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Few auto brands conjure memories of the classic two-seater sports cars from the ’50s and the swinging 60s like MG. The British carmaker began as Morris Garages and gave us both the MG and the Morris motor that produced the famous Morris Minor and the Mini. While MG remains a minor player in the UK market, their story can be considered a success for several reasons.
In retrospect, MG is far less mighty than it was in its heydays, when they produced truly legendary cars. But they seem to be slowly driving themselves back to the big time, having rejuvenated with their B-segment SUV that saw strong sales to become the fastest-rising car brand in the UK. While we enjoy the reinvention of one of Britain’s most beloved brands, let us dive in and reminisce on some of the coolest MG sports cars of all time.
10 MG TA
The MG TA proved a game-changer for the British brand from 1936 to 1939. It ushered in the legendary T-series cars that would span five generations. The vehicle was among the first to open up sports car ownership to a wider market. Powering the TA was a robust 1.3-liter pushrod four-cylinder Morris engine with twin SU carburetors that powered many other Morris and Wolseley cars.
The car delivered pre-world war thrill and was good for a 80mph top speed. It came with a folding convertible top, leather bucket seats, wire wheels, a long louvered hood, and several gauges.
9 MG ZS EV
There wasn’t a better approach by MG to reinvent themselves as a relevant modern automaker than with this all-electric crossover. While it is designed and built in China, it has the same underpinnings as the Roewe RX3 crossover and is quite a formidable car despite its background. The latest 2022 model is a refreshed car and a huge step forward for MG. it features bigger batteries, an upgraded user interface, and much sharper looks.
On a full charge, the EV is good for 198 miles on the standard model and a 273 miles range from the Long Range trim. Also, it comes with fast charging, which MG claims can charge from 10 to 80% in 38 minutes. This vehicle is a good, affordable option to other European EVs with heftier price tags.
8 MG RV8
It is 1989, and the first MX-5 hits the market. MG has not produced a sports car since they stopped making the MGB in 1980. So, what do they do? They took a sixties MGB and upgraded it to 90s standards. It came with a 3.9-liter Rover V8 engine, rear-wheel drive, five-speed transmission, and limited-slip differential. The resulting car wasn’t really a direct Miata competitor, but more of a TVR alternative.
While the initial reception was cold, seeing it was largely old-fashioned and expensive, today it is a formidable MG classic to own.
7 1985 MG Metro 6R4
MG built 205 examples of the MG Metro 6R4 to qualify for the famous group B international rally as a homologation car. It went head-to-head with the Audi Quattro Sport, Ford RS 200, Peugeot 205 T16, and Lancia Delta S4. All these used turbocharged engines, but the Metro 6R4 went a different direction with a large displacement naturally aspirated V6 engine, with the intentions of going round the many shortcomings of the turbos of the time.
However, using a non-turbo engine made the car lose the competitive edge, and although it didn’t win championships, it was a quick and desirable car.
We already mentioned the MG RV8 as MG’s earliest answer to the Miata, but the true competitor to the Japanese sports car was the MGF and its MG TF sibling. The MGF was mechanically ahead of its time, and for a tangible spell during its run, it outsold the MX-5. It featured a mid-engine layout instead of the front-engine rear-wheel-drive format in the Miata. Other advanced goodies included an electrically assisted steering that was at its early stages at the time and a Hydragas suspension.
In 2000, MG replaced the MGF with the MG TF with several upgrades, including more conventional coil springs and dampers, resulting in a more secure handling feel. This car received rave reviews, with Autocar claiming it was the best MG car since the Second World War.
5 2004 MG SV And SV-R
MG’s finances were in the mud when they started building the SV and SV-R halo cars. Many argued it was a project the company could have avoided. However, both cars gained much love from enthusiasts and are considered icons in MG’s all-time lineup. It features a full carbon fiber body built on an Italian-sourced chassis. Under the hood is a 4.6-liter V8 motor borrowed from the Ford Mustang.
Although the long gearing made the SV feel sluggish, it quickly sprinted from a stop to 60mph in 4.9 seconds. Also, the relatively low cabin noise made it a great cruiser.
4 MG MG3
The MG3 was among the first MG cars to sell under the new management. It currently comes in a low-cost sporty styling and is one of the best-value superminis you can buy today. It is a good throwback to when MG offered fun, sporty cars that anyone could afford.
The first generation of the MG3 was practically a rebadged Rover Streetwise. It came with a peppy 105hp engine, a wide range of cosmetic personalization, and attractive sticker prices that attracted younger buyers.
3 MG MGA
By the beginning of the 50s, MG was desperate to find a new shape for its sports cars range. The T-series was aging, and it could easily blend in with the 30s open-fender cars with its shape. The release of the beautiful MGA in 1955 helped MG catch up with the streamlined ponton styling adopted by rivals.
A long-slung chassis and well-crafted interiors make this roadster one of MG’s coolest cars ever made. Today, the MGA offers an exotic and fun alternative to the rare Healey Hundred.
2 1948 MG TC
The MG TC was so successful throughout its four-year run after the war that it sold over 10,000 examples as a “stop gap” in a market lacking options. While the car came with an outdated appearance and mechanical underpinnings, it found a ready market. Its popularity might have benefited from a lack of post-war options or its familiarity with pre-war days.
However, what makes the MG TC a great car is its potential to customize, with plenty of aftermarket racks, removable windshield, and its open-top nature. Its curves also inspired a generation of designs by other brands.
1 1965 MG MGB
If you had to choose a superstar from the long lineup of MG cars, then it ought to be the MGB. This is the car that comes to mind when MG comes up in a conversation. It was once the most popular sports car globally, with over half a million units sold between 1962 and 1980. A 1.8-liter engine was only good for 95hp, but it was enough to propel it past 100mph, which was a big deal back in the 60s.
The MGB was a simple, practical, and reliable sports car. Today, there is strong support for parts thanks to the huge number of copies brought to life, which makes it a great choice for a classic car that you can actually drive often.
The Brits are known to build some legendary sports cars, at least up until the early 2000s. These are the best they had during the 1990s.
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