This year, MG’s XPower sub-brand has enjoyed an unlikely resurrection. The company’s new, SAIC-owned form revived XPower for a sporty version of the MG4 EV, packing 429bhp from a dual-motor powertrain. Yes, it’s fast, but it’s rather a lot more sensible than what the old version of MG whipped up to kick things off for the brand.
No longer under the watchful eye of BMW, which would probably have nipped anything so daft in the bud, MG decided to acquire Italian firm Qvale and turn its Mangusta (a car that was originally to be sold as the De Tomaso Biguá) into an XPower halo car.
Peter Stevens, exterior designer of the McLaren F1, was drafted in to pen a whole new carbon fibre body for what would become the MG XPower SV. The production process for the shell was convoluted, with the panels formed in the UK and sent off to Italy for assembly with the steel box-section frame, before coming back to the UK to be finished at Longbridge.
As was the case with the Qvale, power came from a 4.6-litre Ford Modular V8, with 320bhp offered in the base car and 385bhp pushed out by the Rousch supercharged version in the SV-R.
The price was £65,000, which doesn’t sound too bad until you adjust for inflation, and find out that’s close to £115,000 in today’s money. The SV-R was £85,000, which works out nearer £150,000. That’s a lot for a car that relied heavily on the Fiat parts bin for its finishings, and one that an Autocar review once described as having an “all-pervading smell of glue” in the cabin.
MG managed to make 82 of these before going into administration in 2005, so they’re not the easiest things to get hold of on the used market. When we saw that Iconic Auctioneers - formerly Silverstone Auctions - had one going under the hammer, then, we immediately wanted to take a look.
It’s chassis number 154, which is a 2004 SV-R. Originally it was a dealer demo car for Phoenix Preston and remained owned by MG Sport & Racing Ltd until the collapse of MG Rover. The following two owners are said to have been “associated with MG Rover.”
It’s covered a mere 10,669 miles in its left (let’s face it - you’re not going to daily this car daily), and has a Starlight Silver exterior finish complemented by a black leather interior. The estimate is £55,000 - £65,000, which puts it in Porsche 718 Cayman territory, but for something rather more interesting, if considerably more flawed.
The auction will take place at the NEC Classic Motor Show on 11 November.