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Friday 3rd December 2010

SOTW: MG-F 1.8 VVC

It's red, it's a convertible sportscar and it's yours for £995...



The sun is shining (here at least), and the snow-covered scenery looks dazzling in the crisp morning air. What better way to enjoy it than speeding (philosophically if not literally) through the picture-postcard scenery in your convertible MG-F.

Oh all right, we can think of several better ways too, but for Shed money those ice-in-the-eyebrows moments seem limited to Britain's once most popular sportscar, riding a bicycle, and not much else. (We're not counting old Triumph Spitfires. Don't know why, we're just not...)

Not that today's SOTW needs much of an apology. In fact I've had a soft spot for the MG-F since it was launched back in 1995 - and I'm sufficiently confident of my masculinity to admit it. If you must know, I used one of the very first examples to impress a young lady on a touring holiday in Italy, so I can honestly report the MG-F has got what it takes in many of life's most important respects. Or at least it had what it took back then, and that one was painted in a rather girly purple. Happy days!


Nowadays the MG-F's reputation seems somehow to have floundered, yet back in 1995 I remember there was a palpable excitement about a new British roadster that looked pretty and drove well to boot. Dig out an old Autocar magazine from the period, and you'll see what I mean. The MG-F engaged its driver with good steering, a pliant but well-controlled Hydragas ride, and it was blessed with a revvy K-Series engine offering more than enough performance to have fun with - even though the TVR crowd might have sneered derisorily.

The car was available with 1.6 litre or 1.8 litre engines with Variable Valve Control (quite a big deal in those days), the latter offering approximately 140hp and a 0-60sec sprint around the 7sec mark.


It's a 1.8 VVC that the vendor of this week's SOTW is tempting us with and while it's a pre-1999 facelift car, being chipped from the Longbridge block in 1997, we're not going to let that deter us - especially as the car has been treated to a recent head-gasket and cambelt. (The old K-Series head gasket being one of that engine's less admirable features.)

The car is advertised with lowly mileage and an asking price of £995. And it's worth a look, surely?

Advert reads:
Superb 1.8 MGF with the high performance VVC engine. Recent head gasket ,Cambelt and pulley. Very good bodywork and interior in half leather. Superb engine and gearbox which spins cleanly to over 7200 revs. 16 Inch alloys. Fantastic fun and a good heater and hood. A real autumn giveaway.Be quick.

Chris-R
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Author Discussion

king arthur

Original Poster:

2,593 posts

148 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
This ought to be good.

Zumbruk

4,855 posts

147 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Naah, it'll just be an endless series of slaggings.

The Crack Fox

10,078 posts

79 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
OK, I'll be the first to say it - an MX-5 can be had for much less and will, in my own experience, be a much better proposition all around. The VVC might give it some go, but the rest of it is pretty unappealing...

  • runs for cover *

Stone Cold

1,103 posts

60 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
My 22 year old daughter has just passed her test and this would be sweet for her (she is quite sensible) but the insurance is 5 times the value of the car!

Daewoo Kalos it is then!

Ozii

68 posts

49 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Are these FWD or RWD?
Advertisement

KAB888T

25 posts

56 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Ozii said:
Are these FWD or RWD?
RWD mid engine, I was actually considering a shed one of these as an extra car- great timing

EDLT

14,723 posts

93 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
I'll be surprised if the roof actually is in good condition, new ones are over £500 iirc.

But as other have said, the Rover militants will be along to tell you how brilliant all things Rover were and that the K-series never suffered from head gasket failures - it was all Clarkson's fault.

king arthur

Original Poster:

2,593 posts

148 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Popcorn anyone?

BTW I don't think the MGF was ever available with a 1.6 litre engine or if it was, it must have been introduced only a few months before the TF replaced it. At launch it was only 1.8VVC and non-VVC.

Fire99

8,698 posts

116 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
I like 'em. Well I actually prefer the later TF but i'm being picky.

