A replacement for the MGB in 1995, the TF was a response to rivals like Mazda and their MX5/Miata, which had purportedly perfected the small British roadster formula. Judging by the sheer quantities and resale value of the Miata, the TF was not successful. Sales numbers are misleading, because the TF is a cracking car as described by anyone who drove it.
History is alight with all the Group B rally monsters that never competed, but MG—relatively low on the pecking order of sports car manufacturers—beat nearly everyone to the punch with a rally car that competed. The 6R4 took the lowly Austin-Rover derived Metro hatch and added crazy wings, side bulges and big power in a nuclear assault on the eyes, ears and dirt tracks of rally stages.
If you wanted a sports sedan in the early-2000s, chances are you’d opt for a BMW or a Benz. Almost no one considered MG, who had built a fantastic sports sedan with the help of Prodrive and Ford. The ZT had rear wheel drive, a 4.6 litre V8 and 256 HP/302 lb-ft torque, with subtle exterior differences for the 260 model. With genuine 155 MPH performance, the ZT was a legitimate competitor to the BMW M5. It’s a shame it sold so poorly.
The TC was the first post-World War II MG to be released, and was sold till 1950. American GIs who had been stationed in the UK loved the MG brand and the TC, with its 55 HP 4-cylinder, proved to be cheap to buy and import, so the TC gained a huge cult following back in the US, and is a popular classic to own as a result.
The MG B, in roadster and hardtop GT form, is one of the longest (and greatest) running models of the brand, produced from 1963 to 1980, with the same basic design being updated periodically over the years. In RV8 form, it continued till 1995, which is scarcely believable. The suggestive ads ran with the tagline “Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It”, probably referring to the 8 cylinder motors as opposed to the 6 and 4 cylinders it could also be had with.
The X-Power SV is perhaps the most exciting MG in the troubled waters of the 2000s. Based on the Qvale Mangusta and powered by Ford’s 4.6 litre (320 HP) and 5.0 litre (385 HP) V8s, the upscale sports car was an attempt at appealing to American buyers—of the 82 cars produced, most went to Europe and Asia, with only one sold in the US. It showed promise, but the financially choppy times of the mid-2000s killed it off and paved the way for Chinese takeover.