With over half a million cars sold world-wide the MGB must surely be the most successful British sports car ever made. The B was no slouch and it handled nicely, it was robustly made, it came at an affordable price and was quite simply very good at its job. Despite being out of production for 37 years MGBs are one of the most popular classic sports cars and still very much in evidence on the road today.
This final evolution of the MGB came on to the market in 1992 and inevitably comparisons will be made with the original car but although it looks like a straightforward development of its predecessor the R V8 actually retains only a small percentage of original MGB components. I understand that the vast majority of parts are either new or developed from other Rover products – see www.mgrv8.com/story.php for the full story.
When you inspect and drive the car, apart from the subtle restyling of the wings to accommodate the wider wheels, the resculpturing of the car’s front and rear plus the smart metallic paint and the luxurious interior, the most obvious difference is in the car’s performance. The understressed (and surprisingly quiet) 190 bhp 3.95 litre fuel injected Rover V8 moves this car from rest to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and will drive you on to 135 mph – of course there are cars which can go a lot faster but very high top speeds are not much use on the open road and what you get with the R V8 is exhilarating performance up to the legal limits and very relaxed cruising thereafter.
When the car was launched it had a price tag of £26,000 which was a lot of money at the time and the British car buyers simply did not rush to buy it. However an R V8 was exhibited at the 1993 Tokyo Motor Show and 1,300 orders were taken at and soon after the event - in fact over 75% of the 2,000 R V8s made went to Japan with a small number going to Europe – for the record the last example was produced in November 1995.
This particular car appears to have gone to Japan from the factory in 1994 and was subsequently repatriated and registered in the UK in September 2015. There is a record of a comprehensive pre delivery inspection which was carried out in the UK in January 2016 and it has a July 2016 MoT certificate. The file contains a series of records of what appear to be Japanese service inspections which are fortunately illustrated with graphics showing what has been attended to. The file also includes an English MG RV8 owner’s handbook. Although the speedometer tells you both MPH and KPH, the odometer is calibrated in kilometres and it shows that the car has covered just over 34,000 km since it was new. This converts to 21,500 miles so it has averaged just over 900 miles a year which no doubt accounts for its really good condition throughout.
So, if you would like to own a very rare car which combines classic British looks with very rapid acceleration and high levels of comfort made by a world renowned manufacturer perhaps you should come and have a look at the R V8 – I don’t think you will be disappointed. It will make a very fine long distance tourer and it also has the power to scorch you down the road should you feel so inclined!