Best RV8 Mods Survey Report
Roger Aldridge
The idea of carrying out this survey was borne out of a discussion of V8 Register members attending a visit to the British Motor Heritage site in Witney. As is often the case when a group of car enthusiasts get together the discussion is around the pros and cons of their cars and their experience. I have had this conversation countless times at MG events, it is part of the pleasure associated with the whole classic car ownership experience. I suggested to Victor Smith that we should survey these thoughts more widely to get RV8 members' views on their experience of what modifications seemed to improve the RV8 as I thought the information gained would benefit both existing and potential owners.

From that discussion has grown our web based survey and this, the report on the initial findings. I say "initial" as I think it may be improved and revisited over time as more experience is gained and new mods are developed. This is also far from a comprehensive list of mods that owners have completed. For example one of the mods on my car that I found most rewarding was to stop the dashboard "creaking" (caused by the steering column rubbing against the dash and simply fixed by some spacer washers), a fix shared via the V8 Register's Bulletin Board by Michael O'Brien in Australia! So I am sure there are other mods not mentioned here that could be added. Anyway these are the top 40 gathered through suggestions posted on the V8BB in late 2012.

As the author of the report I don't claim to be an RV8 expert. I have actually owned two RV8s over the last ten years or so. In fact I have owned my current RV8 twice (1722 Oxford Blue above). When I first owned her I was "seduced" by an MGC Roadster and sold her to Mike, an enthusiast from Essex. Eighteen months later the MGC magic had worn off and I wanted to return to RV8 ownership. I looked at a couple of cars for sale, then by sheer luck saw Mike advertise 1722 on the V8 website. We agreed a sale the same day. I have stayed in touch with Mike and with Simon from Yorkshire who I purchased the car from originally, and both of them have done the same thing - regretted selling and bought another RV8 afterwards! How weird is that? My theory on this is that in many cases "classic" sports cars aren't always as great to drive as they look, and that the reverse is also true. I have owned two stunning looking MGCs but they were a pain to live with, broke down etc. and eventually had to go. The RV8, whilst looking at times "plug ugly", is always such a brilliant car to drive, totally reliable and actually very rare. And for me it is the driving experience which is the most important part of sports car ownership, if I don't get a great smile every time I take her out something is wrong, and it is in achieving that driving experience that leads me to mods.

Originality vs mods

Anyone who has been around the classic car scene for a while will know that this subject raises great discussion and (sometimes) emotion. For many the whole point is to own a car in its original state for an original driving experience. I don't subscribe to that! For me modifying the car to make it better is a positive benefit and if it adds to my enjoyment then job done. You will see from the picture of my own car that it sports

sports nonstandard three part 16" alloys. They were put on by the first owner in Japan. I have only ever seen them here on Lotus and similar breeds, so I like them. I wasn't sure at first, and they can be a pain (I had them refurbished which involves breaking them apart and then rebuilding, and they leaked air for months after requiring several reseals), but on balance worth the effort. It is a personal thing. Cosmetic. However I think some mods are simply essential. Power steering! I said I had owned two RV8s, the first car (M307 XWS Oxford Blue where are you now?) I bought from Chris at HS Imports about ten years ago, before the power steering mod was available. I found the car just too heavy and annoying. I kept it for a year, sold it and within 12 months saw the new MGOC kit come on the market! So I returned to RV8 ownership and had this fitted immediately. I think it transforms the car, absolutely worth the money (about £2,300). But that's just me.

What I hope you have here is a slightly less subjective view of the current mods available as at 1 February 2013. There are 40 rated by the survey participants in total (full list at the end). We received 25 members' surveys completed and I am indebted (again) to Victor for the design and operation of the actual survey. All I have tried to do is pull together the results into a readable report which I hope you will both enjoy and find useful. See the full report

Posted: 130209

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