All posts by MarkM

MG 2016 Report Card – The Start

By JPM Sandie

It was nearly two years ago that I blogged a review of MG’s 2014 for the predecessor of this refulgent blog. This covered a range of subjects through missed targets and the 90th Anniversary special edition debacle in the UK to MG’s difficult first steps in Thailand and what was an annus horribilis in their home market of China.

There was no review of 2015 due to a hiatus for the Macdroitwich blog but we are back to discuss MG’s 2016. As we shall see, whilst much looks to have changed there’s plenty that’s stayed the same. One thing that hasn’t changed is that they have provided a vast volume of material meaning that the review will span three pieces. In the first two parts we shall discuss MG Motor UK in 2016 before going on to discuss the brand from a more international perspective in the final article.

So without much further ado let’s look at MG Motor UK’s 2016…

It seems that almost every year is meant to be a breakthrough year for MG Motor UK and 2016 was no different. At the start of the year some of the more enthusiastic supporters of MG Motor UK were drawing the lines. The GS was going to come along, boost MG to a three model lineup and, by being in a fast growing sector, be a far more successful large MG than the MG6. However, almost as soon as the dream of the three car lineup was formed a death was announced.

Were this a VAG blog, our review would be dominated by discussion of the mishandling of the emissions scandal. MG, however, had emissions problems of their own. The 1.9 DTI-Tech diesel engine – exclusive MG6 engine choice since the April 2015 facelift – did not meet EURO6 emissions standards meaning that no MG6s could be built after September 2015 or registered past September 2016. For many on the Macdroitwich forum, the writing was on the wall almost as soon as the facelift came out. Why bother introducing a heavily revised model that does not meet standards introduced six months after your new car if your engine was capable of meeting them?
A restricted colour palette and the loss of desirable features like larger wheels saw an unpopular car become even less desirable and with a deadline for registrations MG had a problem. 600 facelift 6s had been manufactured prior to the legal cut-off in August 2015 and monthly registration figures were typically around 20 (and even dipped into single figures) which would have left them with huge stocks of unregisterable cars come September. A bullet was bitten and new MG6s were heavily discounted by Spring 2016. Higher spec MG6s were available for £11-13,000 new and this saw registrations rally sufficiently to clear out stocks.

At the time of writing there seems to be little prospect of a second generation MG6 hitting the UK. When drawing out the future for the marque at the GS launch Matthew Cheyne was clear that future additions to the range would sensibly focus on crossover vehicles including a larger seven seater model similar to the Nissan X-Trail or Skoda Kodiaq.

This begs the question of where their BTCC involvement will go. MG have two years of a three year deal remaining and it seems like this will be seen out with the team using a defunct model. For something seemingly at the centre of their marketing activities this is more than a little bit strange.

That said, we think few (particularly within the dealer network) will lament the MG6’s passing. For those looking for a killer* fact there were 2,804 MG6s registered in total between April 2011 and September 2016. The most successful year was 2012 with 774 registrations. What a flop!

The MG6’s demise was bad news buried by the arrival of the GS compact crossover in the summer. The GS was hyped up in some quarters beyond belief as some seemed to believe it was going to catapult MG into the stratosphere. The first indications of impending disappointment were the issues with the DTI-Tech engine. No diesel engine would undermine the GS in a sector where cars like the Ford Kuga have a vast majority of sales in favour of a diesel engine. With fans having got excited with talk about a diesel or the higher performance 2.0 Turbo available in China, the GS launched with a “choice” of one engine, a 1.5 Turbo Petrol co-developed with GM which excited no one.

And what a launch it was. There are so many details one could go into about the GS launch. The website littered with misspellings and Chinglish, the attempts to create excitement about unveiling a new car that had been out in China for 18 months, the lukewarm press reviews… One could go on but this section is meant to be a few hundred words long so just read this thread.

