The MGB is not at all uncommon in American self-service wrecking yards these days— perhaps a bit less numerous than the Fiat 124 Sports Spider, but I still see a few Crusher-bound MGBs every year. I had an MGB-GT daily driver about 25 years ago, and so I’m very familiar with this car’s many drawbacks… but I still think the B was a pretty good car for its time, so it saddens me to see yet another doomed one. Here’s an early B that I spotted at a Denver self-service yard a few weeks ago. (Read More…)
As a former MGB commuter, I always feel a certain sadness when I see one of British Leyland’s underpowered little sports cars about to get eaten by The Crusher. The B was a surprisingly sturdy car of very simple construction, but sales were undermined by terrible build quality, a primitive pushrod engine, and electrical components made by the Prince of Darkness. These cars show up frequently in self-service wrecking yards, as abandoned project MGBs are expelled from driveways and back yards; we’ve seen this ’71, this ’75, and this Toyota-engined ’79 in this series, and today we’ll look at a very used-up ’79 that I spotted in a California yard. (Read More…)
Last week there was a 2003 Toyota Tacoma with 430,000 miles on it.
I thought to myself, “Well this isn’t news. The quartet of GM/Ford trucks, Honda Cars, and Toyota everything is still cleaning up the charts. I won’t write about it this time”. So I waited…
This week the mileage champion out of 6,945 vehicles was a 1999 Toyota 4Runner with 344,400 miles. The enthusiasts among us are probably a bit Toyonda Chevorded out at this point. So this time, let’s focus on longevity.
MG, now owned by Chinese auto maker SAIC, is apparently gunning for Kia and beyond. But despite their lofty ambitions, MG hasn’t made much headway in the automotive world.
As someone who spent a few years using an MGB-GT as a daily driver, my junkyard radar is pretty well attuned to detect Crusher-bound examples of the iconic British sports car. Incredible quantities of Bs were built over a run that lasted close to 20 years, and of course you’ll want to read Ate Up With Motor‘s excellent history of the breed after you’re done here. The biggest problem with this sturdy little car (other than the Prince of Darkness) was the lack of power from its antiquated pushrod engine, so a previous owner of this car solved that problem by adding a Taliban-grade Toyota truck engine. (Read More…)
You see plenty of Fiat 124 Sport Spiders in self-service wrecking yards these days, but junked MGBs— which were more commonplace back in the day— are fairly rare. The MGB was slower, less sophisticated, and sturdier than its Fiat competitor, and it still has a big following today. This could mean that more MGB projects get finished, while 124 Spider projects languish for decades before getting discarded. (Read More…)
Lotus may not have been sold to the Chinese (yet) but someone else was. And they’ve been making cars for over a year. Supposedly, they’re not bad to drive either.
Even though I’ve never been in a Austin/MG Maestro, I feel fairly confident in stating that the Rover Group’s little front-drive compact was unexciting at best. Still, the advertising folks must have though (after 11 rounds of Singapore Slings down at the pub) we can make it look cute and sexy! (Read More…)
As the former owner of a daily-driver MGB (plus some other British Leyland steel that still causes me Prince of Darkness PTSD), junked MGBs always catch my eye. The strange thing is that you still see plenty of Bs on their final stop before The Crusher, more than 30 years after the last one clattered off the assembly line. Here’s one that I found in Denver, parked a few rows over from the ’71 Fiat 850. (Read More…)
While scanning endless negatives and slides for the 1965 Impala Hell Project, I’ve run across a few images of other heaps from my past. I’m kicking myself now for letting dozens of now-interesting hoopties pass through my hands without getting any photographic record, but that’s how the pre-digital-photography era worked. My British Racing Green, chrome-bumper MGB-GT, however, served three years as my daily driver, and so it did get caught by a few photographs. Here’s a shot showing one of the many, many repairs this fine British Leyland product needed while serving as my primary means of transportation. (Read More…)
The Killer Bees MGB has participated in just about every West Coast 24 Hours of LeMons race for the last couple of years. The Bees have done quite well, generally finishing in the top half of the standings, but somehow another entry managed to take home LeMons racing’s top prize in each of those races; even a British Leyland product has a tough time when submerged in a field of 150+ entries. This time, however, the yellow MGB finished well into the top 10 of the standings and claimed the IOE in a no-doubt decision. (Read More…)
One of Bertel and my favorite Chinese car blogs, ChinaCarNews, has been reporting since October than the next-generation of MG/Roewe midsized sedans would be based on GM’s Global Midsized (Epsilon II) chassis (which underpins Buick LaCrosse/Regal and the new Chevy Malibu), and now the rest of the media appears to be catching up. From InsideLine to Autocar, everyone’s running with the story that MG/Roewe, which is owned by GM’s main Chinese partner SAIC, is working on an Epsi II-based MG7 for launch in the 2015 timeframe. According to InsideLine
[In 2015], the MG7/Roewe 750 sedan replacement appears some 15 years after the debut of the Rover 75 they’re based on. A coupelike four-door, it uses GM’s Epsilon platform and will be powered by 2.0 and 2.4 four-cylinder gasoline engines and a 1.9 diesel, all with dual-clutch transmissions.
GM and SAIC signed a Memorandum Of Understanding back in October [.DOC file here], which included the provision that, in addition to developing a next-gen electric architecture,
SAIC and GM anticipate sharing an additional vehicle architecture and powertrain application in an effort to help reduce development costs and benefit from economies of scale.
This could explain MG/Roewe’s rumored use of the Epsilon II chassis, but for the moment GM dismisses these rumors as “speculation.” And no wonder: even GM hasn’t announced when it will offer a dual-clutch transmission in its Global Midsized platform. Chances are, The General will want to offer that combination before its Chinese partners use it to beef up its MG/Roewe brands, which have been in product rehab for some time now.
We were all quite impressed by the way the Cardorks/Invisible Pink Unicorn BMW clawed the win from the grasp of the Pro-Crass-Duh-Nation Alfa Romeo, but the serious battle at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey 24 Hours of LeMons took place among the contenders for the race’s true top prize: the Index of Effluency. (Read More…)
Kevin Wale, head of GM China, confirmed what we had intimated a month ago: GM wants to give their Chinese joint venture partner SAIC access to GM’s sales network in the UK. “We have agreed in an MOU that we would discuss the potential for MG to be distributed in the UK,” said Wale to Reuters.
If the deal is signed, it would be unprecedented. (Read More…)
Next year, the UK will get back a long lost son, who has found adoptive parents in China: The MG. Gasgoo reports that the MG6 Saloon will enter the British market in 2011. That was announced by Chen Zhixin, Executive Vice President of SAIC Motor and General Manager of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle Co., at the UK Pavilion of Shanghai Expo, while Ms. Carma Elliot, Consul General of the United Kingdom (UK) in Shanghai, was watching. Just Auto thinks the Chinese car with a British name will be shown to the UK public at the Top Gear Live MPH motor show at London’s Earls Court, on 4 November. (Read More…)