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MG RV8 Published: 22nd Aug 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Why should i get one?

If you like MGBs with real sting then you’ll love the RV8. Launched almost 30 years since BL finally got round to producing its own ‘Costello’ , it’s the best B of them all, not simply because the roadster at last gained V8 power (initially, BL claimed only the GT shell could take the strain!), but the RV8 was properly sorted in the suspension department. With its new found prowess, twinned with modernity, yet remaining a classic MGB where it mattered, the RV8 can be truly hailed as a replacement Big Healey, in ways where the MGC never was.


What can i get?

There’s only a singleton choice. The MG RV8 was always a limited run model and less than 2000 were made between 1992 and 1995 with a staggering 75 per cent going to Japan; only 307 were officially UK registered although many exported cars have found their way ‘back home’ sporting air conditioning. Condition is the main priority however as many are in a surprisingly poor state, surprising given the car’s fair exclusivity. Woodcote Green is the most common colour, so if you’re looking from a collectivity point of view, avoid that. Old English White remains the rarest, with only four cars built globally in that colour.


What are they like to drive?

The main problem with the MGR V8 – like any MGB really! – was caused by Austin Rover penny-pinching as usual, sadly after getting the fundamentals right. In this case, it’s the sub standard factory dampers which negates all the sophistication MG engineers incorporated in the chassis. The handling is generally very good but desperately needs better damping – speak to Clive Wheatley who has developed his own spec Spax units just right for the job. Power-assisted steering was never available when the car was new, but it can now be retrospectively fitted. Wheatley also supplies and fits an electric EZ system for just over £2000 and he rates it highly. There’s something Morgan-like about the RV8 insofar that although the design has been modernised to cater for a new buying base, it can’t escape its past either. The cockpit is plush yet old in feel and wind noise remains considerable, but the 3.9-litre 190bhp fuel-injected Rover V8 suits the car superbly well and is more than fast enough to have fun, yet a proper five-speed gearbox rather than overdrive also allows for fair economy when touring.


What are they like to live with?

The RV8 is cared for by the V8 Register who supply an exhaustive amount of technical information and support for these cars, including a fat 60 page buying guide. Specialists abound and can supply all the parts and tuning/customising add-ons you need. Thankfully, as the Heritage bodyshells were electrophoretically dipped when new, they don’t rot like anything as badly as old MGBs, save for the windscreen surround.



A modern antique that gives you the best of both worlds and prices are only around 25 per cent dearer than a normal MGB yet considerably cheaper than an MGC.

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