1993-1995 MG RV8 | Hemmings Motor News

16 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 1993-1995 MG RV8 | Hemmings Motor News

The RV8 was a clever reboot of the MG Sports Car franchise

Feature Article from Hemmings Motor News

On October 22, 1980, MG enthusiasts around the world mourned the news that MGB production had ceased at Abingdon. Although owner Rover kept the brand on life support by rebadging sporty versions of its plebeian hatchbacks and sedans as MGs, sports car aficionados were left wanting. But stirrings within Rover promised a true MG sports car rebirth for the 1990s, and spearheading that rebirth would be a modern classic, the 1993-1995 MG RV8.

When the Rover-owned British Motor Heritage classic car subsidiary began creating brand-new MGB body shells from original tooling and jigs in 1988, Rover executives saw the opportunity to use them to create a special new car. Working in the span of 15 months with a £5-million budget, the Rover Special Projects team turned their commemorative sports car from idea to production reality.

While the cars’ final assembly would be handled by just 18 specialists at Rover’s Cowley factory in Oxford, the bodies would be built in the British Motor Heritage plant at Faringdon, Oxfordshire. The RV8’s production breakdown was five percent carryover MGB parts, 20 percent improved MGB parts and 75 percent completely new parts.

The MG RV8‘s main visual differences from the MGB shell were its flared inner and outer fenders incorporating an untrimmed character line, with matching rocker panels and a new hood. Color-matched Reinforced Injected Molding bumpers and headlamp surrounds lengthened and smoothed its appearance, and Porsche 911 headlamps and Bentley-style taillamps added elegant modernity.


The RV8 got its name from its corporate Rover 3.9-liter, Lucas fuel-injected V-8, mated exclusively to a Rover five-speed gearbox; its 190hp was enough to propel the 2,565-pound roadster to 60 MPH in 5.9 seconds and on to 135 MPH. Underpinning the car was the MGB GT V-8’s live rear axle (albeit widened and mated to a limited-slip differential, Koni telescopic shocks and an anti-roll bar), new coil-over Koni front shocks and vented power front disc/rear drum brakes.

Suiting its hand-built nature and £26,500 (roughly $42,500 in 1993 dollars) price tag, the MG RV8 was trimmed in the finest English tradition with Connolly leather seating, deep-pile carpeting and burr elm wood trim; its Tickford cloth convertible top was lined, cabriolet-style.

Ergonomic updates improved occupant comfort and a one-piece windshield frame eliminated the vent windows, but strangely, power windows and power steering were not available, and air conditioning was optional.

The MG RV8 was introduced on October 20, 1992, at the British International Motor Show in Birmingham, exactly 30 years and one month after the debut of the MGB upon which it was based. The first production RV8 was completed on March 30, 1993, and this anniversary sports car would be built at the rate of 15 per week over the course of two years. By the time that RV8 production ended in November 1995, the mid-engine MGF would be on the market.

Of the 1,982 built, 92 examples went to Europe, 307 stayed home in the U.K. and 1,583 went to Japan. No factory RV8s came to America.

This article originally appeared in the July, 2010 issue of Hemmings Motor News.

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