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MGR PR NEWS STORIES FOR 2004

All Press Releases are provided by MG - Rovers Press office unless stated otherwise!

 

22 December 2004 - MG Christmas Survey Proves ONE drink is still too dangerous!
ZR-drink2.jpgMG has tested the ability of drivers to handle a performance car safely, under the influence of ‘acceptable’ levels of alcohol and found that ‘none for the road’ is the only safe policy to adopt. Even after just one drink, drivers drove through red lights, veered dangerously across the centre of the road and caused a collision by failing to brake.

The results of the study, commissioned by MG, will be used to promote safe driving in all of its markets, particularly to young drivers, who are attracted to the sporting qualities of the MG brand.

Drivers of mixed age, sex and ability were put through a series of handling tests, under the supervision of police and medical experts. After each circuit they would consume one alcoholic drink. Alarmingly, a high number of potentially fatal errors occurred before drivers reached a blood-alcohol level considered unsafe for driving.

The MG ZR ‘hot-hatch’ was driven during the study. It is the company’s best selling car and has massive appeal to young drivers, a vulnerable group during the Christmas and New Year party season. "MG cars are designed to be fast, fun, and safe. They are high performance machines and therefore require 100 per cent concentration. The lethal connection between alcohol and driving is well known. We hope that this study, conducted in a strictly controlled environment, drives home the message that just one drink brings its risks," said Rob Oldaker, product development director, MG Rover.

Drivers were tested for steering reaction, road positional accuracy, peripheral visual awareness, braking response and speed control in conditions that would normally be experienced on the road.

The tests were carried out in Madrid – Spain has introduced some of the toughest drinking and driving legislation in Europe, in response to increasing levels of alcohol related accidents. The study is part of a high profile TV, press and poster campaign by MG Rover Spain, against drinking and driving.

 

9 December 2004 - His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Arabian Ambassador visits MGR
BMR-1204-1777-.jpgToday His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland, son of the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, visited MG Rover Group at Longbridge.

Underlining His Royal Highness’ keen interest to see car manufacturing at first hand Prince Al Faisal toured the key stages of car production at Longbridge. He saw the full product range of MG and Rover models and, as a classic car enthusiast and collector, His Royal Highness received a personal tour of the Heritage centre, which houses cars from each period of the company’s history.

"We are delighted the Ambassador has visited MG Rover at Longbridge and shown such interest in our company and its products," said John Edwards, director sales and marketing, MG Rover.

The company is no stranger to Royal visits. Many high profile members of the Royal household and VIPs have visited in the past two years. His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Princess Royal and HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex have all toured the facilities and met with members of the workforce. The British Royal family have both MG and Rover vehicles within their car portfolio.

ther senior diplomats from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia accompanied His Royal Highness on this prestigious visit.

 

1 December 2004 - Jack Daniels 1912 - 2004 - Inspirational Engineer!

It is with regret that the death of Austin and Morris engineer W.J. "Jack" Daniels is announced. Jack was 92 and had been battling cancer for the last two years, but died peacefully in his sleep on November 27th, 2004, at his home near Bournemouth.

Jack was affectionately known as the man who was ’90 per cent perspiration behind Alec Issigonis’s 10 per cent inspiration’ in designing the Morris Minor and the original BMC Mini. Jack was also the first MG apprentice.

Speaking about Jack, product development director, Rob Oldaker, said: "Jack was a talented development engineer, who will be remembered for his pragmatic input to many cars, the most famous of which were the new era of front-wheel drive cars, starting with his work with Sir Alec Issigonis and Alex Moulton on the Mini.

"His characteristic pipe caused a few communication difficulties for the young and uninitiated, but he guided many towards successful careers in the industry."

Jack’s funeral has yet to be finalised, but is likely to be at St. Marks, Highcliffe, sometime in the next two weeks.

The man who was the 90 per cent perspiration behind Alec Issigonis’s 10 per cent inspiration in designing the Morris Minor and the original BMC Mini, was also the first MG apprentice.

The books of the Morris Minor and the Mini, and the many videos of that era, usually refer to Jack as Issigonis’s 'Right Hand Man'. There is a lot of truth in that. He often said: "Issigonis’s was the inspiration – mine was the perspiration!"

Jack was born in Oxford in 1912, into a farming family. The family’s land ran alongside the river between Witney and Ducklington, and got filched to aid the 1914-18 war. Another part of the family owned House’s farm and dairy shop in the Parade, Botley, and land where the A34 Oxford Bypass now runs.

He went to Oxford Central School, a technical and commercial place (as opposed to the City of Oxford High School, a grammar) where among his best subjects were woodworking (which may explain his delight with the design and style of the Minor Estate) and technical drawing. He originally sat an exam to get him into the railway commercial side, but (having passed) nothing happened and he went back to school for a while.

Then came a call from the MG Car Company to the school, seeking trainees. The head master sent Jack along and he got the job at MG’s (then) new factory in Edmund Rd, Cowley, and was MG’s first (unindentured) apprentice. One of his abiding memories was the delivery of chassis from the Cowley Morris factory downhill to Edmund Rd, towing five in a line! Then they had to strip them down, remove redundant brackets, and strip the engines – to tune and rebuild them. The chassis were rig-tested inside the factory after the re-working.

After about two years, Keith Smith was engaged to run the MG drawing office, and Jack was invited to help out. Facilities at Edmund Rd were primitive, and to reproduce their drawings they had to visit an architect’s office in Headington. A year later Keith Smith was replaced by George Gibson, and the pair were the first of the MG personnel to be transferred to Abingdon.

One things settled there, H N Charles came in as chief designer and events really began to hum, starting with the ‘C’ type Midget through to the ‘S’ type

andoned then following the merger. Charles, who was a very sound engineer, became Jack’s real tutor in vehicle engineering.

When the MG racing programme was ended in 1935, Jack (with Hubert Charles and George Cooper) was moved back to Cowley. He was immediately involved with the production of the ‘T’ series MG, utilising more factory-available Morris components. Together they designed the coil spring IFS combined with an early rack and pinion steering as eventually used on the production 1947 MG Y-type.

