13 Sep 2013

MG thoughts

Heading down to Sydney yesterday morning late in the morning rush I spotted this MG TC being driven down the Pacific Highway south of Hornsby.Brave man.The Pacific Highway is never a road for the feint hearted and in peak times it is tough driving.Very aggressive drivers - young girls in Hyundais texting as they drive ,mums in big SUVs, quite a few big trucks plus delivery vans and school zones and numerous speed cameras.Not a road on which I would want to be driving a 60 year old car.
The MG TC was a very succesful sports car,particularly in the US, but that was then.I drove a TC once for a few kilometres on the open road.Once was enough.It was as slow as a wet weekend.The brakes were woeful, the steering was incredibly vague and the very narrow tyres meant that it tramlined picking up road surface irregularities.The ride was choppy and the driving position was uncomfortable.I know MG enthusiasts swoon over them.Each to their own.

Seeing the early MG reminded me of a sad story.Way back in 1969 I saw a rather scruffy but complete  MG TA Midget for sale on the forecourt of a country garage in Dorset in the UK.The TA was produced upto 1939 .This one was British Racing Green and it had a number of small metal plaques and badges on the lid of the glovebox.One I remember was from University Motors who were MG dealers and the other was for the Oxford University Motor Club.
The petrol pump attendant- it was 1969-saw me looking at the car and said that it was for sale for 25 pounds sterling.Now this was more than I was earning a week so although it sounds very little today it was a reasonable sum for the time.The sad part came when he explained that the car had been in the garage of a local house since 1942 because the only son of a couple was an RAF fighter pilot who had been killed in action and never came home to drive his car again and his parents had been so distraught that they never moved the car and had left it in their garage until a few weeks previously when they had decided they had to sell it.A very sad story.I wonder where that car is now.

To add a postcript to these MG thoughts MG is now owned by the giant Chinese car company SIAC and they are just trying to relaunch the brand in Australia.The product is a dreary looking four door saloon and hatchback which is grossly overpriced and is now only available with a manual transmission which is a major handicap as most cars sold in Australia are auto.The story I have heard is that they have optimistically imported 400 as launch stock and surprisingly I saw a promo/demo vehicle on the road last week.It looked like a "me too"design with more than a hint of a Honda and Hyundai.I would say that given the bland styling,transmission and pricing it is currently totally saleproof in Australia.But one never knows with the Chinese.Maybe from this rather unlikely acorn a big MG oak tree will grow as later models hit the spot.Or maybe they will depart tail between legs after failing miserably as Opel have done recently and Seat did a few years ago.

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