Lowest Mileage in Existence? 1995 MG RV8

Here’s a car we don’t talk about often: the 1995 MG RV8, a sort of curtain call for the MGB over a decade after it ceased production. These limited-production convertibles were visually sympathetic to the original MGB, but updated with a new interior, a 4.0L Rover-sourced V8 and a wider stance and revised suspension. They were built in limited numbers and quite pricey when new, with most cars going to Japan. This example here on eBay UK  has just 687 kilometers, making it likely the lowest-mileage in existence. First-year models (1993) are 25 years old as of 2018, making earlier examples legal for U.S. importation. 

Personally, I love these things. I never found the original MGB particularly intriguing – they made too many of them – but I find this modern refresh on a tried-and-true classic to be very appealing. The interior was thoroughly upgraded, with acres of wood trim, leather and a gorgeous three-spoke steering wheel. Feeling far closer to a Jaguar XJS than anything resembling an original MGB is not a bad thing, and the added performance is certainly appreciated as well – they could hit 60 m.p.h. in under six seconds. As you can see, this mothballed example retains an as-new interior with no obvious defects.

The bodywork is also quite sound, and those beautiful basketweave mesh wheels hide a set of discs up front and drums at the rear. Surprisingly, this was not a big seller in the U.K. despite the country’s affinity for MGBs. It was introduced in the post-recession economy and far from cheap. Weak response at U.K. car shows was disappointing, but it found favor with Japanese buyers who placed the bulk of the initial early orders. Even to this day, many of these RV8s still reside over there. Spares are somewhat difficult to come by, particularly items like the tail light lenses that were specific to the car.

Interior controls were quite simple, if not rudimentary. But that’s fine, because even with the obvious emphasis on luxury, this remains a simple car underneath. While some parts may be harder to track down, Rover can still address the bulk of the mechanical bits and fanatical MG suppliers can take care of the rest. With the emphasis on creating muscle cars that look like the originals and re-using iconic names for new models that fail to honor the legacy of its forebears, the RV8 feels like one of the few recreation projects that gets the details right while still being a marked step forward from the original.

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Comments

  1. Adam T45 Staff

    I really like this. It looks familiar enough that you can tell that it’s an MGB, but the styling is different enough to tell that it’s not just any old MGB. The color is really attractive, and the color-matched bumpers don’t look out of place compared to the rubber bumpers that marred the last of the original MGBs. The interior speaks of an earlier era for English cars where the materials were sumptuous, but the styling was understated.

  2. Dolphin Member

    I saw one of these about a year ago, RHD and looking about as good as this one. A nice middle aged couple got in a drove off, and I assumed it was imported from the UK, but perhaps from Japan.

    It sounded really good as it started up and drove off, and I thought it could be a really good answer to those who wanted an original V8 in an MG.

    Except…..I just can’t go for a RHD car in a LHD world. But a quick online search shows that some of them have successfully been converted to LHD……discussed in one of the prominent online MG clubs/sites.

    • Tony C.

      Dolphin, you need to come to Australia and bring your LHD car and try driving in a RHD world, it’s no big deal, it’s all in the mind. We regularly get over 250 50’s to 70’s LHD cars out on an ‘American Only’ cruise night. We don’t give a right hand converted ‘Yank Tank’ a second look as it’s no longer original. Anyone who converts an American car to RHD usually gets shunned along with a few nasty remarks, (You should have left it ‘left hook’ now you’ve spoilt it, now it’s lost it’s value, they were never made like that, etc. etc.)
      It’s great to be different from the rest of the ‘herd’ on the roads.

      • Pete

        “all in the mind” except when faced with a car park barrier, especially in the rain in a cabriolet!

        I have a RHD in Switzerland (LHD land)

      • Adam T45 Staff

        I was at a friend’s mechanical workshop yesterday. He was working on a ’66 Mustang (my favourite model). I was really glad to see that it was still left-hand drive. On a car like that originality is important.

        Anyway, if you’re on the wrong side of the car it’s no big deal. If you start to pull out to overtake another car and your passenger starts screaming, then it’s probably not safe!