With the merger in 1935, a new set of five key designers under Robert Boyle were introduced at Cowley, but just a year later only Alec Issigonis remained from the group. Robert Boyle was replaced by A V Oak and shortly after that Jack was introduced to Issigonis officially, thus starting the famous pairing. They were involved in some of the earliest UK designs for unitary chassis, which appeared first for Morris on the 10 M-series in 1938.

Within two years they were almost joined at the hip – Nuffield’s Vic Oak ensured Jack provided the practical experience which Issigonis, the visionary, needed. "Most people found Issigonis ‘hard to get on with’", Jack said, "but he and I just gelled!"

During the war, he was in a reserved occupation, designing a number of light armoured vehicles. Videos exist of a small all-terrain ‘communication vehicle' moving over Shotover Hill in which Jack had a big hand. He was also pushed into designing a mobile winch with 10,000ft of cable, onto which box kites could be attached to carry explosives (an alternative to barrage balloons). His next task was an amphibian, designed to carry 11 tons in a calm sea, 9 tons when rough! The payload had to include a 17-pounder gun. It had a 350hp engine at the back driving either the tracks or two 2ft. props through a transfer gearbox. Jack drove the first prototype from Oxford to Woodstock, where (with the Duke of Marlborough on board) he drove it in and out of Blenheim Lake! These amphibians later did sterling work unloading cargo at Westward Ho, venturing out in rough seas where other such vehicles were unable to function. Then it was on to a really heavyweight torsion bar suspension system for the Tortoise, a tank vehicle intended to attack the Siegfried Line frontally. This was the heaviest tank (at around 90 tons) ever conceived by that time, due to its incredibly heavy armoured plating.

After the war, Issigonis and Jack got down to finishing the design of the new Morris small car (initially called the Mosquito after the famous war plane). About this time the famous story about the Mosquito body (later to be the Minor) occurred. Issigonis decided the prototype body was too narrow. He had Jack and some others literally saw down the middle of the prototype chassis, and with each half on a trolley, he moved them apart until he liked the design, whereupon Jack and co. welded it together with some spare steel plate! Which is why all Morris Minors have a 4-inch-wide strip down the bonnet – it somehow got into production that way!

Jack and Issigonis also played around with their first design for a fascinating car – a transverse engined front-wheel-drive design in a Minor body. It took 4 years to complete and proved amazingly effective as a road vehicle, having far superior road-holding characteristics to the then (other than Citroen) conventional front lateral engine RWD designs. Nothing could persuade Morris management that this was the future for small cars, although Jack became a believer in FWD.

At this point (’52) Issigonis left Morris for Alvis, but when Len Lord persuaded him back in ’55, Issigonis immediately requested Jack to re-join him, which was agreed. Two Alvis people, Chris Kingham and John Shepherd followed shortly and a new design team was created. Jack had to wind up his then design efforts on the Ferguson 4WD car and the Salerni torque converter to start on XC9001, a vehicle within the plan rectangle of the Minor, but which also had an early version of the Moulton Hydrolastic suspension.

After the Suez Crisis in 1956 fuel economy became a top selling point and smaller cars became de rigueur. Len Lord, head of BMC that combined Austin and Morris, set the team briefly on to XC9002, a downsizing to 1100cc and then very shortly after that onto a new project, XC9003 - this is where the true Mini story began.

Everything Issigonis and Jack had done up till then came together at ‘the Austin’. Jack and family moved to nearby Kings Norton.

Issigonis started sketching baby Minor-styled cars on envelopes and serviettes, and Jack and his team turned them into practical structures. Alex Moulton and John Morris of SU carburettors were also involved, and John Wagstaff and a man called McKenzie became part of his team.

"Len Lord and George Harriman suddenly gave the urgent go-ahead – they wanted this small car urgently - and things progressed very fast!" said Jack.

"The first prototype (nicked named the ‘Orange Box’ because that’s what they used initially for seats) was completed in late ’57! Issigonis demanded the first test drive, and got 100 yards before the suspension collapsed. The very high loadings on the spring unit simply pushed apart the upper and lower fixings, which is why the subframes were added as a design fix!"

Jack and Co. were pushing small car design in ways it had never gone before. For examples, many of the welded body seams were on the outside of the car! The universal joint for the FWD was based on a Rezappa submarine conning tower control gear, which gave constant velocity and was self-supporting. This was the real secret of the Mini and it was this successful detail that made the drive system such a success - and the Mini such as capable and nimble little car. The tiny tyres were an industrial novelty. Tyre testing was carried out at Halfpenny Green near Wolverhampton in conjunction with Dunlop, at the time the only people prepared to make tyres that small size.

The Austin / Morris Mini became a cult as we all know. It was the ‘In’ car in the ‘60’s, and lasted almost unchanged until the late ‘90’s. The great (Lord Snowdon, Peter Sellers, various leggy models including Twiggy and film / TV stars) were all pictured in them; up-market variants appeared everywhere.

With the Mini in production, Jack became involved with other FWD cars such as the (ADO16) 1100/1300 series, the Maxi, and later the Allegro.

Issigonis went off to his own tiny ‘R&D’ unit to produce an array of concept cars; but this time Jack did not go with him. He continued to develop Minis and had a hand in developing the race and rally-successful Mini-Coopers with the late John Cooper. He also used to regularly drive prototype No 5 to around 250,000 miles. He also put together a twin-engined mini, which was notorious for enormous speed at the time, although then a difficult concept in gearbox terms. A small engine at each end of a larger car is a concept yet to come in production.

Jack retired in 1977 after 50 years of continuous service. Many at this point would have called it a day, but Jack never lost his car enthusiasm. He still turned up at historic Austin, Morris and Mini related events such as car rallies, Mini-Cooper days, and even the Las Vegas Car of the Century Awards (as we said earlier – The Mini was Car of Europe and 2nd in the World, and the Minor was in the listings too). And he still had frequent visitors from the trade and trade press.

He was truly one of the last icons of the motor industry’s pre-computer era.

