One of the many unfortunate consequences of the MG-Rover Group’s demise was the curtailment of an ambitious competitions programme that had re-established the famous MG marque as a major force in international touring and sports car racing. The basis of this resurgence was a series of high-performance road models, at the pinnacle of which was the sensational MG XPower SV Coupé.
The basis of MG’s new supercar was the shelved Qvale Mangusta project. MG entrusted the exterior design to Peter Stevens, the renowned Royal College of Art designer responsible for the McLaren F1, the last Lotus Elan, Jaguar’s XJR-15 and BMW’s 1999 Le Mans winner. Unveiled at the UK Motor Show in 2002, MG’s new high-performance XPower SV flagship was styled in the modern idiom yet retained sufficient styling cues from MG Rover’s production cars to remain recognisably related. It can have surprised few onlookers when Stevens won the Autocar ‘Designer of the Year’ award in 2002.
The MG XPower SV was powered by a 4.6-litre quad-cam Ford V8 engine, whose 320bhp was transmitted via a Tremec five-speed manual gearbox and BTR limited-slip differential. Underpinning the SV was an immensely strong steel box-frame chassis (with integral roll cage) fabricated by Vaccari and Bosi in Modena. The bodyshell was constructed of lightweight carbon fibre and the resulting excellent power-to-weight ratio enabled the SV to sprint from rest to 60mph in 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of around 165mph. Such superlative straight-line performance demanded nothing less than the very best by way of supporting components, and the SV did not disappoint in this respect, being equipped as standard with Brembo competition-specification brakes and OZ 18” split-rim wheels. Assembled in the UK at MG Sport & Racing, every SV was individually built to personal customer order, with prices starting at £65,750.
First owned by MG-Rover, this car was sold to the current vendor in an incomplete state due to the liquidation of MG cars as chassis .150 – missing the interior and unregistered shortly after the Group collapsed. The vendor then sent the car to be trimmed at KJ Ryan , who were the original trimmers for the SV cars during the MG era.
Having covered a mere 500 miles from new, and complete with UK V5 registration and a current MoT until December 2016 this ultra-rare SV represents an exciting opportunity to acquire an example of the fastest car, racers and record-breakers excepted, ever to carry the famous octagon badge.