The most laughable part of the launch was the advertising campaign. Oh yes, they actually deigned to advertise this one! Most car manufacturers do some grand advert that persuades you that their identikit faux-by-faux will fit into your fantastic active lifestyle. MG, instead, decided to run an advert where some dreary family drove their dreary car from their dreary Barratt Home to a restaurant to eat a dreary pizza. There was actually a better shot of the pizza than of the car.The whole thing then ended with a cheap and plain white screen as some bloke with a droning voice said we should “Get Set” for the GS. The entire budget presumably went on the pizza.

Proudly trailed on the company’s social media pages the advert got an overwhelmingly negative reaction. The Don Draper of Lowhill Lane, Matthew Cheyne, was even directly targeted by irate enthusiasts on Twitter. A dignified silence proved beyond the marketing supremo as he defensively tweeted about how he was proud of the advert as it had “got people tweeting about MG” and boasted about how many orders had been placed.

What targets there was were set very low with at 7-900 for the “first year” before an increase to 1,000 in 2017. The mention of a specific target for 2017, leads us to believe that the 700 figure was the target for the seven months remaining in 2016. This seems low considering that in full years the MG6 was generally attaining 5-600 registrations and that was a byword for failure.

These low targets were explained when it became known that the GS was allegedly not submitted for full type approval. Instead it has Small Series type approval that sees it limited to less than 1,000 registrations per year. This has considerable advantages in terms of lower costs and bureaucracy as well as lower technical standards. This works well for companies who want to sell relatively few cars. For similar reasons, the GS also hasn’t been crash tested and is unlikely to be in the future. This is rather surprising for a supposedly family friendly car. Parents tend to be interested in how safe a car is as flawed as the current Euro NCAP system is.

The GS launch was the story MG Motor UK wanted everyone to be talking about this year, however, their most impactful announcement transpired to be the decision to cease final assembly at Longbridge. The issue to be had with this was not the decision itself which made good sense considering the low level of sales so far but how badly it had been handled. Rumours had mounted early on in 2016 but this was denied by workers who had obviously been given assurances. MG’s most recent accounts claim that the final decision was reached in June, a full three months before things became official.

The announcement created a minor backlash and gained far more attention and column inches than anything else MG had done in 2016. It needn’t have been this way. MG had built up the fact their cars were finished in Britain and in the early days made bold claims of greater production in the future. In doing so they had created a rod from their own backs. The reality was that it was a small number of workers doing a small amount of work. In the case of the MG3 the majority of cars had been coming in fully built from China as far back as 2014. The reaction would perhaps have been less negative was there more honesty about this.

In an attempt to counter negativity a recently appointed external PR consultancy were seemingly briefed to issue as many positive releases as possible. The problem here is that it was badly botched. Sending out a release about, for example, employing a single graduate in engineering (whose name they spelled wrong) and spinning it as big deal sounds daft when everyone knows you laid off twenty staff the week before. Once again, it would have been appropriate to maintain a dignified silence.

There was much more we could have covered about 2016 at MG Motor UK. Nonsensical press releases (my personal favourite being the one proudly announcing rubber mats being available on the GS like it was some kind of innovative feature), bizarre marketing, dire customer care and the late submission of the annual accounts all continued the long-standing impression of them being a bunch of incompetent amateurs playing at running a car firm.

But that is the story of almost every year for MG Motor UK. What was new last year was how it marked a year of cutbacks following the failures of their earlier years. This retrenchment can be seen in a few of the issues that have been discussed here particularly the end of “production” at Longbridge. The early days of MG Motor UK also saw large investments in things like a unique diesel engine for the MG6. In 2016, however, MG chose not to invest in updating that engine to continue the MG6 or maximise the potential of the GS. We also saw cut costs around the GS launch with fewer adaptations for UK specification than on the 3 and 6 and the car not being submitted to expensive type approval or crash testing programs amidst modest sales targets. After years of unwise investments and sales performance that has been continually below expectations these decisions were probably sensible ones much as some won’t like to see it that way.

And on that note we’ll finish. Next time, in part two of three, we will discuss MG UK’s 2016 “sales” performance and the outlook for 2017. I’m off for a pizza first, though.

Buyer’s Guide – MG GS

By Barry.