      • Alan (Michigan) Member

        Wasn’t it for a long time basically illegal to have a LHD car in Australia on the road for any but “show” use? I always thought that the cottage industry which did the LHD to RHD conversions was pretty secure. I did hear that the embargo on daily driving LHD was changed a while back. Still, a car that was swapped a couple of decades ago was then just following along with regulations, yes?

        Would love to hear the actual story on this subject.

    • Kevin Sellwood

      Have to agree with Tony C, driving on the other side of the road is no big deal. In the UK it’s just a hop onto the cross channel ferry or through the tunnel and you’re in France. When you arrive in Calais just get in and drive, simples, I’ve driven thousands of kilometres (miles) on the continent never had a problem, same for the French coming to the UK.

    • Dave

      Dolphin you are 100% correct. Driving a RHD car in the US ( or any LHD country ) is dangerous. I drove one for several years, maybe a total of 40-50,000 miles.

      When you are in a line of traffic, or even behind one car, you can NOT see what is in the oncoming lane when you want to pass. ( let alone behind SUV’s, Vans, or trucks )

      Being in a low car like a B, only makes it more dangerous.

      • Pete

        I have been driving my RHD Lotus Elise in Switzerland (LHD country) for 11 years without incident!

      • Dan D

        I agree, and it’s made worse in the US by the ‘quality’ of the drivers we have. I haven’t driven in Australia but have in the UK and Europe, and the quality of the drivers is uniformly better, as are the roads. And there’s a lack of monster pickups and SUV’s driven by people focused on their make-up, hair, eating or phones. No thanks.

      • Tony C.

        So what you’re saying Dave is driving a LHD drive car in a right hand drive country is also dangerous? If so why aren’t they banned from the country then? The USA has 1 1/2 million RHD postal delivery vehicles, if the postie can do it why can’t everyone else, it’s no biggy? When behind other cars in a line your passenger can see past other cars/trucks for you, in the suburbs you do the speed limit so no need to pass, if it’s a bus it will stop at a stop and then you pass. In all those miles did you ever have a crash? No, couldn’t have been too bad then ! In Oz the insurance claims are 5 times LESS than the general fleet for LH drives when comparing averages, safety isn’t an issue. It’s all in the mind of the driver, you just feel vulnerable when you’re not used to it, after time it’s no big deal and you don’t even think about it and enjoy the drive. I’ve been swapping from left to right daily for 24 years and I still enjoy it, even look forward to it just to be ‘different’, it’s also easier and nice to talk to other drivers at the stop lights!

  3. txchief

    I think your math is a little off.

    • Carl Sagan

      It’s the conversion from euro time which is metric to U.S. time which isn’t.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Apologies – this should have indicated that if you were to buy a first-year model (1993), that would be eligible for importation under the 25 year rule.

      • Adam T45 Staff

        Thankfully in Australia we don’t have the issues with age on imports that the US have. However (and isn’t there always a however?) any cars imported into Australia are subject to inspection by Border Protection. If they find (or even suspect) that the car may contain asbestos in brake or clutch linings, or in any gaskets on the car, they have the right to impound the car and order an inspection and decontamination at the owner’s expense. That may not sound too bad, but these inspections start at around $10,000 and depending on the findings, a full inspection and decontamination can cost up to $24,000! And if an owner seeks an inspection and there is no asbestos found? The owner is still liable for all costs and has no legal recourse to seek compensation from Border Protection.

    • Dolphin Member

      A 1993 M.Y. car would be eligible for US importation in 2018, BUT….the rule is, it needs to be 25 years old from date of manufacture based on the year and month it was produced, not just the year.

      So to import a 1993 model, you would need to determine the month of manufacture in 1993 of that particular car based on the VIN, and then count 12 X 25 months from that.

      And I also believe it has to be 12 X 25 months old, i.e., that last month completed, not just reached.

      There are US Gov’t websites that talk about this. Best to study them, and then get the car documented, such as a letter from the manufacturer stating the year and month of manufacture of the particular make / model / VIN car.

