SOTW: MG-F 1.8 VVC
It's red, it's a convertible sportscar and it's yours for £995...
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!
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.
The car is advertised with lowly mileage and an asking price of £995. And it's worth a look, surely?
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.
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.
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.
Identifiable by black door-mirror cowls and lack of the extra speakers (behind the seats) that were introduced in the 1.8s.
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.
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...
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 http://carandclassic.co.uk/car/C163944/
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!