This is a buyer’s guide for the MG GS model. It is not a review or complete list of faults but is intended to be a general guide of what to look out for on a used MG GS, something you can print off and take with you to a viewing.

What is it?

This is MG’s first entry into the incredibly popular SUV market. It’s going up against some big names and brands in the market such as the Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Ford and Renault.

Sadly, it didn’t get off to a great start due to a terribly lack-lustre and confusing TV ad campaign. Matthew Cheyne made various claims of sales numbers and despite these being small the sales targets have been missed so it appears the market isn’t flocking towards MG’s latest offering.

Which models are available?

The MG GS is available in 3 trim levels; the Explore, the Excite and the Exclusive.

MG GS Excite

All models come with the expected standard features, such as electric windows, power-steering, adjustable steering column etc, the Explore comes with Cruise control, automatic headlamps, air-con and an intelligent stop-start engine.

The Excite comes with the features of the Explore, plus a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and rear parking sensors. Finally, the

Mg GS Explore

Exclusive offers you 18” alloy wheels and the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox. Leather interiors are available on the Excite and Exclusive models

Mg GS Exclusive

According to MG “All of this will put you on the edge of your seat with excitement”. Unfortunately for MG so will some other elements of the GS, for example, the colour choice and options have for some customers been inconsistent with what was ordered and what has arrived off the boat from China.

While we’re on that, the GS is not built or finished in Longbridge so don’t be fooled by any salesman talk of “Buying British”. A Qashqai would be the one to go for, if that’s your main reason for choosing.

What should I look for if I’m buying a used one?

There are a number of things to watch out for when buying a new or used MG GS. And it’s with Buying new I’m going to start.

The Sales Centre: This is MG’s flagship sales outlet. However, be warned, some customers have had a very poor sales experience and customer service experience from the Sales Centre and its staff. There are reports across owner’s forums and Facebook help pages of buyers having their credit details shared in public, having wrong orders placed, being shouted at by sales people, receiving aggressive text messages from MG staff’s personal phones and finally receiving abusive call-backs when they have the audacity to complain about all of the above. Certainly not all of the Sales Centre staff are like that, there are great people in there. If you choose to buy there try and deal with ‘Dave’ who is a long time MG enthusiast. His heart is in the right place even if those around him seem to be just there for the cheque.

Rear Boot lock: Some customers are beginning to complain that the boot door has a tendency to unlock and open itself. Edge of the seat stuff when it happens at 70mph on the M40. Make sure all doors and locks are opening and closing correctly.


Headlamps: Owners are reporting that headlights are beginning to fog up and hold moisture. Some dealerships are quick to replace these under warranty as is standard practice for most brands. However, the official response from MG is that they have not been sealed and that this is perfectly normal and in fact a safety feature. It’s a worrying response and indication of potential cost cutting and poor assembly in China and in this writer’s opinion, not something which should be going wrong with a modern and well assembled car.

Gearbox: There are multiple reports of the GS giving serious gearbox trouble already even on newly delivered cars. Everything from sticking in gear, not engaging in any gear and being slow to respond to driver inputs. MG claimed a simple software update was needed and proceeded to update the software on affected cars. This lead to the cars becoming “locked down” and non-responsive to any further dealership attempts at rectification. Some owner’s cars have been left off the road for a number of weeks with no solution forthcoming. Be warned, if the gearbox isn’t working correctly run away.

Values: MG refused to discount the GS when launched. But due to very poor sales, currently matching those of the disastrous MG6, that strategy quickly changed. Be warned, residuals aren’t looking promising.


Diesel: There is none, don’t waste your time looking for one despite the fact almost all other manufacturers offer one in this segment due to strong customer demand.




Stop/Start: This is creating many running issues for owners. Owners report that the car cuts out when still in motion, is slow to respond and some have stated that it is downright dangerous. However owners do report that when it’s switched off the car is no longer dangerous to operate. This seems to be a big issue with cars fitted with an auto gearbox.

