British Motor Museum · Banbury Road · Gaydon · Warwickshire · CV35 0BJ’

I think the records are vitally important for a number of reasons. They can help identify when changes were made to parts fitments. We know that airbag modules are a critical safety item and some of those components may need period serving and replacement of inflators. Production information can ensure the proper replacement parts are fitted to cars during servicing.

Someone out there must know where these records are. I find it highly improbable that they were not saved. Lawyers would need them for product defect and accident lawsuits and accident investigations. Wouldn’t the MG Rover Administrators need these records to make an accurate accounting of Rover assets, debts and financial condition?

Help us solve the mystery of the missing production records. This indeed may be one of the last most important pieces of the MG Rover puzzle left to solve.

Richard Truett

19 Comments

    • Doubtful a parts stockist will have the missing factory production records, and even if they did, that would never pass muster with government authorities.

      • They have Rover database with vin to tell you date car left production, radio codes etc but requires vin details.

  1. In 2005, I was in contact with the Administrators of MG Rover Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers – a Michael Knight to be exact – and requested that all production records were passed onto a reputable body such as the then British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, as they had no obvious commercial value but were important for historical reasons. He said he would advise me where the production records were. I persevered into 2006, but never heard back from him…

    The comment from the British Motor Museum is interesting as in September 2013 I spoke with their then Archivist, Gillian Bardsley, at the MGB’s 50th Birthday event at Blenheim Palace and she advised me that the BMIHT had received production records from the Administrators, but they had not had the opportunity to go through them.

    • Sorry, the date I quoted in relation to speaking with Gillian Bardsley should be September 2012.

  2. Presumably there are date coded components somewhere on the car which would help identify the earliest date it could have been assembled?

    Reminds me a bit of some of the Land Rover records stored under the main reception building (I’d go there now and then to get older Purchasing/Supplier records) – OK, if you didn’t mind wearing wellies and looking out for evidence of rats…

  3. The data must be available, in 2016 the MG Car Club issued a “Heritage Certificate” for my 2005 MG TF 135

  4. The last few years of what was Rover – arguably from the point it became MG Rover when BMW sold the business to Towers et al for £10 – were chaotic at best.

    Stock control, prouction planning, production, plant maintenance, you name it.

    At some point – and I cannot remember the date – Rover ceased paying insurance premiums to underwrite car warranties and simply “took the hit” if a successful claim was made. I would guess the production record keeping became erratic/ wasn’t kept coincides with that time.

    There was also an awful lot of stuff that was simply disposed of after production ceased at Longbridge – I remember pallet after pallet of car brochures being taken away for pulping for example. It’s quite possible paperwork was simply disposed of. Security at the site was not great, with a number of folk entering over the years. No doubt countless bits and pieces disappeared into the night.

    Without paperwork I would suggest you will have to examine components on the car to date it. Seatbelts all had a manufacturing week label stitched onto them. Airbag modules will have carried stickers with dates too. If the car was initially registered in Britain then DVLA Swansea will have a record of when the car was first registered for the road.

  5. Well, shoot me down in flames if I’m wrong with this or the data was duff.

    But once upon-a-time there was a website called “MG Rover Build Info” that would give you a build sheet for your VIN, now I’m sure the form was a web mock up but it was populated by seemingly all the correct data. Well, it was for my TF and MG ZT-T and included build date, time, model colour, options engine etc., etc. and included numbers of all other cars built on that day.

    I believe it was run by a guy called Steve Childs who somehow had got hold of build data when it all closed. The site allowed you to search by VIN or just look at collated info by model, so how many were built with what engine and what colours, it was fascinating. Again, from what I recall, some data was not available such as Rover 25 info.

    It was all available for a number of years, but eventually disappeared off line.

    I tried to find out what had happened and recall reading somewhere it was costing to host and wasn’t really monetised, so he decided to pass the data on (no idea if £ was exchanged) and it was acquired by one of the MG or Rover car clubs but I don’t know which one, though a thought in my mind says it was the MG Owners’ Club but you need to be a member to access anything, but I really don’t know.

    I’m sure if he did get the build data it still exists somewhere, it’s just who would make it available at no or little cost and if it could be financially viable.

    Cheers,

    Bean

  6. Does anyone know who MGR used for their records management and storage??

    In the past when I was involved in disposal of the assets of a failed business, their IT and records management providers, realising that their original contract with the failed business was now void and they were unlikely to get paid, wanted to get rid of the stuff they were still holding as quickly as possible so they could rent out the storage space and server capacity to a new client. We had to pay them a lot to get them to keep stuff going while we extracted stuff like employment records and pensions data from the HR databases and financial data about liabilities debts and payments. PWC would have been much more interested in this than saving production records, which most likely got wiped before the servers were repurposed or sold off to cover debts and tax liability.

    I really doubt that somewhere on a rack in one of Iron Mountain’s secure data storage facilities there is still languishing, long forgotten, a couple of backup tape-cartridges with peeling labels marked ‘MGR production records 2005’ waiting to be rediscovered.

  7. I have a Rover 75 which I bought in October 2004 new AND HAVE All THE RECORDS OF buying from the dealer MOT AND REPAIRS. The colour is Cimmaron Green and it is in very good condition, having done 76000 miles.

  8. I understand build records for most 75/ZT models are available from The Rover 75 and MG ZT Owners’ Club administrators… But a tranche of records for Cowley-built cars are lost/missing. I own a 75 built in late 1999, and registered in April 2000 – no build records for my car can be found except start of build on 02/12/1999.

  9. Surprised it sounds so chaotic – in Sweden records of the cars built until the time of the bankruptcy were maintained by Saab Parts, now Hedin AB. So I can get all the information from my 2011 model Saab NG9-5….I think even those cars assembled at ANA Trollhattan by hand (incompleted cars on the line, transported to the large dealership in the same city for final assembly) are covered, including the estates which were not type approved (but there are 29 of them on the road).

  10. The 75/ZT owners club can provide the details if you give them the VIN of the car. I got mine from there and also lets you know other fine details like how many built in the same spec etc

  11. When I was looking at bringing my 45 over to Europe I stumbled on this website as I was not sure if I needed a Certificate Of Conformity (fortunately I did not need one in the end)

    http://www.mgrccservices.com/

    So I have no direct experience if they are any good but they seem to claim to have what you are looking for (for a fee)

    Best,
    Alex

    • The http://www.mgrccservices arrangement was set up by PWC, and the website still appears to be live. It is a one-person band who I last contacted in 2018, and was told that it was then still running, though only as a part-time operation as it wasn’t generating enough income to be full time.

  12. Is Richard Truett just a doom-monger? He was written two doom-laden articles recently – this one and the one about parts availability for classic BL cars in the USA.

    Why does the exact production date matter? I have never been asked that by a parts supplier. They just want to know the VIN number or you just show them the part that you want so that they can compare it with the various options. You can pretty much work out the production date anyway. There are plenty of components under the bonnet stamped with the date of manufacturing from the 3rd party supplier.

  13. As the car appears to have black cills it will have been built at Cowley. Just before production transferred to Longbridge this was dropped and they remained body coloured. Our Facebook group, Cowley works – Employees past and present, has many members who can probably help.

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