Foreign Affairs: MG6, United Kingdom
As wonderful as the American marketplace is, there’s an entire world — literally — of cars out there that we just can’t get our hands on. In TTAC’s new series, “Foreign Affairs,” we look at forbidden fruit that you can buy brand new around the world.
As a not-so-closeted Anglophile, I’ve waited for the day that I could walk into an American showroom and drive home a new MG. The iconic octagonal badge reminds me of the MGBs that I restored with my father, and the possibility of a new car with that badge is another link to the man who made me a car enthusiast.
Of course, any time you buy an MG, there are three more letters that will come to mind: AAA. Buy the top-of-the-line package, with unlimited tows. Trust me.
Does anyone recall how the Chinese owners of the MG name were going to start building the cars in Oklahoma? When I heard that a decade ago, I was ready to pack up and move. I would’ve swept floors in the new factory if it would’ve gotten me in the door.
It wasn’t to be, but the new owners have been assembling cars at the Longbridge factory for several years, from partially-knocked-down kits built in China. This MG6 is the top of the range, offering 150 oil-burning horsepower in a Focus-sized package, starting around $20,000 USD.
The MG6 isn’t distinctively styled. I’d call it homely. It reminds me of a genericized Kia. I can’t imagine it is selling particularly well, as the price doesn’t look competitive considering the disadvantages of lackluster build quality. But it (with some sort of petrol engine, of course) is being raced in the British Touring Car Championship, reviving the sporting heritage of Morris Garages.
It’s not the car to carry the flag of the storied marque anywhere but the UK or China. But hopefully, a competitive series of cars will be developed and offered worldwide, and I can get the chance to climb behind an octagon-clad steering wheel.
Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in ebay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
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