      • Jeff Lavery Staff

        Excellent points – thank you.

  4. Salvador Dali

    It just seems that it has been longer than it is.

  5. Mark T

    1995 + 25 = 2020 Either your math is wrong or the model year is 1993 which would make it legal to import this year. If it is a 1995 then it won’t be legal tis 2020.
    Nice car, probably worth the wait!

  6. Ron

    2020 will be 25 years…

    • Captain Obvious

      D’oh!!

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Obviously I write for a living. Math was never my strong suit. Let’s move on, now, the post has been updated. Personally, I find talking about the car way, way more interesting. But that’s me.

  7. Reg Bruce

    @ Carl Sagan:

    Very droll, sir.
    Very droll indeed.

    RB

  8. pat gill

    I had an RV8 for a few years, thought it would be a bit crude and poor build quality but in fact it was a very nice, quick car, only missing PAS,Electric windows and central locking, most of these can easily be retro fitted these days, I converted mine to spoke wheels (MGC or TR6) and 195 tyres, did not need PAS then,

  9. BOP Guy Member

    I really like it ! Great to see what the MG’s evolved into. But for $69,000 American (not to mention shipping), there are other toys I’d choose first.

  10. glen

    It has a TVR Chimera look to it, atleast in the front,a very nice looking car.

  11. Shane

    I have to agree with Glen on the cost, if you think 69 thousand US is high. I’m Canadian, that works out to over $90 thousand here. There certainly are other toys I would buy, like a 1967 Austin Healey. Change still left over for a 1983 Defender 110 updated.

    • glen

      That was BOP Guy, not me. Credit where credit is due!

  12. Tony C.

    Adam T45, The problem with the Border Protection clamp down on asbestos is that the rules have been in place since 2003 and it’s only taken them 15 years to start enforcing them ???? Something is highly fishy about the whole thing and it’s hurting all of the car importers here in Oz. I know Kim at West Coast Classic Imports in SA has stopped importing, Graham Shiels in Whyalla has been hit with a $7000 fine and numerous others have been seriously impacted by the whole thing. Since we no longer manufacture cars here you’d think there would be less problems importing but the rules are tougher now than they’ve ever been for some unknown reason ?? There’s a distinct smell of fish coming out of Canberra !!! Perhaps someone needs to do a bit of fishing in high places. How many old Fords and Holdens are running around our roads with asbestos in the brakes and no one gives a damn about them?

  13. Ian C

    Personally, I have never liked MG’s. I will not bad-mouth them though. We all have our own preferences.

    Anyway, I now have to say I would own an MG. This one is killer looking! And like it or not, it would be getting an engine swap if it sat in my driveway.

  14. PeterK

    a friend of mine has one of these in France.

  15. chad

    like Beemer did to Morris’s Minor
    “up-grade”, “on steroids”, ‘bulked up”, etc

  16. Rube Goldberg Member

    Meh, this looks exactly like where the MG would have went. All plastic and bloated. While it remarkably still retains it’s MG looks and probably a fantastic car to drive, it would never replace what my ’71 MGB was for me. People loved vintage MG’s, like me, for what they were. Simple, fun, dependable cars, that’s right, you heard me, dependable, almost a quarter mil on mine before it broke in half. Maybe I’m alone, but give me an old ( rust free) MGB( probably a GT, because I’m old now) anyday.

  17. Pete

    I never knew these were even made. I think it is a loverly car. Only thing bothering me is the short floor board on the passenger side. Looks like you would only be able to sit there if you wore a size 6 shoe and were not over 5’4″. A rover engine huh? Is that anything like the Jag engines of that era? If so I will pass.

  18. Barry Barnes

    Although this looks a lot like an MGB, it emphatically is not one. The MG RV8 started production around a decade after the “B” ceased. It only shared 5% of its parts – and, despite its similarity in looks, no body parts. It was a beautiful car that was luxurious ly done.

