Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

MGF: End Of Term Report

Published: 28th Mar 2013 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

MGF: End Of Term Report
Magazine Subscription
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

After almost four years of all seasons motoring, Alan Anderson bids our MG farewell

DEAR JOEL, Thanks for the e-mail informing us that your father is now the new owner of our MGF project car. You wanted to know what we did to the car, so read it and weep as they say!

After running an MGB previously as well as a Fiat X1/9 and a TR7, T921 RPH was purchased as another Classic Cars For Sale project sports car nearly four years ago. To make the exercise interesting, we bought one as a normal tyre-kicking punter would do, straight off a typical forecourt, to see if MGF durability was a bad as it was claimed.

We spied ‘our’ car at a local reputed dealer in Essex. This 89,000 mile, plain 1.8i had just a handful of past owners (a good sign on an MGF), a bill for a replacement head gasket and a fresh MoT. So after a quick blast round the block with the hood down and radio volume up (as normal buyers would do…) it was bought ‘as seen’ with no warranty for £1500 – £900 less than the screen price!

So far, so good. After the weekend wash and scrub the 1999 car looked good – but was it? Our first port of call was to leading MG specialists Brown & Gammons of Hertfordshire who ran its professional and expert rule over our buy. More by luck than judgement it was judged to be a pretty fair example of an old MGF although the usual MGF faults were there; coolant pipes fit to burst, all four wheels pointing in different directions, wrong tyres fitted (three different makes of them!) and oh, the Hydragas suspension was running on air.

B&G reset the suspension and geometry and transformed the journey home… The brakes were okay but in need of new discs which we obtained from David Manners along with EBC Green Stuff pads. It’s a worthwhile upgrade; the brake pads aren’t competition spec so are okay for normal road use plus give a bit more feel although I’ve always felt the middle pedal needs a real shove to get the fronts to lock up. Other MGF specialists who have looked at our car say its normal. What also is normal is the woeful handbrake performance caused by ailing rear callipers – the offside one in our case. A new calliper is needed but are fairly dear to buy; somewhat shamefully I lapsed into the habit of stripping it and freeing the workings with WD40 and a crowbar just before each MoT-time! Of course this ploy doesn’t last long before you have to rely on leaving the car in gear for safety’s sake.

To complement the standard and good 185/55 Falken tyres fitted up front I simply wished to fit the stock 205/50s on the stern and ditch the horrid odd Continental/ Goodyear mix the car had been rolling on ever since it was purchased. Sadly Falken’s UK distributors, Micheldever Tyres, was far more on the ball than us and refused to sell the me new replacements at any price and even advised me to take its wares off!
Full marks for professionalism as a lot of owners and tyre outlets are unaware that only certain tyres are recommended – and would have done anything for a sale?

In all probabilities, those Falkens were fitted in good faith and we reckon there’s an awful lot of modern performance cars, like MGFs, running around on perfectly good tyres that are wholly unsuited for them.
The MGF is one of the most sensitive modern classics around when it comes to tyre choice claims Gammons who adds that he doesn’t know of another car – and certainly any other MG – quite like it. This is a man who not only specialises in all things wearing the Octagon badge but races them, remember. Gammons prefers Toyo T15 Proxes which apart from anything else represent good value at around £75 a go although he does state that Yokohamas perform slightly better in the wet. Having been spooked by the poor wet road grip of
Koni adjustable dampers improved the handling no end our mish-mash of tyres, we decided to go for the Yokos and the company’s new S-Drive A501 to play it safe. We remain completely happy with that choice after some 15,000 hard miles on road and track. To say that the difference in our MGF’s handling and security is like chalk and cheese is an understatement (checked the ones on your classic lately? ed)

It just goes to prove how much a transformation can be brought by simply bringing an old car back up to ‘as new’ spec and this point was bought further home after a thorough service care of British Legends of Essex. Steve Tyler is an ex-main dealer technician so knows MGFs inside out. He found several points wrong with our car, not least a timing belt tensioner which was fitted the wrong way round! The only other replacement was a stainless steel exhaust, although the flexi pipe fitted to the manifold started to blow after disturbing it.
Just before the car was sold the left hand rear hub started to wear causing ‘rear steer’ – it’s a Metro item, see… For various reasons, the car was sold to make way for something new and now it’s part of your family to enjoy!


Well… I didn’t hate it! Given the MGF’s reputation I was always half-expecting ours to breakdown and yet it never failed to start or make it home. The only worry came a couple years back when, strangely in the space of three days, it initially ran on three cylinders for a few seconds and the electric power steering (something I’ve never liked the feel of) momentarily packed up; both self-corrected themselves!

But that interior, civilised as 1990s sports cars go but it doesn’t wear well and despite careful trim re-fitting, creaks and rattles plus things dropping off – all quirks your average MX-5 owner wouldn’t tolerate – remained.

But aren’t MGFs cheap! I know what you paid for it and that the vendor (Chisbon Restorations of Essex) did a lot of the work I never got around to. And you can’t argue about a sports car that’s as quick as a TR6 yet can still return almost 40mpg on a run can you – and all for less than a couple of grand? I hope you look after the old thing. Too many MGFs are being scrapped for no good reason and they deserve a better fate than this, including your dad’s one, Joel.

Share This Article

Share with Facebook Share with Facebook

Share with Twitter Tweet this article

Share bookmark with Delicious Share bookmark with Delicious

Share with Digg Digg this article

Share with Email Share by email

User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Subscribe Today
Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%

Britians top classic cars bookazine