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Australian MG RV8's

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Australian MG RV8's


Initially the MG RV8 was thought to be a Home Market Car and only to be sold in the UK.

However the final cost 26,500 British Pounds Sterling and delivery times caused problems and this resulted in disappointing sales. Rover was then forced to explore possible overseas markets.

Australia was one of the possible countries and a single British Racing Green MG RV8 VIN 900022 was dispatched to Rover Australia and this Car was shown at the 1993 Sydney Motor Show. The car was also used for testing and suitability to Australian conditions. This car was then sent to New Zealand for evaluation. BRG 900022 still resides there in regular use and now owned by Grant Harsenhorst.

At around the same time the MG RV8 made an appearance at the Tokyo Motor Show and received ‘Star Status’ and Rover Japan was flooded with orders.

Thus in the final analysis the huge take up in Japan and the high price of the MG RV8, exports to Australia were abandoned.

In 1999 RV8 Cars Australia in NSW and MG Imports in Queensland began importing and complying Ex Japanese RV8’s into Australia and currently Australian has 268 MGRV8’s on Australian roads.

*( Disclaimer some of the above information was gained from David Knowles brilliant book MG V8 )



All motor vehicles (less than 25 years old) imported into Australia must comply with the standards set down by the Federal Office of Road Safety (FORS). In 2004 these Design Rules were again updated to include all the present standards which must be met by each imported vehicle prior to registration and use on Australian roads.

The new legislation arrangements included the introduction of a Specialist & Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme (SEVS) to determine the eligibility of vehicles for importation and replaced the (bulk) old type approvals under the Australian Design Rules (ADR) with a vehicle by vehicle compliance approval by Registered Automotive Workshops.

This new legislation now requires each type of vehicle to be crash tested (all imported vehicles less than 15 years old) to meet the new requirements.

Under the new scheme only RAWS approved workshops will be able to comply vehicles to the Australian Design Rules.

The modifications required on Australian Imported RV8's are : Seatbelts: (new approved seatbelts must be fitted) Mirrors: (concave lenses removed and replaced with true imaging flat ones) Speedo: (fit a new 6 barrel odometer to show correct kilometres travelled or have the old speedo altered to include a six barrel odometer. All speedo alterations must show original kilometres travelled). Catalytic Converters: (new converters must be fitted). Tyres: (new tyres must be fitted). Badging: (all appropriate information ie. tyre pressures etc must be in English). Electrical wiring: (dashboard, instrument light control dimmer switch, wipers variable speed and radio retuned to accept Australian stations etc.) Intrusion Bars: (must be fitted to both doors). High Rise Stop Light: (must be fitted, which is mounted on the RV8 boot lid). Owners Handbook: (in English). Numerous other small items have also to be attended to.

N.B. As RV8's now arriving in Australia are more than 25 years old the above requirements no longer apply.

Click on Images to enlarge....

Early methods of fitting intrusion bars to Australian RV8 Doors.
(All methods were engineered designed and passed by F.O.R.S.)

First Method: 

Steel Intrusion Bars are bolted into place using 8 bolts
( See Allen Head Bolts in Picture ).

Second Method:

Steel Intrusion Rod is passed through the door.
( See special shaped nut locking rod into place ).

Third and last Method:

Steel intrusion bars are bolted into place using 6 special securing nuts which are recessed into a metal plate located on the inner edge of the door. There is also an additional lug which slides into a bracket mounted on the door jam.

Following the introduction of the new RAWS Scheme (effective from May 2003) the most significant change/upgrade was Australian Design Rule 29 (ADR29) concerning Side Impact Intrusion Bars.
The Newly designed intrusion bar worked well and was able to pass the test.
The following pictures show an RV8 undergoing Side Intrusion Bar Testing.

Pictures courtsey of Stuart Radcliff (Owner & Operator of RV8 Cars Australia)

Original Speedo now showing new 6 barrel 
Odometer, which will now show the correct milage
(Unaltered speedo would zero after  99999kms)
High Rise Stop Light:

This addition has been  beautifully executed and most
people do not realise it has been added.

Australian Compliance Plate
Australian emissions information
Tyre pressures


Once these modifications have been completed the vehicle is then inspected by a Certified and Registered Professional Engineer who will upon passing the vehicle issue a signed certificate, certifying the vehicle now complies with all the Australian Design Rules.

The Engineers Certificate is then sent to FORS & the Department of Transport &  Regional Development. Upon receipt a Green Compliance Plate is issued bearing the vehicles approval number and all other relevant information. The plate is then affixed in the engine bay.

The vehicle is now ready for the Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) to inspect prior to registration. This inspection is carried out at an RMS Inspection Station or at a special Vehicle Registration Inspection Station authorised to issue Blue Slips. This inspection is extensive even requiring the vehicle to be weighed.

Upon receipt of the Blue Slip the car is now certified fit for registration on public roads.

The owner now has to present all relevant documents to RMS, which include:
* Application for registration
* Current Blue Slip
* Current Green Slip (3rd Party Insurance)
* Vehicle Import Approval Certificate
* Engineers Certificate
* Purchase Invoice or Receipt stating the full purchase price. (required for stamp duty & proof of ownership)

The RMS will then processes all the paperwork comparing it with their records for each particular type of  vehicle.

Finally should everything prove satisfactory the owner is then requested to make the appropriate payment. (in my case $2638 covering Registration, Stamp Duty and Number Plate purchase).

Comprehensive Vehicle Insurance and Green Slip 3rd Party Insurance was an additional $1060 & $404 respectively.

Australian RV8's

Through my website I have compiled for the MG Car Club a list of 258 MGRV8's which have been Imported into Australia. (All are Ex-Japanese Cars).

The vast majority of these vehicles have been imported by RV8 Cars in New South Wales. RV8 Cars are fully authorised to carry out the necessary modifications for registration on Australian roads.

RV8 CARS were the first Australian Importers, as such they had to meet and satisfy all the legal requirements concerning the Low Volume Imports Scheme which covers the importing of all second hand vehicles into Australia.
All Low Volume Imports are governed by the Department of Transport & Regional Services (DOTARS) a Federal Government Department. Under this department is (RAWS) the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme section, who inturn control and administer the Low Volume Imports Scheme of Specialist & Enthusiast Vehicles.

The initial testing of the RV8 was extensive and involved specialised equipment. The Ford Motor Company of Australia had the necessary equipment and the tests were carried out by them.
The RV8 performed well and passed without any problems.

Pictures courtesy of Stuart Ratcliff (owner & operator) of RV8 Cars Australia now known as MG Centre of Sydney.

Test Facilities at the Ford Motor Company of Australia ( Victoria )

MG Centre of Sydney
Unit 26/20 Tucks Road Seven Hills 2147
Phone 02 9674 3926
E-Mail [email protected]

NB. RV8 Cars also provide a Compliance Service for private imports.


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