MG Prototypes at the British Motor Museum

Last year I read various articles on how MG enthusiasts had spotted rare MG prototypes rotting away on the old MG Rover site at Longbridge, Birmingham. A campaign, led by a YouTuber and MG enthusiast, Tom Cowling of Sheffield, caused MG Motor UK, the owner of the cars and the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, Warwickshire, to start talking about how to conserve these important (to British motor car history) cars. An agreement was reached that MG Motor UK would permanently loan the cars to the Museum who would put them on display for visitors to see 

This post was inspired by a visit I made to the Museum for the Historic Rally Car Register Open Day event on 13th January. While there I took the opportunity to photograph the MG prototypes on display.

Here is the background to the history of the prototypes and how they were discovered languishing in Longbridge –

The cars had been abandoned and left standing in the open, unprotected from the weather, at MG’s former site in Longbridge. Their futures were uncertain since MG Rover went into administration in 2005. If truth be told, it is likely that their new owners, MG Motors UK and its parent, China-based SAIC Motor, hardly knew of their existence and if they did what to do with them was one of their least concerns.

Some of the cars are –

  • A mid-sized hatchback concept from 2003 based on the Rover 75 platform, called the RDX60
  • Three MGF prototypes, PR 1, 2 and 3 dating from 1989-1992
  • The first MG F produced in 1995.
  • A unique TF GT.
  • 1985 EX-E supercar
  • Rover TCV (Tourer Concept Vehicle).
  • A Mini ‘Hot Rod’ built for the 1997 Frankfurt motor show.
Tom Cowling, an MG enthusiast, engaged with others on social media to express concern at seeing these rare and historic cars parked on grounds outside the old factory in Longbridge, Birmingham.
As a result of Tom and others exposing this lamentable situation MG Motor and the British Motor Museum entered into discussions on how these cars could be preserved and put on display for British car enthusiasts to look at.
Here are the responses from both parties –
MG Motor UK

Guy Pigounakis, commercial director at MG Motor UK: “The MG Rover brand holds a place near to my heart, being the head of commercial operations for the manufacturer in the early 2000s, and so it’s fantastic to see these rare prototypes on display at the British Motor Museum. The legacy of the prototypes are greatly valued by MG Motor UK, and the specially curated collection will allow MG Rover enthusiasts and car fans alike to get exclusive access to these historic vehicles that helped shape the UK automotive industry.”

British Motor Museum

Head of Collections Stephen Laing: “The British Motor Museum is known for its unrivaled collection of concepts, prototypes, one-off and milestone cars, so this selection of cars from Longbridge is right at home amongst them. They give an insight into how the engineering format and design of the MG F was arrived at, how MG Rover planned its future range of cars at the turn of the 21st century and how Rover Group was able to make a statement with a stripped-back, exciting version of an automotive classic.”

Here are the photos that I took when I visited the Museum on 13th January 2024 –

MG EX-E Prototype display board
MG EX-E Prototype display board
1985 MG EX-E Prototype. Front
1985 MG EX-E Prototype. Front
MG EX-E Prototype. Rear.
1985 MG EX-E Prototype. Rear.
1964 MG/Mini ADO 34 DHC
1964 MG/Mini ADO 34 DHC atop its display stand.
1964 MG/Mini ADO 34 DHC 2
1964 MG/Mini ADO 34 DHC
1970 MG/Mini Targa Coupe ADO 70 display stand at the British Motor Museum
1970 MG/Mini Targa Coupe ADO 70 atop its display stand
1970 MG/Mini Targa Coupe ADO 70, Side view.
1970 MG/Mini Targa Coupe ADO 70, Side view.

Here are two other concept cars that caught my eye on the same day – 

1969 Austin Zanda coupe concept by Harris Man
1969 Austin Zanda coupe concept by Harris Man

1969 Austin Zanda coupe concept by Harris Man. Rear

1970 Vauxhall SRV Concept
1970 Vauxhall SRV Concept by Wayne Cherry and Chris Field

1970 Vauxhall SRV Concept. Rear.

Nick

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