Bibliography

  • MG from A-Z – Jonathan Wood (1998, MRP Publications)
  • Motor Guide to makes and Models 1945-56 (David J Culshaw (1956, Temple Press)
  • Mini Magazine – June 1998 (Interview by Graham Robson).
  • MiniWorld - Dec 1996 (Interview by Richard Williamson)
  • Various books about the Morris Minor and the Mini, and several other partial texts and videos from various sources.
  • Plus of course Jack’s own very important input and my own recollections!

 

1 December 2004 - Rover's Centenary Event at Wragley Hall - Wins Classic & Sports car award!
2004 celebrates Rover’s centenary, with the first car produced 100 years ago today, 1st December 1904. It is fitting then, that Classic & Sports Car Magazine has awarded the Rover Sports Register with their Event of the Year award.

The award was given because Rover’s centenary celebrations incorporated a re-enactment of the Midland Automobile Club (MAC) hill climb, tackled by some of the oldest existing Rovers, a visit to Coventry’s newly revamped Transport Museum with the grand finale seeing over four hundred Rover cars (double that of previous years) spanning 100 years meeting at Ragley Hall near Stratford-upon-Avon, in July.

Classic & Sports Car Magazine’s Clubs Editor, David Evans: said: "It’s with great pleasure that I present this award to the Rover Sports Register for the Rover Centenary Celebration event. This event won our award because it wasn't just a 'cars in fields' event. The weekend combined lots of great elements but unlike most of the other contenders, it wasn't just a single-club event, all the Rover single-model clubs were invited to the finale at Ragley Hall. It was the overall combination - particularly the cooperation between different clubs – that tipped the decision towards the RSR."

The Rover Sports Register organiser, Tony Atkins, said: "It gives me great delight to accept this award on behalf of everyone who was involved in making this milestone event so memorable. We were overwhelmed by the support of everyone and were delighted with the biggest turnout ever, and to now receive this award, is the icing on the cake."

The centenary event at Ragley Hall had displays that included bicycles and motorcycles that also bear the Rover identity. The vehicles were displayed in a period line-up with the impressive Ragley Hall as a backdrop. As well as the many Rover product related displays, other activities included a centenary car display, auto jumbles, Ragley Hall tours and a Concours de Elegance prize competition for the most immaculate Rover car in each class. The event was organised both by the Rover Sports Register and MG Rover Group and supporting individual Rover model clubs.

 

15 October 2004 - A special car for Wandsworth Specials!
WandsworthSpecial.jpgSpecial Constables in Wandsworth are to receive a boost from the community in tackling crime with the launch of a brand new sponsored car.

Commissioner Sir John Stevens and Mayor of London Ken Livingstone officially presented the Rover 75 to Fred Ahmed MBE, Wandsworth Divisional Officer for the Metropolitan Special Constabulary, outside City Hall.

The new Rover 75 replaces the original sponsored car, the first of its kind in London, which had been in service since 1994. The car is sponsored by local business including TFL Motor Group and JR Halal Butchers, and the Wandsworth and Putney Crime Prevention Panel.

Commissioner Sir John Stevens said: "The length of time this sponsorship deal has been in place is a testament to the strength of the relationship between the Special Constabulary in Wandsworth and the local community. It is a reflection of the hard work and dedication by our volunteer Specials to making Wandsworth a safer place to live and work and this new car will prove invaluable in this work."

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: "The dedication of the Special Constabulary in London is extraordinary and the work of individuals such as Fred Ahmed is vital to successful community policing in our capital. This sponsored car will help provide even better public access to their local police service and I commend all those involved in making it a success."

Other organisations that have contributed to the sponsorship are MG Rover Group, Tracker UK, Microbus Data Comms, Comtec and Madison Security.

Notes:

The Metropolitan Special Constabulary (MSC) is a force of volunteers who work with and offer support to regular Metropolitan Police officers. Specials are everyday people who are prepared to give up at least four hours of their spare time each week to do something positive for themselves and their community. They perform police duties under the supervision of, and supported by, regular officers. Specials have the same powers as regular officers and wear a similar uniform. At the end of August 2004 there were 765 Special Constables in the Met.

More information on the MSC can be found at www.metpolicecareers.co.uk/specials. The Met's Recruitment Centre can be contacted on 0845 727 2212.

Wandsworth MSC

As well as having a sponsored area car, the Wandsworth MSC also has a caravan sponsored by local businesses. This has a number of uses including as a mobile police station, for crime prevention work, as a hotspot control vehicle and for recruitment events. The sponsors of both the car and the caravan are from a range Wandsworth's ethnic communities, demonstrating how groups and organisations from different backgrounds and faith groups are working with the police to help make their borough safer.

The Wandsworth MSC also runs the Community Policing Contact Centre (CPCC) in Tooting Mosque. This is open every Saturday from 11:00-13:00 (2 hours every week) and more than 7,000 people have visited it since April 2002.

The unit has also started the Wandsworth Youth Crime Prevention Panel, made up of young people from across the borough who help out with various projects including assisting at the CPCC and giving out crime prevention advice.

 

15 October 2004 - Rover brings stylish momentum to Frieze art Fair!
pae_white1.jpgRover Cars is taking an active part in the second Frieze Art Fair in Regents Park with 15 Rover 75s chosen as the ‘canvas’ by Pae White, one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. Frieze commences today (Friday October 15) and Rover was approached to provide VIP chauffeuring facilities between Regents Park and the other Fair venues.

Pae White often uses graphics and decals in her works and she has produced a series of graphic treatments, unique to each vehicle, entitled ‘Rover Momentum’, using an interpretation of the dusks and dawns of the countries represented at the Fair. Her designs create a striking and dynamic ‘vehicle’ for the Fair as the vehicles move across London during the days of the exhibition.

The Fair will take place over four days (15-18 October) in a custom-designed facility in Regents Park, supported by complementary reviews and talks across the capital. Frieze is already the second biggest Contemporary Art Fair in the world. In its first year it attracted very positive PR and reviews, with a comprehensive range of exhibitors and a wide spectrum of celebrity visitors, from Damien Hirst to Hugh Grant.