Safety: The GS has not been crash tested however it performed well in the significantly easier Chinese NCAP tests. As MG are not importing the GS above 1000 units per year into Europe the GS does not have to undergo strict testing. But why would they not want to anyway, unless they were afraid of the out-come?

Multi-function Screen: MG owners are reporting that the MFS does not turn itself on and sometimes shuts down during use. This is resulting in cars being returned to dealers. Make sure it is operating correctly. This is a worrying sign of future reliability of the electrical equipment. A quick fix for owners is to hold down the on/off switch for 10 seconds however this isn’t seen as a permanent fix.

Over rev on manual cars: Owners are reporting an annoying over rev on manual cars. This is resulting in cars being returned to dealerships. Currently a software update is being performed but this is not a guaranteed fix.

Boot release fob: Owners have reported that the tailgate release fob is not consistently working to open the boot door. Check it is working properly.


It’s shaping up to be the second best offering from MG. I still think the MG3 is the best all-rounder from them. The unresolved gearbox issues and poor service from MG really are major drawbacks. Customers are already ignoring all the other better offerings in the market to go with the MG GS.

The GS has already been face-lifted in China but MG are for the foreseeable future only offering the old model for the UK market. Customers don’t need worries about the company and who they are dealing with to be turning them off as well as offering an already dated model. Add to that it’s got the least British content of any MG so far, now that MG has made all its production staff in Longbridge redundant the future of the company here is now in doubt.

The verdict has to be one of AVOID. Genuinely Impossible to TENNIS.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Jagagotchi (NOT Sam Skelton)

Next up is our Sam Skelton wannabe. He likes big barges usually and tends to regurgitate standard drivel. But here goes anyway. You can feel the wannabe journalist overtones OOZING from him more than Chucky. Enjoy*

Jaguar XJ40

Beloved of Tories, crooks and banger racers, the XJ40 truly is all things to all men. It combines ‘80s flash with a driving experience that’s so good, you can’t help but have a disgusting smug grin on your face every time float down the road in one. It may have spawned the X300 and X308, which are quantifiably better cars, but the square ‘80s styling of the original avoids the cheerleader-tied-up-in-the-boot creepy vibe of the X300, and the tacky, desperate image of the X308. There are cheaper ways to have fun, such as a coke habit or an addiction to Wagyu beef. If you’re after the smarmy satisfaction that golf club touring cars like these offer, look no further.


ADO16s are one of those rare cars that once you get in them…you just want to drive them…and drive them…and drive them. They’ve got more grip than most bath mats, and even the 1100 has enough torque to make one feel quick in every gear. I know for similar Issigonis nonsense most would point me towards AN Mini, but because the classic car scene constantly tries to ramn the Mini down one’s throat (metaphorically I mean. physically having a Mini rammed down your throat would hurt) I get sick of the sight of the bloody things.

Triumph Acclaim

It’s hard to explain why I like these. It’s the car equivalent of having a weird crush. Maybe it’s the whole under-dog thing? It was only recently that the Triumph Owner’s Club accepted them, and most people probably don’t even have a clue what they are. Acclaims are an interesting footnote in BLARG history, and I’d like to own one in much the same way I’d like an Ekranoplan: only interesting because of their obscurity, but interesting all the same (Ekranoplan VS Triumph Acclaim – ARF twin test?).


Occasionally a Metro, bubble shape R3 or a 45 for sale will pop up via a link on one of those numerous CLASSIC BRITISH ONLY OLD CAR OLD BUY CLASSIC AND SELL LOVERS ONLY type Facebook groups, and hundreds of lickers will frot themselves over gleaming paintwork, low mileage and a full service history. This is normally because they were owned by OAPs, who keep their cars for decades, get them serviced on the dot at main dealers and only drive once a week to buy slug killer or something. But now the firm is dead, what will the lickers frot themselves over in the future? A Honda Jazz just isn’t the same. Oh course! MG! Barton to the rescue with the delightful little MG3. But MG don’t want to sell any cars, and nobody has heard of them, so very few MG3s will probably make that stage in life. For the sake of all future window lickers and internet BLARG experts I feel I should buy one, do 7 miles a year in it, only take it to a main dealer for servicing, so it can be wheeled out on eBay after my eventual and inevitable suicide. You’ll all appreciate me when I’m dead.

