Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline June 2012

Tales of the Mongrel
By Ralph Arata
Could that be an MG?

My barber, Terry, has a 1979 MG Midget which he bought new and has maintained in excellent condition. His partner, Scott, has a history of English from MG to Triumph to Sunbeam. Terry is a member of the Chicagoland MG Owners Club in good standing.

When I am there we always talk about his car and whatís happening with the club. Scott always also participates.

Last time there Scott handed me the attached article about a Chinese company preparing to build the ďAsianĒ version of the MG. I had some trouble with the picture and after seeing the car from others finally think it looks kind of like a funky modern Mini Cooper. Well, the new Mini Cooper is little like its predecessor not is the Chinese MG. I have to say that from what I have seen so far its looks weird, nothing like a English roadster and frankly I donít like it at all!!

What do you think? I hope the article is readable as it does give some information. Could that possibly be an MG??


Once, a long time ago, I owned a red 1960 MGA Series II, a tiny, scroll-fendered roadster built in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England. It was a soulful and lovely death trap and I still miss her.
As one of thousands of Americans who imprinted on MGs, I am a little discomfited by the company's fate. In 2005, MG Rover Group sold the MG name to the Chinese car maker Nanjing, which in 2007 merged with Shanghai Automotive, also known as SAIC.
SAIC also builds Roewe, which is the crudely renamed shadow of the British Marque Rover. Roewe cars are manufactured in China as knock-down kits, then shipped to England, where they are assembled in the old MG Rover Longbridge factory.
In markets outside of China, Roewes are re-badged as MGs.
Here in Beijing, SAIC showed off its

first MG-specific design, the Icon crossover concept. It stopped me in my tracks. The hand of MG's dear old designer Syd Enever could be seen in the Icon's canted oval headlamps, the narrow rectangular grill, the small vertical tail lamps and the rear fender haunches.

"This is our vision for British global driving heritage,"said the design chief Anthony Williams-Kenny. "We wanted it be progressive and dynamic."
What psychic rewards could the MG brand offer young Chinese consumers??...They are very discerning," said Mr. Williams-Kenny. "They understand brand, they understand the internet."


For me and doubtless more decorated veterans of the spanner, MGs reboot as an upscale imprint of some dull Chinese car company, well, it's hard. And yet I marvel that in 2012, 8,000 miles and a couple of world orders away from the old Morris Garages, there is still an MG, and Abingdon is still hallowed ground.
You lads carry on. --Dan Neil

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