The Rover cars are all Contemporary SE Saloons, so passengers will experience the highest quality and most contemporary execution of the Rover brand. Frieze has commissioned a number of artists to produce specific works for the fair, and will also exhibit a very broad range of other contemporary art.

 

24 September 2004 - MG cars have been chosen for Bush2 dealer 6000 challenge!
MG cars have been selected for the first Bush2 dealer 6000 charity challenge to visit all 6000 franchised motor dealers throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in just six days to raise money for charity.

At 9.00am on Monday 4 October, the largest charity challenge in the motor sector, which will also raise money for BEN – The Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund – will start from Longbridge, in South Birmingham. The MG cars have been supplied by MG Rover Group and will return at midday on Saturday 9 October. The MG cars are from the sports saloon range and include fully liveried MG ZS and ZTs supplied in distinctive red, green, yellow or blue colours to complement the event sponsor’s logo. Each car has been specified with Smartnav – a satellite navigation system from Trafficmaster, also a key sponsor of the event – to locate each dealership quickly and directly.

The challenge is an idea from David and Gordon Bush, twin brothers and co-directors of Bush2, recruiters, trainers and consultants to the automotive sector, which aims to establish a new ‘Dealer Visit Record’ but also to raise close to £250,000 from charitable donations during the event.

David Bush explained: "The idea was conceived initially to raise the profile of Bush2, the sponsoring companies and BEN, but as part of a much larger ideal – to help re-create the good perception of the motor trade. The automotive trade is both dynamic and vibrant; it can offer fantastic career prospects. It can be unparalleled in its levels of professionalism and customer service, and more importantly, it is a constantly developing marketplace, making every day new and distinctive for those who work within it."

Simon Wheeler, MG Rover Group's Director of Company Vehicles, said: "We were delighted that David and Gordon Bush chose to call us so early in the process. We recognised that this was going to be an exciting and innovative fund-raising concept to benefit BEN, a charity we have always strongly supported. It’s a coup that our British MGs will be represented at every single franchised dealership in the UK and we look forward to playing our part in raising several hundred thousand pounds in the process."

To further raise the profile of this unique event, celebrities will be present at the start and finish lines, including Imogen Bailey, the Australian model and singer, and will attend the large number of independent charity events that are being hosted simultaneously up and down the country during the charity week, all of which are looking to receive radio and TV coverage.

The final totals will be calculated and presented at the BEN Christmas Ball at the Grosvenor Hotel, London on 8 December.

 

3 September 2004 - England POLO player doubles his horsepower with a new ZR!
Mark_Tomlinson.jpgEngland International Polo player Mark Tomlinson aims for more horsepower with the delivery of his brand new 54 registration MG ZR valued at over £14,000 at his home club, Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire.

Mark who is one of England’s best international polo players and last season won the British Open, the French Open and the Indian Open is delighted with his new MG ZR, part of a new sponsorship deal with MG Rover Group which will be supporting the World Championships in Chantilly, France in September with the use of two MG ZT-Ts.

Mark added: "I’m thrilled with my new MG ZR and hope that this is the start of a great relationship with MG Rover Group. Having achieved success on the polo field, it’s great to be associated with a great British sporting brand."

The MG ZR is the UK’s most popular super-mini, hot-hatch which has recently received new exterior and interior styling featuring new clear lens covered twin halogen headlamps that give a cleaner and more sculpted exterior form to the front, to the rear a new boot and bumper style, complemented by new alloy wheels and centre-line badging.

 

3 September 2004 - POP - gets Streetwise!
Pop-Streetwise1.jpgThe UK’s newest pop band, POP! are thrilled with their brand new Rover Streetwise cars. They took delivery of the new *54* registration cars valued at over £10,000, which they have had to celebrate the launch of their second single, Can’t Say Goodbye.

Having supported bands like Blue and Westlife on their UK tours, they’ve also been causing a sensation appearing at all the big summer road shows. POP! have already had a top 20 hit with Heaven and Earth and band members Jamie, Jade, Glen and Hannah chose the cars to reflect their streetwise and stylish image.

The Rover Streetwise is a tough small car designed to survive urban life. Raised suspension gives better ground clearance and a more commanding driving position making it fun to drive and easy to manoeuvre.

Band member Jamie added: "I’m so excited; I’ve only got a provisional licence so I’m lucky to be learning to drive in my own brand new car."

The band, who are on a nationwide tour to promote their new single are planning to launch an album towards the end of the year, and with so much touring they are all looking forward to travelling in the comfort of their new Streetwise cars.

To find out more about POP! visit their website : www.popofficial.com

 

3 September 2004 - Pinsent powers home in a Rover 75 V8!

Matthew_Pinsett_V8.jpgBritain’s triumphant Olympic Team GB arrived home on Monday afternoon to a rapturous welcome from hundreds of celebrating supporters at Gatwick airport.

The welcome home press conference and tearful family reunion, follows one of the most memorable British Olympic moments, when Powerhouse Pinsent, CBE and Four times Olympic Gold Medallist broke down in tears on the podium as he collected his fourth consecutive gold for his win in the men’s coxless fours.

On departure from the Meriden Hotel in his chauffer driven Rover 75 V8, Pinsent added that he was looking forward to getting home and trying to get a little quality time ahead of his hectic media schedule.

The Rover V8 incorporates a bespoke Monogram interior and is distinguished by a new exclusive front-end treatment with large grille, wholly reminiscent of previous V8 engined Rover cars. The Rover V8 marks the return of this illustrious derivative, first introduced as the archetypal Rover P5B.

The V8 derivative provides effortless performance to the Rover range. Available initially as a highly specified flagship derived from the Connoisseur SE specification, the bespoke interior brings new levels of luxury to a car already renowned for its inherent comfort and quality. The lavish trim specification is complemented by a prestigious new development of the latest 2004 Rover 75 exterior style theme, incorporating a new full depth radiator grille and imposing front bumper design.

