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MG RV8 Story

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MG RV8 Story

( 1993 Tokyo Motor Show | David Knowles | RV8's on the Docks)

As part of the task of reviving the MG sports car, Rover commissioned and carried out an extensive study into the public perception concerning the MG name and image. From this investigation it was obvious the octagonal logo still had considerable public appeal.

Following this research Rover had 3 main aims in reintroducing the MG name, to keep the MG name alive, to do something as a precursor to an all new MG sports car and to remind the public the MGB had been the best selling sports car of all time.
Rover then put together a team of specialists to look at rebirthing the MG sports car and placing the MG name back before the public.

 Enter Project Adder:

Rovers management had been impressed by the proposal to update the MGB with a modern Rover V8 engine and with the huge success of British Motor Heritage parts body shell venture all the necessary ingredients seemed to be present. The project was aimed at potential MG customers who fell into two distinct camps, the traditionalists and the modernists and the Adder Project was squarely aimed at bridging or uniting these groups.

When the project was eventually given the green light Rover imposed very tight budget restraints of about 5 million pounds.

Work started with a new BMH body shell and over this clay was carefully layed and sculptured to eventually produce a full size model. This model underwent several changes and variations until the final design was chosen.

The MGRV8 was designed from the outset to take advantage of as much existing MGB Hardware as possible, yet the finished product was to contain only 5% original components. The vast majority of parts, including engine, drive train, electrical system, body and trim are all either totally new or adapted from other Rover products.

Early RV8 bodies were of course crash-tested and it was found that the shells remained supremely strong. Therefore alterations required during development were minimal, but even so it was necessary to add a few holes in order to help with anti-corrosion treatment. The end result being a far better body shell than the original MGB's which was proven in both front and rear impact tests.

The RV8 also has a number of hand pressed panels made by Abbey Panels, whose other customers include Rolls Royce and Jaguar. These panels are produced to a very high quality being near perfect  and ready for painting.

The MGRV8 was finally released for public viewing in October 1992 and went on sale several months later. The demand in the United Kingdom was never as strong as it had been hoped, the price of Twenty Six Thousand British Pounds a major drawback. However in October 1993 "Rover Japan" displayed the RV8 at the Tokyo Motor Show and the reception was that of "Star Status" with some 1300 orders having been secured soon after the show. Of the 2000 RV8’s produced over 75% found their way to Japan. A small number were also exported to mainland Europe. The final car was produced on the 22 November 1995.


This show was the turning point for the new MGR V8 and Rover Japan was flooded with hundreds of orders. The Woodcote Green RV8 looked stunning under the lighting and the MGRV8 became the Star of the Motor Show.
In fact the Woodcote Green Car looked so good that customers were heard saying “I’ll have that colour over and over again” which is testament to the huge choice of this colour.

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RV8's on the Docks

MGRV8’s on the docks awaiting export to Japan (note red protective hood covers).
MGRV8’s aboard and lashed down for their vouge to Japan.

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David Knowles

David Knowles

Is a celebrated and brilliant motoring author. He is an acknowledged expert on MG’s and has been researching and writing on the marque for over 25 years. David’s books are exceptionally accurate and highlight his research and engineering background.
His books covering the RV8, The Untold story, Twenty–One Years On & MG V8 are a must for any MGRV8 Enthusiast.

Disclaimer:- Some of this information was gathered from David Knowles Brilliant Publications

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