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MG RV8 Published: 16th May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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If you like MGBs with real sting then you’ll love the RV8 There little argument that it’s the best V8-powered MGB and the car it should have been 20 years previously. A rapid yet quite refined limited run roadster, cleverly combining classic and modern, it’s virtually a from ground up re-engineered MGB and yet – strangely – remains the cheapest of all big-engined Bs.


With almost 200bhp from now 3.9-litres (and 60bhp to the good of the old BGT V8) despite much higher gearing used (29mph per thousand in fifth) than before, the RV8 can keep station with a TVR Chimaera which shares the same engine which is saying something as it means E-type eating pace, although the RV8 is better suited to cultured cruising.

This is because, despite being cleverly modernised, RV8s still feel like old MGBs in the main, due to the fact it’s an improved ’60’s car rather than a 1990’s one. That said, for many, this is all part of the essential charm of the RV8. Improvements, such as better dampers (the standard ones are pretty rubbish) and perhaps a power-assisted steering kit, retrospectively fitted, makes this modernised MGB even better.

Despite excessive wind noise (an MGB trait) RV8s make comfy, tourers thanks to its Bentley-lke wood and leather clad cockpit.


Prices pretty much on par with MGBs and comfortably below those of the MGC and BGT V8 (beats us why too-ed) which means £20,000 for the best and some £15,000 for an average-to-good example; Japan repatriations are valued around £1000 less despite standard air con because their condition can be somewhat wispy. Ditto beware of shabby cars for under ten grand as they can be a money pit to bring back into line.


1992 Project Adder is based upon British Motor Heritages’s new shells as a limited run stop gap special, before MGF came along; 1982 cars made

1993 First car rolled off the production line on March 31 1993 and carried chassis number 251, in memory of the Abgindon factory’s telephone number! Although it looked MGB-like, the car was virtually new, not least the running gear and a suspension which finally sported telescopic dampers. Add a 3.9-litre Rover V8, tuned by TVR, allied to a five-speed gearbox and limited slip differential plus a luxury interior it was just what a modern Big Healey should be like

1995 Production ends. The vast majority were Woodcote (1269). Good old BRG only found 205 takers. Oxford Blue accounts for 258 cars, ‘White gold’ 12, Nightfire Red 150 and Flame Red 16. Rarest is Old English White; just four were so painted so watch for crafty repaints to bump up values

Top five faults


These cars don’t rust like old MGBs as the shells were electrophoretically dipped after the metal had already been zinc-coated, and this has proved to be very effective


There’s one area that rots, the screen surround, made of steel box sections that you need to look out for. If windscreen rubbers lift, it indicates rot underneath. Sometimes repairs are possible; if not, you’ll need a new one but specialists market superior alternatives


Check for blown exhaust manifold gaskets. There are four fitted across the exhaust ports (they’re in pairs). RV8 specialist Clive Wheatley sells better replacements. Lack of oil changes gums up camshaft and tappets

Running gear

Initially, Land Rover’s LT77 was used, and from commission number 641 the later R380 went in. Earlier ’boxes are more durable, later type suffers from worn synchromesh. Sherpa van based LSD can be noisy. Original Koni dampers weren’t up to the job


Can look shabby quickly but replacement parts are available

Best models


Good choice but condition varies and if you’re keen on originality bear in mind that certain parts, like OE alloy wheels, are no longer available new


Almost 1600 went to Japan and around a tenth have come home; benefits include lower mileages and standard fitment of air con although many cars are shabby


Red, green and blue hold most sway and value. Woodcote Green the most popular, Old English White the rarest, only four cars built globally in that hue

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