Project EXF

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Extract from October's MGCC publication - Safety Fast

Project EXF - 217 mph in an MGF!

Project EXF - 217 mph in an MGF! A specially prepared MGF sports car has been driven at 217 mph during the Speedweek festivities in Bonneville, Utah, USA. On Wednesday 20th August the MGF achieved a maximum of 217.400 mph. Forty years ago, in August 1957, Stirling Moss achieved an historic international Land Speed class F (1100-1500cc) record in the streamlined MG EX181 at the same venue.

A team of enthusiastic engineers from Rover Group's Gaydon Design and Engineering Centre have been working in their own time on the latest project, with the support of Nick Stephenson, Group Design and Engineering Director. The project was code-named 'Project EXF', in homage to the classic M.G. record breakers of the past. The objective of the project, initiated in May, was to see just how fast an MGF could be driven on the basis that it retained largely standard components. With a target speed of 200 mph, the achievement of 217.4 mph is nearly 100 mph faster that the 120 mph production car.
The M.G. was driven by Terry Kilbourne, a technician from a Californian Land Rover dealer, chosen as he held the necessary SCTA competitions licence, and had already driven other machinery at Bonneville, up to 226mph. The earlier land speed record M.G.s were very definitely works supported, one-off specials with tear-drop body styles of minimal frontal area; this MGF differs from the standard production car only as necessary to reduce the coefficient of drag to less than 0.25. This was achieved by the addition of a 'longtail' - a 400 mm tapered tail extension, retaining the same design cues as MGF - and removal of the windscreen and door mirrors. A flat-deck tonneau was added along with a roll-cage within a 'tear-drop' canopy providing protection for the driver's head.

The F from the side and showing the livery, cockpit capsule and roll bar, and two small stabilising fins on the back.
A 1.4 litre version of the MGF1.8 litre k-Series engine was selected, as its lower compression ratio is better suited to turbocharging. The fuel used was super-unleaded petrol. The K Series, which has always exhibited high specific power-per-litre, produced 333.6Ps (329 bhp) @ 7000rpm (230 Ps-per-litre) and 336 Nm (247.8lb ft) torque.
Nick Stephenson, Group Design & Engineering Director for Rover Group said: "Project EXF is the culmination of a passion within the company to see M.G. return to Bonneville - a 'back-to-the-future' adventure. It is terrific to see the pent-up enthusiasm within our talented design and engineering team resulting in an achievement so true to the spirit of the M.G,,
"It is fitting that they should be rewarded with the knowledge that they have produced the fastest MG ever. My colleagues on the Rover Group Board gave the project their blessing in June and we are delighted to see the team exceed their target of 200mph in such a short period of time.
They cannot wait to return to the salt next year with their sights firmly set on the records of Stirling Moss and Phil Hill."
A'lightning' stripe on the EXF Brooklands green paintwork is an interpretation of the MG EXF135 driven by "Goldie" Gardner. The MG EXF carries a Union Jack on both doors with a large white M.G. octagon on the leading edge of the bonnet - another characteristic of M.G speed cars of the past. The team is grateful to Mobil One who provided fuel and lubricants for the MG EXF in Bonneville.
Some of you may have been lucky to have seen this car during September, as it was displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show between the 9th and 21st, and the 2nd birthday party for the MGF at Croydon on Sept. 27th. The Daily Telegraph motoring supplement of August 30th caught the story as it broke and if you saw that you will know all this.
40 years ago Stirling Moss had flown in from the Pescara Grand Prix, which he'd won, to step into EX 181. Phil Hill would have interrupted his Grand Prix calendar as well. Can you imagine Damon Hill etc doing that now, and what a pity they can't.

There were 43 international class records established by M.G between 1930 and 1959. The record held by Major "Goldie" Gardner in 1939 stood unbeaten for eighteen years:
Date Driver Record Speed Car cc class
2 June'39
1087cc - the first 1100cc car to exceed 200 mph Supercharged 6 cylinder MG Magnette k3 engine
Major "Goldie" Gardner 204.20mph
328.62 km/h
Experimental project
23 Aug'57
1489cc producing c290 bhp @ 7000 rpm Supercharged MGA Twin cam engine. running on 86% methanol laced with nitrobenzene. acetone. and sulphuric ether.
Stirling Moss 245.64mph
395.31 km/h
MG EX181
Experimental project
3 Oct'59
Increased creased to 1506cc producing over 300 bhp @ 7300 rpm Supercharged MGA Twin cam engine, running on 86% methanol laced with nitrobenzene acetone and sulphuric ether.
Stirling Moss 254.91 mph
410.23 km/h
MG EX 181
Experimental project
20 Aug'97
1433cc 333Ps (329 bhp) @ 7000 rpm Turbocharged K Series running on super unleaded petrol
Terry Kilbourne 217.400 mph
346.31 km/h
Modified production car

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