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MG RV8

MG RV8 Published: 11th Jan 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

MG RV8
MG RV8
MG RV8
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This Queen B is all that you should yearn for in an MGB and the RV8 makes a fine modern alternative to a Big Healey at half the price

There’s more to the MG RV8 than just that Rover V8 engine. It combines all that’s good about the evergreen MGB but improved where it needs to be – and there lies this roadster’s unique appeal.

As Big Healeys and Plus 8 Morgans increasingly soar in value and the majority of TVRs lack that classical touch, it’s no wonder that interest in the bespoke reborn and rapid RV8 has fairly rocketed of late. It’s the queen MGB of them all offering all that most enthusiasts want from that MG classic but with modern dynamics and conveniences.

There’s a unique pedigree that runs deeper than the new bodyshell in the RV8. The car was mainly built by the BMH concern (a subsidiary of Austin Rover then) for Rover and to a much higher standard than normal before being then hand assembled like a Rolls or Morgan but at Cowley.

Prices used to run in parallel with MGBs but now they can match BGT V8 and MGC values and this means that the bargain buys are becoming few and far between.

Dates to remember

1995

Development kicked off during the late 1980s once British Motor Heritage started to produce its own brand new bodyshells. The RV8 was designed and hand built by Austin Rover. Some 75 per cent all new, it’s claimed that only five per cent of the RV8 was carried over from the old BGT V8 with 20 per cent relying on modified and re-tooled components. Finally, with 3.9-litre TVR-tuned 190bhp power, it’s shown in late 1992, but build didn’t start until early ’93 and bowed out by ’95 after 1982 were made – the vast majority shipped off to Japan.

The majority came in green, with Woodcote the most popular (1269). Good old BRG found 205 takers. Oxford Blue accounts for 258 cars, ‘White gold’ 12, Nightfire Red 150 and Flame Red 16. The rarest is clothed in Old English White; only five were so duly painted, check for resprays simply to up their value.

Buying advice

The RV8 is well cared for by the V8 Register who supplies a comprehensive amount of technical information and support for all V8 models but RV8 specialist Clive Wheatley warns that the RV8 costs a lot more to keep sweet than an MGB or the MGC. Specialists abound supplying all the parts plus tuning/customising add-ons you need. Thankfully, as the Heritage bodies were electrophoretically dipped from new, they don’t rot like anything as badly as old MGBs, save for the front windscreen surround – better replacements are made.

As the MG is quite modern, but using tried and tested parts, all should be well – although RV8 experts say a depressingly large number languish in a sorry state – Windscreen, Wood and Wheels being the main downers. Check for blown exhaust manifold gaskets; sRV8 specialist Clive Wheatley sells superior replacements. The limited slip diff can play up while the early (Land Rover) LT77 gearbox is the most durable and also the cheapest to fix. That Bentley-like cockpit can look tatty and watch for custom cabins as originality will begin to count more as the years roll on.

What makes this classic so special to drive and own in 2019?

Enthusiasts have been tuning and tweaking MGBs – even fitting V8 engines – for decades and good for them. Yet this better late-than-never factory effort, that’s 75 per cent all new, got it mostly right, and is today’s yardstick. With almost 200bhp (and more importantly 236lbft of torque) it’s adequately quick and the revised suspension only needs a spot of further improvements (dampers) to make it worthy of this MG’s meaty performance. It’s a modern Big Healey in so many ways yet which will always be a cheaper, softer option, ensuring soaring future interest

Best buys & prices

Under 2000 were made with just 307 official UK cars; 1583 went to Japan although a fair number made it back home and benefit from air con that’s a rarely specified option on UK models. Thanks to a rapid rise in interest, the RV8 can beat GT V8 residuals and match MGC prices with £20K the minimum for a nice one – RV8 specialist Clive Wheatley recently sold a low miler for £39,000. Japan models, despite air con, are being valued a fair bit less. We can see a good R V8 becoming the Queen B.

From £10,000 target price £20,000



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