The Rover 75 V8 has an On The Road (OTR) price of £31,995 for the Saloon Connoisseur SE and increases to £36,495 for the range topping Contemporary SE Navigation Pack.

 

22 July 2004 - MGR display at Farnborough Airshow!

 Farnboro2.jpgThe Farnborough Airshow is again being well served with displays from MG Rover Group with product arenas, a specialist chauffeur service and high-speed demonstrations along the main runway.

 

Visitors to the international event are greeted by product displays that include the latest Rover 75 V8 and MG XPower SV sports car.  The entire MG and Rover portfolio are displayed at key locations around the show ground.

 

VIP visitors to the show are personally chauffeured by a fleet of Royal Blue Rover 75 Saloon and Limousine cars, to a destination within the event, of their choice.

 

The afternoon air displays are initiated by a high-speed run of a specially prepared MG ZT-T V8 – believed to be the world’s fastest estate car – which is driven by Gwyndaf Evans at speeds approaching 200mph - before the parachutes are deployed.  The same car achieved 225mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA.

 

The Farnborough Airshow is on until Sunday July 25th.

 

4 July 2004 - "John Bull" buys a British Rover!
John_Bull.jpgRay Egan, otherwise the acting character figure ‘John Bull’, has recently taken delivery of a low-mileage used, but perfectly prepared and maintained, Rover 25 car from MG Rover Direct – the Longbridge based used car operation. Until now, Ray has been using a Longbridge-produced Metro for over 10 years.

Even before MG Rover Group’s independence in 2000, Ray has supported the cause for producing British-built cars at Longbridge and many other related UK promotional supported initiatives by taking on the character of John Bull – the epitome of ‘Mr England’ in his red tunic jacket, white jodhpurs and brown boots.

On collecting his car, Ray commented: "I’m delighted to be taking delivery of a British-built Rover 25, as my character John Bull simply wouldn’t buy anything else! I’m truly proud and very pleased with the beautifully pristine Rover car made by the skilled men and women at Longbridge."

Terry Hunt, general manager MG Rover Direct, said: "Ray, as John Bull, represents the epitome of Britain so it’s appropriate he should continue to drive the Longbridge-produced British Rover 25, and we’re absolutely delighted to see he enjoys his new car. For anyone looking for a used MG or Rover car, they can view our stock at www.mg-rover-direct.com and take a look at the selection we offer."

 

23 June 2004 - MGR Quizz Night?

MG Rover Group is holding a national ‘Big Birthday Quiz’ night, setting a challenge to raise over £100,000 for Macmillan Cancer Relief. Any team of four people can enter the quiz, to be held on the evening of Wednesday July 14, and the winning finalists will each win a new MG ZR or Rover 25 car.

The national ‘Big Birthday Quiz’ will test entered teams simultaneously throughout the network of regional MG Rover dealerships across the UK. Held at the time of MG’s 80th and Rover’s 100th birthdays, the quiz is thought to be the largest, non-televised, national event of its kind. Contestants will be competing to answer a broad range of general knowledge topics.

Phil Tufnell, the former England cricketer and current captain on BBC's 'They Think It’s All Over' and soon to be Presenter on ITV's 'Simply The Best', who recently raised many thousands of pounds for Macmillan in a Rover
supported 500-mile charity walk, is the event’s nationwide Big Birthday Quizmaster on the night.

Paul Stroud, UK Commercial Director, commented: “The Big Birthday Quiz is a great national event for us to also celebrate MG’s 80th and Rover’s 100th year, and combine with it the launch of our latest 2004 new car range. We aim to raise over £100,000 for Macmillan with this innovative quiz, that will see the final winning team members each win a brand new MG ZR or Rover 25 car.”

Teams of four can enter the national Big Birthday Quiz by registering at their local MG Rover Dealership before July 10. The team entry fee of £20 goes entirely to the Macmillan Cancer Relief charity.

Peter Cardy, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Relief, said: “We are delighted that MG Rover Group is celebrating their marque birthdays with this innovative nationwide event, with all monies received going to Macmillan Cancer Relief. There are now over a million people living with cancer in the UK and all funds raised from this event will go towards helping us to provide the expert care and emotional support that cancer patients so desperately need.”

Phil said: “I'm delighted to be working on this great initiative with MG Rover Group, supporting them to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief. The thought of being 'Question Master' for such a huge and worthwhile event makes me feel very proud and I am looking forward to continuing to work both with Macmillan and MG Rover Group. As some of you may be aware I lost my mother to leukaemia and understand the difference that a charity like Macmillan can make to people living with cancer.”

 

7 June 2004 - Longbridge Centenary Celebration - JULY 8 TO 10 2005
During the weekend commencing Friday July 8 2005, the largest ever gathering of Longbridge built motor vehicles will be amassing at Cofton Park, opposite the factory at Longbridge in South Birmingham. The event is being staged to celebrate and commemorate the founding of the Austin Motor Company and 100 years of continuous motor vehicle production at the Longbridge factory.

The event is being organised by the Federation of Austin Clubs, Registers and Associations in conjunction with Greenwood Exhibitions of Bromsgrove. Phoenix Venture Holdings Ltd (owner of MG Rover Group, Powertrain Ltd, MG Sport & Racing, XPart Ltd,etc) will be supporting the event, together with Footmanm James Classic Car Insurance.

The event will commence on Friday 8th with a celebratory dinner at the Chateau Impney, Droitwich, while on the Saturday and Sunday Austin and Longbridge built vehicles will assemble from all over the UK and further afield, for what is envisaged to be the greatest UK factory gathering.

Birmingham City Council has approved a parade of 100 Austin and Longbridge built vehicles spanning the one hundred years, from the earliest known surviving examples right up to the latest MG and Rover products, to drive in a procession from the heart of Birmingham, via the factory site and onto Cofton Park where they will remain on view as part of a display for the public.

It is planned to have the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Avro Lancaster Bomber PA474, the 'City of Lincoln' fly over the event during the course of the weekend to represent the time when, during the Second World War, Longbridge focused on military vehicle, armament, munitions and aircraft production (including Stirling and Lancaster bombers).

