£500 Chal­lenge

MG ZR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Contents -

THE STORY SO FAR Miles driven 25 To­tal mileage 79,872 What’s gone wrong Let me just fetch the list of MoT ad­vi­sories…

CHRIS HOPE Things were quiet on the MG front un­til fairly re­cently. I drove it to Ox­ford­shire with pho­tog­ra­pher Stu­art Collins to meet MGF owner Carol Bradley, and Mid­get 1500 owner Roy Lo­cock, for last is­sue’s head-to-head fea­ture, but aside from that, there’s not been a lot worth men­tion­ing. No news is good news, as it were…

Speak­ing with ed­i­tor David Simister fol­low­ing its visit to Kim­ber House, though, re­sulted in the de­ci­sion to put the ZR through its MoT early – it’s still very much a CCW project car, but there are a num­ber of par­ties who are in­ter­ested in what it’ll be do­ing once it even­tu­ally va­cates th­ese pages. With this in mind – and al­most a year since we be­gan re­port­ing on our £500 bar­gain – we de­cided to get an in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment of its over­all state of health. It failed, but not spec­tac­u­larly. In the end, the phone call with Dave Drew of Ex­press Au­to­care in Peterborough (01733 352352, ex­pres­sauto­care.co.uk) was pleas­ingly straight­for­ward. The head­light aim on the driver’s side was too low and it was im­pos­si­ble to ad­just it back within the le­gal range. This was re­solved by re­plac­ing the head­light clus­ter. And, hey presto – a clean bill of health for an­other year.

The ad­vi­sories aren’t too se­ri­ous ei­ther – it’s a rel­a­tively short list with no­table en­tries in­clud­ing a slight seep­age from the power steer­ing pump and weak front shock ab­sorbers. Not bad for a £450 car that hasn’t rested much in our hands.

The prize for our MG ZR not dis­grac­ing it­self ar­rived in the post sev­eral days ear­lier. Read­ers will re­mem­ber that our hunt for a proper MG ZR grille be­gan three months ago. A Rover 25 spares car do­nated its bumper to our ZR in the in­terim, as its chin had been scuffed dur­ing a mi­nor traf­fic in­ci­dent. But while sourc­ing a ZR grille isn’t dif­fi­cult, find­ing one in the right colour proved to be more of a chal­lenge; the cost of re­spray­ing a grille to match our Bri­tish Rac­ing Green car far out­stripped the cost of the grille it­self. Our patience was fi­nally re­warded when Mr S spot­ted one on an in­ter­net auc­tion site. Down to us for £45, in­clud­ing de­liv­ery.

Hav­ing re­turned from Ex­press Au­to­care, I set about un­do­ing the pair of plas­tic screws that se­cure the Rover grille be­fore un­clip­ping it from the bumper. It was then a sim­ple re­verse process of fit­ting the MG with its mar­que-cor­rect grille. And what a dif­fer­ence it’s made, spot­ting it in the car park, I have to check the reg­is­tra­tion num­ber to make sure it’s our bar­gain MG. This is partly be­cause I’d got so used to its Rover grille, but mostly be­cause, in a sud­den fit of über gen­eros­ity, I did that rare thing of treat­ing it to a thor­ough clean.

Reg­u­lar read­ers may re­mem­ber how ashamed I was when I took the MG to its last car event – the May meet­ing of The Great North Road Ve­hi­cle Gath­er­ing at Stib­bing­ton Diner. It’d been parked up un­der a tree be­fore­hand and looked ter­ri­ble as a re­sult, and since then I’ve been determined to clean up the MG’s act.

After its cos­metic surgery it’s fi­nally at a point where we can take it to shows, know­ing it’ll pick up ad­mir­ing glances rather than baf­fled en­quiries.

Up on ramps at Ex­press Au­to­care for its pre-MoT in­spec­tion. Solup­tatur, eaque que et eni­hilia con­estrum que se­quodis si uta­tia A deep clean and new grille have re­stored the ZR’s old sparkle.

Out with the old – this is the last time you’ll see our MG wear­ing a Rover 25 grille. In with the new – the MG badge may be faded, but this proper MG grille is the cor­rect colour.

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