On Sunday I spent the day at Silverstone with my fiancee and his parents. We went to see the MG Live show, which had been on all weekend. It was a great day (even though I got very sunburnt!) and it was fascinating to see all the old – and new – MG cars on show. Many people had driven their own MG’s to showcase at the weekend, including my other half – driving us in his MG ZS 180. The cars were parked by type which made for a great display, although my fella did joke that with the parking area for the ZS, ZR and ZT’s being tucked out the way on an embankment at the back made them like the ‘red-haired step-children’ (in other words, not ‘good’ enough to gain pride of place next to more popular/classic MG’s such as the Midget, MGB or MG F/TF). The pride some people take in their cars is fascinating, although these are not the type of car’s/owners you will see ‘pimping’ their cars or having them supe-d up – keeping the originality of the car is important to most MG owners.
The MG Car club have been holding their main annual event at Silverstone for the last 61 years. I wonder if they will still be there to celebrate their 100th anniversary in 13 years time!? I wouldn’t be surprised if they are! Before I tell you about our day I’d just like to share a bit of the 87 year history of the MG Car…
MG Cars have a long history in the UK with the first MG sports car rolling off the production line back in 1924 (when the company was part of Morris garages) the MG 14/28.
Various cars continued to be produced, including the classic ‘Midget’, until World War II put a hold to car manufacturing. After the war production continued with new midgets being a staple, along with the first MGB being released in the early 1960’s.
In 1980 the Abingdon factory closed having been home to the MG for 50 years. 2 years later production recommenced under the umbrella of the Austin-Rover/Rover group in Longbridge at this time Metro’s, Maestro’s and Montego’s were the key series’, however these are often not considered ‘real’ MG’s and it wasn’t until the release of the MGF in 1995 that MG’s were truly ‘back’ in production.
As Rover entered it’s troubled period the ‘Z’ range of MG’s entered the market in the early 2000’s before finally production ceased with collapse of the MG Rover Group in 2005. But still this was not the end for MG, with Nanjing taking over ownership of the brand the TF series cars launched in 2008 and the first ‘all-new’ MG for 16 years went into production in 2010 – the MG6 is the start of a new era for MG Cars.
So, the first thing we did was have a good nose (look) at the other ‘Z’ series cars parked near us. Having a ZS and a ZTT we just need a ZR to complete the ‘Z’ family – which is exactly what the other half wants to buy next! (He also has an MGTF!) While he was focused on taking pictures of engines, I was more interested in the cool effects of the photochromic paints (colour changing) – well I am a girl with very little technical knowledge of cars, a nice looking paint job catches the eye far more than even a very shiny engine! (why else would I write about the history rather than technical stuff!?) Although I do know that the K series engine is notorious for Head-gasket problems… (is that technical enough? lol) 😉
We then watched Russ Swift (of the Montego parallel parking advert) demonstrate his amazing precision driving skills, the X-Treme Motorcycle Stunt Trials Display Team performing unbelievable stunts with a great injection of comedy from the ‘non-riding’ member of the team and a breathtaking over head flight of aerobatic displays by British National Aerobatic Champion, Gerald Cooper. 🙂
During our stroll round the Autojumble/Trade City; where all manner of car parts, accessories and interesting memorabilia were on sale; we stopped for a chat with the publishers of the MG Enthusiast Magazine where as well as taking out a subscription the other half gave them some feedback about keeping ‘new’ enthusiasts interested by including more articles about the newer MG models. They appreciated there is a need to move with the times, but getting the balance right is difficult – they have to include at least 1 pre-war car, 1 MGB and 1 MGF in each issue to keep them broad readership demographic happy, as well as various other ‘must-have’ topics, which now includes trying to juggle features on ‘Z’ series models and other ‘modern classics’.
Indulging in the opportunity to view so many other MG cars was clearly a high point of the day for the other half! As we were both very burnt and his parents were growing tired we sat down on the embankment to watch a bit of the MG’s racing on the Grand Prix track before finally calling it a day and heading home, laden with brochures, leaflets and business cards of many useful contacts to help keep out little ‘MG Family’ in tip-top condition 😀
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