RE: MG ZT-T V8 Catch it while you can.

RE: MG ZT-T V8 Catch it while you can.

Thursday 27th February 2014

MG ZT-T V8: Catch it while you can

So Jaguar has made a super estate but, back in 2004, it could have been - don't laugh - MG Rover



It's good to see Jaguar in fighting form, showing the supercharged XFR-S Sportbrake at Geneva. With 550hp, a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds, and a maximum of 186mph, it's the fastest British production estate car. And despite not having driven it yet, I'm sure I'm going to love it. But the concept - if not the execution - takes me back almost a decade, to something rather similar built by MG Rover

385 prototype looked standard...
385 prototype looked standard...
It was January 2006, when I received a call from Mark Baxter, head of sales at SMC Rover. He'd bought a rather special ZT-T from Longbridge, and wondered if I fancied having a look. Even before the words, 'supercharged' and 'one off', had ceased ringing in my ears, I was rushing down he M1 for a closer look. The car's back story was interesting - it was a pre-production ZT-T 385, fitted with a Roush-supercharged 4.6-litre Mustang V8, giving close to 400hp. And had things panned out differently for MG Rover, it would have gone on sale for around Β£40,000 late in 2005.

Of course, it had been owned by one of the Phoenix 4 - weren't they all? - and had very few miles on the clock. Given how much I liked the original ZT 260 V8, and how I was on first name terms with some of the good chaps who performed miracles with zero budgets and resources to develop the thing, I knew even before the off, car and I would get on. Why? Because aside from a few rough edges, all I could really criticise the 260 for was a certain lack of urgency - 260hp and 1,770kg meant it was brisk at best, not rabid.

... under the bonnet gave it away
... under the bonnet gave it away
And the ZT-T 385 V8? I loved the car's utterly standard appearance. Other than the twin exhausts that set-apart all V8s, this Trophy Blue example looked - to all intents and purposes - identical to your common-or-garden 1.8-litre ZT-T 120. A quick peek under the bonnet revealed the truth - that Supercharger the size of Hampshire stamped with boldly with ROUSH - but other than that, here lay one of the most effective Q-cars ever built.

It didn't take long for the additional muscle to make its presence felt, a quick drive convincing me it really was capable of scalping some pretty tasty machinery. Considering I remember being dusted by a well-driven bread van Honda Civic Type R in a ZT 260 V8 on my favourite piece of local back road - the B660 - this was very, very good news indeed.

What might have been!
What might have been!
I remember flooring it for the first time - the unmistakable whine of the supercharger; the V8 melody; the intoxicating, addictive soundtrack. Whereas the standard car surged but lost heart as the rev counter headed for 5,000rpm, the 385 revelled in being thrashed to the red line, hurling itself forward furiously, with no let-up at all.

One of the engineers, who calibrated this car for production, figured the car, and came up with the following numbers - 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds, and 100 in 12.8 seconds. Top speed might have been limited to 155, but bypass that (as you surely would) and it would top out at a cool 178mph.

Although it would have been expensive and a risky proposition to buy, I can see a few foolhardy enthusiasts taking the plunge for the soundtrack alone. Even at the 11th hour in its development programme, weeks before it was due for launch, there were still ongoing discussions about the styling of the production version. Some within the company wanted it to wear a wild bodykit; others came up with a powerful argument to keep it looking standard. In my opinion, the latter was the preferable option.

Spot the V8 badge
Spot the V8 badge
Okay, so I fell for the charms of this supercharged one-off pre-production car. And, truth be told, if I were to take the plunge, I'd want this car - or at least a very good replica. The good news is that a number of aftermarket supercharger conversions have been completed for the wonderful Mustang V8, with Dreadnought Engineering producing a very driveable 400hp ZT. Check out the Two Sixties Club to see if anyone's selling a ready-made supercharged ZT - they do occasionally come up.

The standard ZT 260 V8 is a rare beast, though, with 90 estates and 316 saloons left in the UK, although numbers should at least be stable now classic status is guaranteed. Tourers and saloons range between Β£6000-10,000, but if you're looking to supercharge it, as any rational petrolhead would, and you'll want a good one, near the top of the price scale. That done, enjoy a scintillating and uniquely gifted piece of British car history...

(As a post script, MG took a tuned ZT-T to Bonneville and recorded 225.609mph - making it the world's fastest estate car. Here's the video).





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Author
Discussion

dukebox9reg

Original Poster:

1,276 posts

92 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Does make me smile when I spot one of these with the 4 small exhausts poking out the back. Always makes me smile.

They make an alright noise even with the standard pipes aswell.