At the Park, visitors will be able to see many examples of Austin vehicles assembled by the 22 clubs affiliated to the Federation: stately Sheerline limousines, diminutive Austin Sevens and Minis, taxicabs, military vehicles, Devons, Cambridges, 1100s, 1800s, Maxis, Allegros, Montegos, sporty Austin Healeys, Princesses with their distinctive wedge front and even a replica Austin Whippet bi-plane from the 1920s.

The number of Austin vehicles participating in this strictly 'one-off' event will be in the thousands. This will be a once in a life time opportunity to view as many products from the Longbridge factory as are ever likely to be assembled together in one place.

Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity of browsing through some of the many autojumble and trade stalls, or may bid for their own Austin at the proposed auction. Whether enjoying a pint of 'Centenary Ale', courtesy of Hook Norton Brewery, or viewing the latest MG and Rover products produced at Longbridge, there will be plenty to interest visitors and enthusiasts. Other proposed events include a tour of the nearby Austin Village and Austin related site
s, and factory tours of the sophisticated Longbridge production facility.

 

25 May 2004 - Olympic Streetwise LE Supports Team GB
35607-e-rov-.jpgIn celebration of Rover’s Official Car Supplier status to Team GB and the British Olympic Association, a commemorative Olympic Streetwise LE model has been produced to combine with the team’s participation in the Olympic games in Athens.

The Olympic Streetwise LE incorporates all the high-level features of the ‘S’ specification that include body coloured internally adjustable door mirrors, anti lock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), electric front windows, steering wheel mounted remote controls for ICE with front and rear speakers and Black Monaco fabric sports shaped seats.

Available in either 3- or 5-door body styles, the 500 Olympic Streetwise LEs feature the high-output 103Ps 1.4-litre K Series engine. Additional equipment distinguishes the Olympic Streetwise LE, and includes front fog lamps, body coloured lower bumper inserts and 17" 6-spoke alloy wheels with 205/45 R17 Pirelli P Zero tyres. A powerful MP3 player is specified for audio entertainment and the Team GB Lion and Olympic rings graphic identifies this as a product of Olympic performance and exclusively available in the new Sonic Blue metallic paint finish, included within the £10,795 UK price.

Options available include, air conditioning, front passenger airbag, five-seat rear configuration, cigar lighter, driver’s seat height and lumbar adjustment, electric door mirrors, electric rear windows, electric sunroof, rear park distance control and a part leather seat upgrade.

 

12 May 2004 - MGR employees will be on the company's stand at the Motor Show!
More than 100 volunteer staff from MG Rover Group’s Longbridge headquarters will be on the company’s stand (9-140 in Hall 9) at the forthcoming Sunday Times Motor Show Live event, that opens to the public on 27th May, to assist potential customers with their interests in the new MG and Rover products. The team will include experts in the field of Product Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Aftersales, with senior management and personnel from other specialist areas.

The initiative follows a similar approach taken by the company at the 2002 Birmingham Motor Show, which was deemed a great success, and remains a rare activity among other major manufacturers. Staff work in teams of 25 and spend several days at the show on a rotating shift basis.

Colleagues who work at the Motor Show find it provides a useful opportunity for the company to get closer to its customers, providing staff with an insight into their product and service requirements. It’s also popular with show visitors, who can get a direct answer to requests and enjoy the more informed assistance.

The latest MG and Rover cars display includes the very latest ‘new-look’ brand identity. The lineage of new design style runs consistently across all models and includes new specification features and options. For visitors who desire the ‘live’ experience, the MG ZS 180 and Rover 45, which make their show debut, and the latest Rover 75 Tourer and MG ZT are available for the Show’s visitors to test drive in a special active assessment area.

 

6 May 2004 - Phil Tufnell aims to raise £250,000 in a 500 mile charity walk!
Phil Tufnell, the I’m a Celebrity star, came to MG Rover Group’s Longbridge headquarters to collect his distance no-object Rover support vehicles in preparation for the npower 500 - a 500-mile walk around the cricket grounds of England in his attempt to raise £250,000 for the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief, which cares for people with cancer.

The former England cricketer – now a team captain on the popular TV game show They Think It's All Over – will be walking to a total of 21 village cricket clubs and six Test Match grounds, starting at Hove in Sussex on Sunday
May 16 and finishing 28 days and 500 miles later at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on June 12, the Saturday of the final Test of England's npower series against New Zealand.

Phil is supported by five liveried Rover cars – two Streetwise (the urban on-roader) and three stylish 75 Tourer (estate) vehicles. Rover, as a brand, is celebrating its Centenary in 2004. While Phil is pounding the miles, the Rover cars will be supporting his pursuit in advanced scout and announcement duties as a mobile medical and support vehicle and for en route traffic protection patrol. Some of the Rover cars are being driven by Company employees who volunteered to support this worthwhile cause.

Phil said: 'The npower 500 is going to be my biggest test yet but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to. There are very few of us who are not affected by cancer and I have a very personal connection – I lost my mother to leukaemia and understand the difference that a charity like Macmillan can make to people living with cancer.

'I am really committed to raising as much money as possible knowing that it will help Macmillan Cancer Relief to continue their excellent work.'

Phil follows in the footsteps of cricket legend Ian Botham, whose own walks raised huge amounts for charity. Phil said: 'I’ve spoken to Ian about the event. He says I’ll be in a lot of pain with blisters and so on but he’s passed on a few tricks of the trade – including a secret ‘rocket fuel’ drink to keep me going when it gets really tough.'

Village cricket clubs have already been invited to get involved and many are throwing money-raising parties to welcome Phil as he completes each of the 28 stages.

Phil said: 'It's great to be taking in so many village cricket grounds – and very heartening to know that people are getting behind the npower 500 and looking to raise some money whilst having fun. Happy - but hard - days ahead, I think.'

Peter Cardy, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Relief, said: 'We are delighted that Phil Tufnell is undertaking this personal challenge on behalf of Macmillan. Four in ten people, during their lifetime, will undergo their own challenge of a cancer diagnosis and the need for cancer care services has never been greater. Money raised from the npower 500 will help provide the practical and emotional support which will change the lives of people living with cancer today.'