My only gripes, with it being a cheap shed, is the access to the engine (with it being mid-engined)

Judging by my sister in law's TF, getting to the dirty bits looks a bit of a job for a childs arm with the strength of a shot-putter.

Agent Orange

1,980 posts

133 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Not a fan of the shape myself but a decent enough shed. MG-Fs leave me cold.

Non-VVC but seems there are a few around at that price
http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C193680/





dbdb

1,804 posts

60 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
A friend's girlfriend had one of these cars from new and kept it for a few years. She loved it and it was easy to see why; they're pretty, fun to drive and have a good 'feel' to them. Despite what people here will inevitably say she had no trouble with it at all and she was an enthusiastic driver. A nice SOTW, but very narrow inside if you're a big bloke.


varsas

3,361 posts

89 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Advert says it's an autumn bargain...how long has it been for sale?

Was looking at these the other day, you can get a sub-70k miler in a nice colour for £1k. RWD, nice engine, what's not to like?

kambites

41,274 posts

108 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
I do like the MGF, but I think I'd still have an older MX-5 for the money.

forsure

1,516 posts

155 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
king arthur said:
BTW I don't think the MGF was ever available with a 1.6 litre engine or if it was, it must have been introduced only a few months before the TF replaced it. At launch it was only 1.8VVC and non-VVC.
The 1.6 was introduced when the F was 'facelifted' in around year 2000 (upgraded interior, additional speakers, different wheels).
Identifiable by black door-mirror cowls and lack of the extra speakers (behind the seats) that were introduced in the 1.8s.


londonagent

635 posts

55 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
My wife had one of these in Tahiti Blue in '97, IMHO the best colour on these. Owning one of these back then, drew admiring glances when you were out in it and it was a fun car to drive, so much so I used to take every opportunity I could to get my hands on it.
A friend had an MX5 and we always used to argue about which was best, we could never agree. The only downside was a tendancy to overheat, and crap seals around the windows, which meant you had to have a couple of towels in the boot to dry the seats, but in the summer it was fantastic. Incredible to think that these used to sell for £16K - £18K back then. At this price I could be tempted to take a trip down memory lane.
Top Shed!

Goodfella 555

199 posts

55 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
hurl

Would any right minded person walk past an MR2 to get in one of these?
I'd rather catch a bus... I'll be interested to see if anyone pipes up and says something along the lines of 'i've owned one for 10 years, done 80k and it has cost me very little by way of repairs'... Not going to hold my breath... i've known two girlies who have owned these the first had a gearbox give up the second the engine failed (don't know the details - couldn't be bothered listening) if you're tempted by one of these, don't do it, taxis are a cheaper option...

TC33

17 posts

76 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Had one of these BRAND SPANKING new was only 1.8 not vvc, but 1 and a half years later 2 head gasket replacements and a new rear screen possibly the worst car I've ever owned was lucky to shift it. No wonder they went bust load of carp!

soad

20,000 posts

63 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Goodfella 555 said:
Would any right minded person walk past an MR2 to get in one of these?
I'm with you.

Gizmo!

18,106 posts

96 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Dad had one of these. It leaked. Badly. And then the cambelt broke and the engine sh@t itself. Before that, I drove it and it was nippy enough.

This isn't trying to start a small-convertible-fanboy argument, but the MGF had all the right ingredients and somehow managed to feel boring: by which I mean, I was bored driving it. The MX5 gets more and more fun the more you drive it. Can't work out why.

If you need your open-top jollies mid-engined you have to get a Mk1 MR2 (though admittedly tricky at Shed budget) or an X1/9 smilehttp://carandclassic.co.uk/car/C163944/

andymadmak

7,240 posts

157 months

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Friday 3rd December 2010 quote quote all
Good shedding there!
Not a bad car at all, and easily moddable to something cheap and handy for a track day.
Cooling system is fragile (later remote thermostat mod helps with this) and they are VERY tyre/geometry sensitive
but if properly set up it makes an interesting alternative to the ubiquitous MX5.

Cue lots of people who have never owned one, never driven one, never even sat in one lining up to slag the wee beasty off!

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