Dave Hedgehog

10,621 posts

148 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
rover ZiT, never a more apt designation smile

JaguarsportXJR

234 posts

87 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
I've come so close to taking a test drive (i.e. buying) one of the none-supercharged V8s a number of times. Would imagine one of these would be epic. The ZT was suprisingly well finished, easily a match for my contemporary Audi.

Bill

39,431 posts

199 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all

pti

1,052 posts

88 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Bill said:
cool as fk

Nick Young

240 posts

194 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Loved mine too, was a fabulous car!

j_s14a

820 posts

122 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
A missed opportunity. Instead of going with the regular 4.6 V8, they should have gone with the supercharged lump from the 2002-2004 Mustang SVT 'Terminator' Cobra and 6 speed Tremec gearbox.

That would have been incredible. smile

Bladedancer

992 posts

140 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
If they all had the supercharged engine from factory they'd be worth be money people ask for them now.
But since they don't sadly the ZT-T V8 is just another estate with not that powerful V8.
I'll pass.

Bill

39,431 posts

199 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
j_s14a said:
A missed opportunity. Instead of going with the regular 4.6 V8, they should have gone with the supercharged lump from the 2002-2004 Mustang SVT 'Terminator' Cobra and 6 speed Tremec gearbox.

That would have been incredible. smile
The 32v V8 is too big to fit aiui, and the brakes etc would need upgrading anyway. With a smaller pulley the SC Dreadnought fit is good for 550 bhp...

Turbobanana

1,443 posts

145 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
When I was a regular at Snetterton, many years back, I remember they used one (actually a Rover 75) as a course car once. Standing at the end of what was the Revett Straight, this thing sounded like a Supermarine Spitfire on an air raid as it aopproached the Esses.

Then it appeared, and looked like Hyacinth Bouquet's long-suffering husband Richard driving to the shops...

Rollcage

11,325 posts

136 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Bladedancer said:
If they all had the supercharged engine from factory they'd be worth be money people ask for them now.
But since they don't sadly the ZT-T V8 is just another estate with not that powerful V8.
I'll pass.
As they don't often hang around long on the second hand market, I'd say the majority are worth what people ask for them.

Mr2Mike

20,143 posts

199 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
This supercharged ZT belonged to a friend who had it from new. We were just on our way back from a tarmac rally.

JulesV

1,797 posts

168 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Nick Young said:
Loved mine too, was a fabulous car!
Loved mine too. Great cars. Photo if anyone is interested.


zebedee

4,567 posts

222 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Turbobanana said:
When I was a regular at Snetterton, many years back, I remember they used one (actually a Rover 75) as a course car once. Standing at the end of what was the Revett Straight, this thing sounded like a Supermarine Spitfire on an air raid as it aopproached the Esses.

Then it appeared, and looked like Hyacinth Bouquet's long-suffering husband Richard driving to the shops...
I remember it too, it sounded awesome, it was on straight through pipes I was told.

0llie

2,807 posts

140 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Must admit, I do prefer the 'standard' 75 V8. I'd still love the MG derivative, though.


grosserbaby

140 posts

112 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Hello Keith. Saw the headline, knew the byline!

One of my favorite stories about these was the development and testing one for top speed trials that they did on a derestricted Autobahn; the fuel gauge was calibrated for a V6 190 so had a maximum fall rate based on the maximum possible fuel use for said car. I understand on the top speed runs the car in question and probably the very car SMC had, ran out of fuel on the return pass with the gauge still showing half a tank. Now that is what I call thirsty, like a night on the tiles with Oliver Reed.

ZT-T V8 with a blower, a car I would like to try.

slash79

127 posts

68 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Always wanted a ZT-T 260 Estate. The noise of that ole V8..They're like rocking horse doo doo!
I used to have a ZT190 saloon. One of my fave cars Ive owned. Bags of personality.. And British!

John_S4x4

1,300 posts

201 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
I keep on thinking about getting a supercharger fitted to my car. I also keep thinking about the Trick Flow heads and inlet manifolds too, for some reason.

J4CKO

27,788 posts

144 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
My uncle had one, my dad had a nearly identical 190 at the time, the 260 isnt night and day faster but both are nice cars and the soundtrack from the V8 is fantastic, it is a pity they only managed to produce the 260, really it did need another 100 bhp to fulfil its potential and the promise of a V8 badge, perhaps just best to see it as a nice, quick-ish, interesting, special cruiser rather than focus too much on the number of cylinders and feel short changed.

I WISH

874 posts

144 months

Thursday 27th February 2014
quotequote all
Most interesting fact about the Rover 75/MG ZT?

Not long after they were launched on the motoring world the Italians no less voted it the world's most beautiful car.

So there!

sperm