Steve Robertson, Head of Marketing at MG Rover Group, said: ‘We wish Phil every success in his attempt to raise considerable funds for Macmillan and are delighted to provide him with our support with five long-distance Rovers.’

People can visit www.npower500.com to follow Phil’s progress and donate money online to Macmillan Cancer Relief! Donations can also be made by cheque, payable to Macmillan Cancer Relief (npower 500) to Macmillan Cancer Relief (npower 500), 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UQ or by phone Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm 020 7840 4642.

NOTES:

  1. Macmillan Cancer Relief helps people who are living with cancer. In the UK, over a million people are living with cancer and four in ten people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. These figures are forecast to increase, and so will the demand for our services.

    As well as taking action today to support people with cancer, we’re shaping the future of cancer care. Our increasing range of services, including our Macmillan nurses and doctors, cancer care centres, a range of cancer information and even direct financial help for those who need it most, is funded entirely through the generosity of our supporters. Thanks to them, Macmillan provides the practical and emotional support which will change the lives of people living with cancer today – and tomorrow.

  2. For cancer information and support, contact the Macmillan CancerLine (Monday – Friday, 9.00am – 6.00pm) by freephone: 0808 808 2020, textphone: 0808 808 0121 or email: cancerline@macmillan.org.uk; or log on to www.macmillan.org.uk.
  3. npower is one of the UK’s top three energy suppliers and draws on 50 years experience in supplying electricity and gas. npower offers a range of essential home and business services including conveyancing, to 6.5 million customers across the UK. npower is owned by RWE Innogy.
  4. npower is a ‘Percent Club’ member - one of only around 100 companies nation-wide who invest more than 1% of its pre-tax profits into the communities in which it operates.
  5. npower is the sponsor of domestic Test Match cricket, Twenty20 tournament, Women’s Test cricket, Village Cup and is the lead sponsor of the Daily Mail Ideal Home Show. 2004 is npower’s 4th summer of Test Cricket and first summer of Village cricket.
  6. npower supplies renewable energy to more UK households than anyone else with its clean electricity product Juice and is the only supplier to offer electricity from renewable sources at no extra cost.

 

30 April 2004 - MGR teams up with a building society (Free R25 with a mortgage).

The latest mortgage offer from the West Bromwich Building Society and MG Rover beats the lot - a 'Rover 25' when you take out a 'Brum Brum' mortgage with the Society.  The offer is open to first time buyers and borrowers who re-mortgage to the West Brom - which is great news for anyone who wants a shiny new Rover 25 with their mortgage.

On top of a new car, the 'Brum Brum Mortgage' also comes with:

  • Free loan protection insurance for 6 months

  • No higher lending charge up to 90% LTV

  • Refund of valuation (max. £350)

  • Standard variable rate paid (currently 5.99%)

The new Rover car

  • Model – new Rover 25 (3 door 1.1i) hatchback

  • Technically advanced and lightweight K Series engine

  • 3 years extended warranty (or 60,000 miles -which ever comes first)

  • The 25 is Rover’s 25 best-selling model

Once a mortgage is completed, the customer is contacted by MG Rover Group to arrange colour, specification and delivery.

 

The only cost to the customer is insurance, road fund licence, a first registration fee, with the option to upgrade to a higher specification Rover car if required.  A redemption charge will apply to compensate the Society for early repayment of the mortgage.

Stephen Karle Group Services Director and Group Secretary, West Bromwich Building Society, said; "Through the combined forces of the West Brom Building Society and MG Rover Group, we are able to provide West Midlands homebuyers with the deal of a lifetime.

 

"For first time buyers it means they can now own both a new home and new car - something prior to this offer, many could only dream about.  It's also a great boost for MG Rover Group, the Midlands top car manufacturer supporting local industry and jobs."

 

Paul Stroud, UK Commercial Director, MG Rover Group, said: "This offer represents a unique value proposition for individuals, or couples, wanting a new house with ALL the trimmings – a new Rover car!  The concept to incorporate a new Rover car within a mortgage, is a class-leading product incentive and an industry first, that will be wholly supported by MG Rover Group.”

 

30 April 2004 - Green with envy as Blues midfielder collects ZT!
35441mg-.jpgWelsh International and Birmingham City Midfielder Robbie Savage has taken delivery of a new £25,000 MG ZT 190. Robbie, a recent owner of Bentleys and Lamborghinis, says: "I had some great cars in my time, but the ZT is the one that delivers at all levels. It goes like a storm, looks really striking and I can actually park it anywhere!"

Robbie chose a Green pearlescent paint finish, despite his obvious allegiance to wearing the Blues shirt. MG Rover Group is the platinum sponsor and official vehicle supplier for Birmingham City Football Club.

Terry Hunt, General Sales Manager at MG Rover Group said: "The MG is a great performance saloon and a good all rounder. We’re naturally delighted that Robbie has specified the ZT as his daily transportation and I know it will serve him well."

Note: The MG ZT range starts at £16,225 with the 120 and rises to a V8 powered 260 at £28,495, and available in saloon or ZT-T estate body styles.

 

 

27 February 2004 - JONATHAN PALMER CHOOSES MG
Having recently purchased Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park race circuits, MotorSport Vision is now the market leader in driving experience events and is already initiating substantial changes to revitalise the motor race circuits business for the future. MotorSport Vision is completely revamping its retail motorsport experience programme and has chosen MG Rover and its sporting brand MG to provide more exciting cars for its guests to drive at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park.

In the MG ZR and ZS models, motorsport enthusiasts will have a choice of two of the finest sporting car ranges available for their track day experience. They can then follow that up with high-speed demonstration laps in the latest rear-wheel-drive ZT 260 V8. Motorsport Vision has also selected the ZT 260 V8 for Course Car duties at race meetings and the ZT-T estate for a quick-responding Doctor’s Car.

John Parkinson, Managing Director, MG Sport & Racing Limited, commented: “MG, fundamentally a sports motoring brand, has a key role to play in the perpetuation of British enthusiasm for motorsport. This new alliance is a win-win for both parties, with the real winner being the enthusiast himself.”

