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Extract from December's MGCC publication - Safety Fast


A `Limited Edition' MGF sports car - the MGF Abingdon - is to be built exclusively for the UK. Not a `regular' limited edition, but a modern rendition of classic M.G. sports cars of the past, with production commencing in the 1998 spring season. MGF sales are still running at record levels with a twenty week waiting list in the UK market.

The MGF Abingdon is limited to 500 units, 150 available with the K-S 1.8i and 350 with the 1.8i VVC (Variable Valve Control) engine. The 1.8i includes EPAS (electronic power-assisted steering) and the option of brakes.

The new Limited Edition promotes Britishness and luxury throughout its interior and exterior executions, exemplified by its Brooklands Green paintwork and leather upholstery.

The spirit of M.G. is further encapsulated in the chrome detailing and the application of leather, cures of luxury M.G.s of the past.

On the exterior, the Brooklands Green paint is carefuly co-ordinated with a beige hood, and new style 16" alloy wheels are fitted with 215/40ZR tyres. Chromed door handles and chromed grille and side air intakes complete the detailing.

The unique walnut leather interior has been specially developed for this limited edition and comprises a combined set of features currently not available on MGF, even as factory fitted options; Walnut leather for seats, head restraints, steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake gaiters; a black leather handbrake grip with chromed release button, a wood/alloy gear knob shaped to reflect the characteristics fuel filter the personifies the MGF and wood grain finishers around the console and facia vents. The interior trim in completed with a chromed ashtray.
Deliveries will commence from March 1998 and prices will be available later in 1997.


Regular readers of these Press Releases will recall that there was a rumoured M.G. connection to the new baby Land Rover; now the story can be told. The connection is none other than senior designer Gerry McGovern. who as everyone must surely know was the man responsible for the appearance of the MGF. Gerry has masterminded the Freelander - aimed at a not greatly dissimilar customer base to that for the MGF (style-conscious thirty- somethings) - with the professionalism we have come to expect. Launched in Land Rover's fiftieth year, the Freelander is breaking new ground for the marque, and its success is crucial to the company.

Reaction to date has been universally favourable, and with a return to the US market a strong possibility (with a 2.5 KV6 automatic transmission version) great things are expected of the new range. If indeed this happens, we would see the necessary servicing logistics in the US to deal with the KV6 engine, and with the addition of the Rover 600/800 replacement, there will be a springboard for other vehicles to use this exciting engine.

It will be interesting to see what Gerry and his talented team can produce out of the hat in the next two or three years, when we might well see other products with an American angle.


Undoubted star turn on the eve of the Frankfurt show was the forthcoming new Mini, which made a surprise debut in front of about 700 invited journalists at a packed studio. The new Mini was driven on stage, and photographed by the assembled throng - a further surprise to those present, who had not expected to see the car so clearly or to be able to photograph it for themselves.
The fact that the car was shown at all (just two official photos were issued just ahead of the show) was in itself something of a surprise, although the running prototype scuttled back under cover after its brief foray into the limelight, regular show visitors not being treated to the same spectacle as the journalists.

What are we to make of this car, not due to be on sale until 2000 (a public launch at the 2000 Geneva Motor show looks a likely bet)? With engineering by a Rover/BMW team, styling by Rover (with BMW input) and an all-new engine courtesy of Chrysler, the new Mini is certainly a clear break with the Honda era - as will be the new large Rover 600/800 replacement due to arrive 18 months before the Mini.

The car shown at Frankfurt was the "Mini Cooper" version - one of a family of three derivatives intended to share the same basic bodyshell. It is a poorly kept secret that BMW and Rover see the new Mini as a "family" of cars - so perhaps the one we have seen is simply the "sporty" version which, like the new VW "Beetle", is most reminiscent of its forebear. My guess is that we can expect to see an exciting range of derivatives - a MiniVAN, MiniPICKUP, MiniMPV and a MiniSPYDER all seem likely prospects.

The interesting question is whether the Mini Spyder would retain the Mini brand or become a new M.G. Midget. With a replacement for the MGF also due within a few years, the new millennium promises to be an interesting time for the M.G. badge.


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