Triumph Stag

Stags are dreadful. They drive with all the finesse of a lopsided shopping trolley with five wheels, aren’t especially quick and are hopelessly unreliable in standard form. And that’s before we even get to the finger-severing design of the hood, which is a work of art in it’s own right. So why is something so dreadful on my list? Because of how they make you feel. The good looks, V8 soundtrack and generally laid back way in which a Stag goes about its business will make anyone, and mean anyone look and feel cool. Even if you look like a moldy dog turd and have the personality of a fax machine, a Stag will transform you into Sir Roger Moore in an instant. It’s like viagra for your personality.

There we have it. I Apologise.

My Fantasy Class Garage – MrRod

Next up is our poison dwarf. Let’s see if our tax-dodging twitter-blocker has the nounce to put together a good list. I have every confidence in him to do just that.

Early MG Metro

They say you should never go back but sod that. I had one of these as my first car and it was bloody great. So if the NNMF would like to bang one out for me, I’ll take a black one please.




SD1 Vitesse Twin Plenum

Well just look at it. . The SD1. Bloody beautiful cars, and the twin plenum 3500 Vitesse has got to be up there. I know some people prefer the early s1 with its skeleton badge and single bootlid strap and all, and fair enough, but I prefer the later cars. So with those looks plus the V8 in the finest iteration that the SD1 got, its the one for me. So if the lads at the Hypothetical Factory of Class wouldn’t mind not going on strike for a day, and would build me one of these properly I’d be very grateful.


Leyland P76 Force 7

Because big Australian white elephant. Brilliant. What’s not to like? The Firm’s Aussie offshoot took the fight to the big boys and ruined it, naturally, but one of the big “what ifs” – WHAT IF they had put them together properly and WHAT IF they’d not released them when they did? Sure they’d have had to go some to beat Holden and Ford at their own game but just maybe… So, please, add one of these to the garage.

Rover 216 GTi Twin Cam 3 door

Well the R8 – what can we say. Obviously we shall ignore Mark Mastropotato’s sacrilegious witterings about whether it was just the shite competition that made the R8 seem good. Of course not. It WAS that good, and driving one now, over a quarter of a century later, it still holds it own. The pinnacle of the firm’s affair with Honda the R8 platform, under the Firm, spawned multiple bodystyles and received many engines – from the excellent early K series, the best-not-mention Pug soot chuckers to Honda’s sweet D series, amongst others. For me, the best engine was the screaming D series twin cam, and the 3-door bodystyle was a rare treat, so i’ll take one in GTi flavour ta. And it’s money no object so i’ll also take a fuel tanker to follow me around.

Innocenti DeTomaso

I was going to pick an MG6… LIKE HELL I WAS. A great looking, sharp Italian suit draped over those classic Mini mechanicals and famous rubber-coned suspension make for one very appealing package, to my mind. So one of those, thoroughly waxoyled from the factory, delivered to my garage. I’ll change my name to Roberto and drive around early 80’s Milan, shouting highly inappropriate things to young signoritas, whilst nursing a semi and harbouring feelings of deep-seated catholic guilt. Whens-a your Dolmio day, indeed.

My Fantasy Class Garage – MarinaST

Next up is marinast. A man of class for many years with plenty of Special Tuning and Motorsport P.K on hand. Here’s his 5.

Leyland Force 7R

The daddy of Leyland Australia’s capability and so close to being a reality.  The Force 7 was canned just before launch (‘just’ as in hours before) and all but a handful were crushed. The 7R was to have been a true Aussie Muscle car, developed by Repco and with at least 250-300bhp on tap, it would have been a serious contender against the V8 Ford and Holdens at the time. With petrol injection and a stretch to 5 litres the 7R could have developed into a serious bit of kit, and knowing the Australians love of lairy paint and trim schemes at the time, certainly memorable in appearance.