  19. Tony C.

    Alan (Michigan)
    In 1966 all LHD vehicles were banned in Aust., up until then we had a lot of LHD Jeeps and Reo and Studebaker trucks left over from the war, they had to have a sign on the back stating ‘Caution left hand drive, no hand signals’. In early 1990 the car collectors petitioned the Gov. and they were allowed again but without the sign on the back and had to be under 4 1/2 tons gross weight and over 25 years old, that’s gradually changing in each state now as buses and trucks become more collectable. Out of about 150 cars in my club over 120 are LHD, (Cadillac La Salle Car Club), but we take any USA produced vehicle plus a few British and European cars as well, as long as it’s collectable, no ‘modern rubbish’ !

    • Alan (Michigan) Member

      Thank you!

  20. Bobinott

    Regarding the safety of “other side drive”, I drove a RHD Jaguar sedan in Canada for most of the 1980s. Yes, it required a different approach to some driving situations, but it was neither more nor less safe overall. In fact, I would suggest that many classic cars require us to adapt our driving in order to mix with modern traffic. I know that is the case with my Citroen 2CV. Despite having only 30 bhp I even manage to overtake on 2-lane roads if the situation calls for it. But that overtake takes a completely different technique, accelerating in my own lane, closing on the car to be passed, and then popping out at the last second, to minimize exposure in the oncoming lane. Very different from “pull out and unleash 340 bhp”.

    • Pete Jones

      Bobinott, I agree 100%! It’s good to read someone else who clearly has real experience driving with the steering wheel on the wrong side.

      I confess, I do appreciate the acceleration of the Elise when overtaking (152 bhp in a 600kg car), I do remember scary moments overtaking in my earlier vehicles which had much less umph, even with the steering wheel on the right side:)

      • Tony C.

        Pete, sadly I have to question the bit about the steering wheel being on ‘the wrong side’, it’s totally dependent on the country you are living in at the time you make the statement. (I get it all the time when out in my ’62 Imperial but usually make a joke out of it and everyone’s happy), it’s all good fun. You can have some quite good conversations with other drivers at the stop lights when they’re in a RHD and you’re in a LHD, met some quite nice people that way.

  21. mat

    apparently this one was imported back from Japan.

    • Tony C.

      Be extremely careful buying cars out of Japan, the mileage on the speedo in virtually all of them is highly, highly questionable. In Australia a few years back there were 100’s of Mitsubishi Delica 4WD people movers coming in, all with extremely low Kms. on them until someone did a bit of research and found the Japanese were winding the speedos back big time on nearly all of them, the electronic odometers were being reset to a much lower number. The argument was that Japan is a small country so vehicles didn’t travel all that far, GARBAGE, they were almost double what the odometer read in most cases, my diesel blew a head gasket in just over 52,000 kms.? and the engine inside had done a lot more than what it showed on the outside once we got it apart, more like 252,000kms.

    • Pete Jones

      Tony C, For the past 17 years I have been living in mainland Europe (6 years in NL and 11 years in CH with my UK (RHD) car and am sharing my experiences.

      What exactly are you questioning?

  22. Tony C.

    Pete, I’m questioning what is the ‘right side’ and what is the ‘wrong side’ and the answer comes down to which country you live in and what side of the roads everyone drives on, nothing more. In my opinion there is no correct answer. I keep getting told by so called ‘experts’ that the steering wheel in my 62 Imperial is on the wrong side, I say NO it’s on the left side but in the US where it came from it’s the right side I then get some funny looks and they walk away shaking their heads, it’s all good fun.

  23. Pete Jones

    Oh, okay, that’s not really a valuable discussion for me so I will pass.

    The Elise has the steering on the wrong side as it is a UK car (RHD) and I live in mainland europe (LHD). Simple really

  24. Carl Sagan

    So, now all that’s left to determine is who’s on first?

  25. bog

    No longer an issue. Car no longer available. But, food for thought: Jeff Beck, yes THAT guitarist Jeff Beck of the “Yardbirds” etc fame, has a whole host of US hotrods that are LHD, as originally made. He loves them and drives and works on them himself. Somewhere on the web are interviews of him talking about his cars and driving in England. Apparently, no problem for him. And you can bet he doesn’t drive slowly !

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