MG SV returns, TF founders

Published: 15 April 2008

In the latest twist of the MG Rover saga, and three years after the original MG XPower SV supercar went out of production, the controversial coupe has made a surprise re-appearance. However, the likelihood of us ever seeing the reborn TF roadster seems to be receding by the week.

Now known as the XPower WR, the Qvale Mangusta-based supercar has been eased back into production by William Riley – a descendant of the creators of the historic car company bearing the same name.

His company, known as MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited, produces the supercharged WR, selling it for between £75,000 and £90,000 depending in specification. The rights to the car – and its badge – were bought from MG Rover administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2005. Riley claims that the seven examples of the new car have been sold.

MG SV: back from the dead

The founder of MG Sports and Racing Europe limited told CAR Online that he plans to expand his operation ambitiously to produce between 1500-1800 cars per year, and denies claims that his company is merely assembling partially completed SVs, that were originally readied for production in 2005.

Riley claims that his WR is rather special. ‘This is the CS version, 150kg lighter than the standard car,’ he said. A lowered compression ratio and increased supercharger boost results in nearly 600bhp. Riley intends to enter the CS in the Shelsley Walsh hill climb in May 2008.

However, according to one Longbridge insider, talk of series production is premature. The WR hasn't yet been type approved; the new owners cannot use the old documentation from the MG Rover era – and obtaining new approval is an expensive and time-consuming process.

Click 'Next' to find out why the TF project appears to be doomedAnd where does that leave plans for the TF roadster?

The production status of the WR might be questionable right now, but at least it’s out there – something that can’t be said about the reinvigorated TF roadster, first shown to the press in April 2007. Development work continues, but there are numerous obstacles holding up restarted production at Longbridge.

Early cars we've seen produced by NAC suggest the Chinese-managed TF is more tightly screwed together than those built by MG Rover – an improvement that needed to happen. The real reason for the delay appears to be squabbles over future plans for the popular roadster – NAC and SAIC disagree how it should proceed.

Many at NAC want to introduce the vehicle now, proving the company’s commitment to Longbridge, but SAIC wants to produce a new roadster from scratch. However, given that time’s slipping, and MG’s name falls further into the mists of time, action needs to take place sooner rather than later.

TF to be built in limited numbers - or not at all...

It now seems likely that the TF will be built in limited numbers - as a holding pattern until real resources can be put into MG’s relaunch with new products.

However, Midlands supplier StadCo last week announced it would no longer produce MG TF bodyshells in partnership with NAC at Longbridge. This is a significant step back in the project to relaunch the two-seater. Being the dominant partner in the relationship, SAIC could well be imposing Chinese-built bodyshells on Longbridge in lieu of future developments for the factory.

Either way, it seems like there are more questions now than there were back in 2005. The MG Rover debacle continues to rumble on...

MG Rover: game over? Or a new  beginning? Click 'Add comment' and join the debate