Leyland Marina GT/6

Aha! Again I’ve picked a ‘what if’ you say, but at least one GT/6 prototype was made and it’s in a Australian Muscle Car Museum.
The GT/6 used the 2600cc E6, mated to triple Webber carbs, along with a free flowing exhaust and four speed gearbox.(the standard 2600/Red Six had an ancient three speeder) Power outputs for this beast are only estimates but at least 150bhp.
Development engineers claimed it was quicker than the then current 201 cu. in six cylinder Holden Torana LH, a car far from lacking in the power department (@135bhp) and could have been the second quickest production Marina after the MG V8 version, but that’s another story…

Rover 75 V8

Yes, the power plant is an ancient 2 valve Ford lump and mated to an old style automatic gearbox so no hypermiling here, but what a swansong. There is no other Rover which combined sheer classy looks, smooth ride and lazy but brutal performance in one place.  These are a car which are currently highly undervalued, so I guess now is the time to buy.

Triumph 2000 MD

Back in the ’60s the 2000 and P6 led the charge in mid sized 2 litre executive saloons.  Just 49 MD (Managing Director) versions were produced, they featured wire wheels, triple Stromberg Carburettors and overdrive along with a gorgeous (Nadi?) wood rimmed steering wheel and chromed scuttle trim. They oozed CLASS then and they ooze CLASS now.

Douglas Bader’s Austin Allegro Equipe

How do you make an Equipe even better? Douglas Bader asked BL to produce a car specifically for him (it turned out to be the last car he would own) so in went a one off factory fit automatic gearbox along with a special Spitfire bonnet mascot.
A special car and owned by one of our nations most famous fighter pilots. Sadly it was last seen in a scrapyard around 25 years ago but as a fantasy Class garage motor they don’t get much more special than that.

And that’s that for now.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Barry

Next up is the Ireland’s answer to Bobby Ball. He’s been very specific in terms of his class garage, even specifying the colour. Fair play.

Rover SD1 2600S

I had one of these in Midas Gold and loved it. I’ve regretted selling it
ever since. I love the torque of the engine, yes, I know it’s fatally flawed but it sounds good due to it being a straight six. The series 1 cars have cleaner lines in my opinion and with a very rare leather interior they’re extremely comfortable. Even the dashboard is lovely to use and is very interesting when compared to modern cars.


Rover R8 214SEi

In Nightfire red, I love the last of line cars of the R8 shape. Very clean lines, very well finished and what was Rovers high point in terms of quality fit and finish. It was all down-hill from here. The only fly in the ointment for me is the ride height is a bit high.


Austin Maxi Mk 2 1750HLS in Tara Green

I’m lucky that I’ve actually owned 2 of my dream class cars. Comfortable, practical and usable as a daily were what sold it to me. The Tara Green paintwork match with chrome really stands out to this day. My mates even nick named it the slug………cunts come to think of it. It’s a real pity the suspension had a tendency to let it down.


Rover 75 KV6 2.5

I’ve owned a lovely Rover 75 and while it was the pick of the range in diesel form it’s the sound of the 2.5 that really makes it stand out for me. I’m sorry I haven’t owned a good one, although there is still time but good clean ones are becoming hard to find, especially as so many owners like to stick tat on and ruin the interior.



Again, I’ve had an MGF but not a VVC, which stands for Very Very Complicated or so everyone whose owned one that went wrong tells me. Great handling, interesting design and some nice touches mean this is a great every man car.


Whilst his choices aren’t pushing the boundaries of what is out there, there is a reason they’d all be in his dream garage. Every last one of them could be driven and enjoyed daily.

My Fantasy Class Garage – MarkM

Well I suppose it’s my turn to put my own list of 5 into print.

Not an easy task given the fact I’ve seen so many great lists already but here goes.

Rover 214 SEi:

There has to be a place for this in my fantasy garage, a touch of sentimentality, but also because I believe it was one of the best run-out models the firm ever made. The R8 was such a capable car, but the little 214 SEi gave an insurance-friendly, nippy, comfortable, sporty package that still felt quality.