Jonathan Palmer, Managing Director, MotorSport Vision, said: “The circuit driving experiences available to the public at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park are already popular with some 20,000 participants per year experiencing the thrill of driving on two of the most dramatic circuits in the world. Like MG, the names of all our circuits are steeped in British motorsport history and we share a commitment to build on our reputations for providing affordable driving exhilaration.”

“During our product evaluation process I drove both the MG ZR and ZS models at Brands Hatch and the driving experience was so satisfying even to me as a former F1 driver that I kept just wanting to do one more lap! I was particularly impressed by the chassis that provided great turn in on cornering with none of the frustrating understeer that can dog many cars on a circuit. Our instructors think the same so of course our participants in our new RaceMaster activities run at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park are having the thrill of their life!

“We will run around 150 race events at our circuits this year and as part of our drive to provide a more professional and entertaining show with a smart coherent presentation all MotorSport Vision circuits will have an MG ZT 260 V8 for Course Car duties and the ZT-T estate for a quick-responding Doctor’s Car.

“MotorSport Vision is delighted to be supported by MG as partner. To develop this interest with British product at great British circuits is a huge bonus, and is one that may even help identify another British Champion.”

A partnership of motorsport enthusiasts is the thread that runs through the entire MG car business. From its inception 80 years ago to the current day, MG has built sporting cars which enthusiasts can compete in and win. Its current products are regularly campaigned through MG Sport & Racing Limited in a number of motorsport disciplines that include rallying and circuit racing. MG ZRs won the GpN class in the UK round of the 2003 World Rally Championship, the Wales Rally GB, and MG ZSs won races last year and took eight fastest laps in the hugely competitive British Touring Car Championship.

The arrival of the MG XPower SV, itself a race-developed chassis using specialist composite light-weight materials has a clear competitive pedigree.

Promoting British talent is already an MG objective, with the recent MG ZR rally Scholarship programme, which is a unique opportunity for young drivers to win a drive in a competitive rally championship and, for the eventual winner, a drive in a works MG ZR rally car. A truly outstanding initiative.

MG has a larger worldwide enthusiast club following than any other brand (c100,000 members) and its products are either race-developed or proven on the track, with a continuous track development programme.

The arrangement with MotorSport Vision provides MG with a prominent presence at its four circuits; Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Cadwell and Snetterton. The ‘RaceMaster’ programme will use MG ZR and ZS road cars for the circuit driving days, which is expected to draw a potential of 20,000 people annually, to enjoy and learn motorsport at an elementary level. Hot lap demonstrations in the new MG ZT 260 V8 will leave any prospect wanting more.

John Parkinson, added: “Enthusiasm for motorsport is a key aspect in MG ownership, so to have a relationship with great British circuits in the UK is important to us. With the MG ZR the UK’s best-selling hot-hatch and the TF roadster the UK’s best-selling sports car, it makes perfect sense to support this enthusiasm for enjoying the thrill of driving.”

 

12 February 2004 - More WINNERS collect their cars!
BBC’S CHILDREN IN NEED WINNER COLLECTS HER STREETWISE CAR

Prize winner Mrs Anne Walker of Sudbury collects the keys to her gleaming new Rover Streetwise S valued at £12,000 and won in a competition to raise money for BBC’s Children In Need.

Readers of the Daily Mail entered the competition to win the Rover Streetwise S by calling a dedicated line leaving their name and telephone number; each call raised over 9p towards the charity. A winner was randomly selected on three consecutive days.

Mrs Walker said: "I’m delighted to have won the Streetwise car, while also helping to raise money for such a worthwhile cause and can’t wait to drive it. It’s come at a great time, my nephew has just passed his driving test so now I can give him my old car!"

____________________

THE GREAT BRITISH DRIVING TEST – WINNER COLLECTS CAR

TV’s ‘The Great British Driving Test’ proved to be one of the most popular battles of the sexes televised. Lucky winner from the show, Andrew Burnett of Braintree collects the keys to his prize Rover Streetwise at local MG Rover dealership Jones of Rayne from Dealer Principal Peter Jones and Jarvis Simpson, Regional Manager for MG Rover Group.

Andrew correctly answered the multiple choice questions asked on the show, sending his answers via text. His name was randomly chosen and he was called live from the studio. A final question was asked: ‘What colour are the cats eyes set between the motorway and it’s slip road?’. Andrew correctly answered ‘Green’ to be the winner of the new Rover Streetwise S valued at £10,295.

"I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the Rover," said Andrew. "I can’t believe I was so lucky to be picked. I was a little nervous at first but felt confident I knew the right answer and now I can’t wait to drive the Streetwise car."

____________________

WINNER IS HANDED KEYS TO HER STREETWISE CAR

Delighted prize winner Miss Katherine Cowey collects the keys to her gleaming new Streetwise, a new car by Rover valued at £9,295, at local MG Rover dealership Dutton Forshaw Blackpool.

Miss Cowey from Marton won the Streetwise in a nationwide competition run by MG Rover Group. Visitors to MG Rover showrooms throughout the UK were entered into a prize draw in which a Streetwise was won every day throughout November.

Peter McKiernan, Sales Manager said: "The chance to win a new Streetwise car every day, simply by visiting an MG Rover dealership has generated a lot of interest and is a great way to promote our new Rover model."

For further details on MG or Rover cars contact Dutton Forshaw on 01253 767811

 

10 February 2004 - Mr Stephen Jones wins a Streetwise
Delighted prize winner Mr Stephen Jones of Dallington from Phoenix Northampton collected the keys to his gleaming new Streetwise, a new car by Rover valued at £9,295 and won in the nationwide competition run by Rover.

Visitors to MG Rover showrooms throughout the UK were entered into a prize draw in which a Streetwise was won every day throughout November.

Nigel Austin, Sales Manager said: "The chance to win a new Streetwise car every day, simply by visiting an MG Rover dealership has generated a lot of interest and is a great way to promote our new Rover model."



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