Montego 2.0 GTi:

Another one that’d be kind of sentimental. I learned to drive in a post 88 Montego DSL, my old man also worked at a Rover main dealer between 89-91. I remember him bringing home a Montego GTi and I thought it was fantastic. Probably one of the most inappropriate uses of the GTi badge ever applied to a car and for that reason it’s a winner.


Austin Allegro Equipe:

That paint scheme, that front chin-spoiler and those wheels somehow turned a car I thought was a frumpy-looking, laughable blob into a hot-hatch chaser. Sexier than an Alfasud or Golf put-together, this was the only time they got it right with the Allegro as a Euro-star. Then the Series 3 came along and bollocksed things up. Dickheads.


Rover 3500 V8S:

I was torn between an SD1 and a P6. I’ve always told myself I wanted a P6 yet when it’s come to the crunch, a Series 1 SD1 with those Gold Alloys just ticks more boxes. It’d have to be in Triton Green too for that full ‘i wish the car in the brochure was mine’ effect, Just glorious.



Jaguar XKR-S Sportbrake:

A very difficult last choice, again, I always thought a 75 V8 would make it into my list and likewise a Discovery 3, but I cannot ignore the XF. It’s fantastic in 3.0d S guise, but it’d have to be the V8 Supercharged monster for me in this scenario. They’re a fabulous car to drive, incredibly nimble and supremely comfortable. The only reason I am picking the Sportbrake is that I could not put up with the ironing board spoiler on the saloon.

That’s yer lot… More to come.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Tim (Gordon Bennett)

Next up it’s Tim. It can only be assumed all of these cars are fitted with a 1980s-spec car-phone, just in case Sward wants to give him a call.

Range Rover L405 SDV8:

Aside from its size there don’t appear to be many compromises or drawbacks to these things. Nevermind that you probably need two for when one is inevitably being mended.



Defender 90 TD5:

It does little of use outside of a farmer’s field that a Raj Rover doesn’t do better but there is a certain something about these things, even more so with the TD5 soundtrack. It still manages to be class without a hint of vulgarity too.



Rover 216 GTi:

I’m torn between one of the Twin-Cam Honda models (the better car) and the 220 Turbo Coupe (the halo model) here. 216 GTi 5-door with the two tone flame red over tempest grey if I have to pick one.



MG ZT-T 260

Ever since seeing Clarkson going sideways in a firefrost saloon model I’ve fancied one of these things. I appreciate they’re utterly compromised but they’re proof that even at the fag-end of car production at Longbridge they genuinely could produce something really quite special.



Rolls-Royce Wraith:

Am I allowed a BMW Rolls-Royce? If so put me down for the Wraith please. Never driven one but have been a passenger in a Ghost and a Phantom, both of which were utterly sublime. I’d opt for a Phantom, but prefer the idea of driving myself to being driven.


What a batch! Clearly a man with expensive taste is our Tim. Class will out!

Stay tuned for another list soon.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Scott Armstrong (Derek)

Today we turn upside down and find out what our Kiwi radio-spakka has in his fantasy class garage.

Rover P5B:

The car that started it all with THAT engine. A step in a such a positive direction for Rover with that light-weight, burbling power-plant wrapped up in an elegant wood n’ leather gentleman’s tank. It worked better than anyone could ever have hoped. Delightful.



Jaguar XJ6 SIII:

In my opinion the XJ6 is England’s best saloon. The Series III model was enhanced by Pininfarina and turned into the World’s best saloon. Supreme.




Range Rover Vogue:

The original and best. Inventor of the luxury SUV – 5 doors, leather chairs, V8 power. Proper and right.




Triumph Stag: 

Elegant beyond belief. A beautiful touring 4 seater that looks absolutely stunning from bumper to bumper. Only mechanical problems stopped it from being a hit. Cruelly robbed.



Rover 200 R8:

The most perfectly formed 5-door car of that decade. Beautiful, well engineered, and ideally suited to The Rover Treatment. Spot on.






And there we have it, Derek’s five of the best, no real surprises but clearly he’s a man of class.

More to come soon.

My Fantasy Class Garage – Chucky de Hammer (Chucky)

Next up is regular contributor Chucky.

Becoming increasingly verbose of late, his list of 5 is to follow. There’s definitely a theme for some MacDroitwich favourites emerging within these lists…

Choosing five starts giving you options and ideas and reasons, and of course you end up changing your mind ten minutes later. So here is my list of the cars of class I would most desire in my garage, until tomorrow anyway when I will want at least one change.

Rover Metro 1.1 S:

First up is an obvious choice for the daily hack. A mini is a crude, crashing lashup stuffed full of half-baked ideas that only got signed off by Issigonis as he came up with them. I did flirt with an 1100 but I don’t think Machine Mart hold enough stock of welding wire to keep one roadworthy. Far better to go for the Metro 1.1S. The K Series in its smallest size and least number of valves is a gem, it had the best version of Moulton’s hydragas suspension and inside was nicely fitted out. Too many so-called city cars suffer from choppy ride, dismal handling, harsh engines and cheap, low-rent interiors. The Metro, even today, feels nimble, smooth, quiet and comfy.

Jaguar XJ-C:

There are of course times when you need the perfect car to whisk away Shiralee Coleman to the breathtaking sights of exotic faraway places. For example, Porthmadog. Such a task can only be accomplished by a grand touring car, and a touring car is only truly grand when it has twelve pistons, which thankfully removes the need to consider a Triumph Stag. Instead, I would have a black Jaguar XJ-C. Sir William’s, lithe, pillarless swansong is achingly gorgeous and the whispering punch from the big twelve-pot is one of the most addictive engines to drive that I know of. It would be the perfect car to whisk away a lady of such stature to see a narrow gauge railway followed by a visit to a hostel which charges by the hour for a swift how’s your father.

MG Maestro 2.0i:

What would be ideal for those moments when you need to get somewhere very quick and preferably without being too noticed? Another easy choice really; the MG Maestro 2.0, a car that nicked VW’s rear beam suspension and then, with a far superior chassis and suspension setup, rubbed their faces right in it. The Maestro goes, handles and stops so much better than Wolfsburg’s effort only the most myopic would drive one and still settle for the VW. It’s so good you should buy one before they become too expensive, otherwise you will be left with no choice but to buy its third rate competitor instead. And you will then hate yourself every single day.

Leyland P76 Force 7:

Choosing a sports car starts with turfing out what I don’t like. The Austin Healey 3000 is for old men coming to terms with impotence and from Triumph only the TR8 convertible remotely appeals, but then you have to deal with the dickheads who automatically assume that it’s a converted TR7.The MGA Twin Cam would in theory be lovely, a nimble sporty thing with an eager motor and Dunlop steelies for added porn, but they do tend to blow up. Instead I would go for a P76 Force 7 V. Here is a coupe that shouted Australian style (did I just put those two words next to each other?) while also being perfectly practical – they are an easy 5-seater and the rear hatch is absolutely huge – and with the Rover V8 in 4.4 litre guise under the bonnet it will barrel along just dandy. There is no nicer car of class to cruise along the seafront of Weston-Super-Mare in the tropical July heat, a gentle breeze tumbling round your Wayfarers on your way to get some chips, the windscreen wipers struggling under the weight of ladies knickers being flung at your motor while you cruise.

Range Rover Vogue SE 3.9 EFi:

I forgot to add the Range Rover to the list so it fits nicely here at the end, an original shape in four-door format. I will never forget driving over 300 miles in a 3.9 Vogue SE one wintry, blizzard-riddled day to Cumbria and back and how it treated the treacherous blacktop with calm, aloof contempt. It was almost mocking other motorists as they slipped and slid and struggled to make headway. The Range Rover was an inspired piece of work by Spen King and it’s an automatic choice in the five-car garage. But in my eyes it’s also the first choice for the one-car garage. Really, it’s the only car you ever need.

So, after that brief summary from Chucky, we await with baited-baited breath for our next instalment.