RV8 - destined to be a classic from its launch
to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the MGB, the RV8 was destined to become
a classic from its launch at the 1992 British International Motor Show. The
new MG - codenamed ADDER - was developed by the Special Products team based at
Gaydon and based on the MGB Heritage bodyshell with subtle bodywork modifications
and a luxurious interior. Under the bonnet the RV8 was powered by a 3.9 litre
V8 with a modern engine management system and Lucas injection engine delivering
190bhp at 4,750rpm through a five speed gearbox and limited slip differential.
Telescopic dampers replaced the original lever arm units but the faithfull live
axle remained. The new model has a lower, sleeker appearance through a clever
combination of suspension and styling changes whilst still maintaining the unmistakable
character of the classic MGB.
White Gold 0030 on the Rover stand following the launch of the RV8 (Photo:
Woodcote Green 0810 seen at a V8 Gathering at Hazeley Heath in
August 2002. This reimported Japanese spec car is owned by Graham Bartholomew
in Berkshire - note the vents adjacent to the indicators which supply air to the
air-conditioning system. (Photo: Victor Smith)
RV8 cockpit is luxurious with leather upholstery and an elm burr
veneer dashboard (above) and door trims and cappings (below).
At first sight the RV8 appears simply a restyled MGB but under the bonnet it
is a very modern car with a sophisticated electronic engine management system.
To carry out routine engine tuning it is necessary to connect an electronic diagnostic
package available to MG Dealers called Rover Testbook
or T4. This limits the maintenance the DIY enthusiast is able to carry out without
this sophisticated equipment.
The RV8s produced for the UK market did not have air-conditioning as standard
and in place of the air vents for the AC system adjacent to the orange indicator
lights, spot lights were fitted. (see below).
Caribbean Blue 0437 seen at a V8 Gathering at the Shoulder of
Mutton on Hazeley Heath in August 2002. This good looking RV8 is owned by Bill
Ratcliffe from Sussex. (Photo: Victor Smith)
specification RV8s have the air-conditioning equipment in the passenger legwell,
reducing the legroom quite considerably. Many UK members remove the AC equipment
on acquiring a reimported RV8. The AC equipment can be seen below. (Photos: John
As more and more of these
cars reach enthusiasts' hands, there is a much greater interest from owners in
understanding the model's maintenance and servicing requirements and learning
from the experience of fellow members. The V8 Register of the MG Car Club recognised
this need and has developed a very successful series of RV8
Workshop Notes contributed by its members. This series is now recognised as
the leading source for RV8 maintenance tips and spares information. Copies are
available to members in the UK. For membership of the V8 Register and copies
of the notes, contact the V8 Registrar, Victor Smith on 0208 392 9434 or at
to pay for an MG RV8?
For an article on RV8 prices, click What
to pay for an RV8.
Blue 1595 seen here in Tokyo, owned by Lance Bennett. (Photo: Lance
This note is part of the Classic Power Profiles from the V8 Register -
the leading specialist group for MGV8 enthusiasts. The V8 Register is part of
the MG Car Club. Buying
an RV8 Guide to
the model and what to look for. More
in motoring magazines
RV8s have sold very promptly on this webpage
A group of
V8 enthusiasts listened to John Yea and David Bishop relate what had inspired
the RV8 development team to do what was an extraordinary low budget project -
creating a modern classic sportscar to keep the name of MG alive as a modern brand.
It was fascinating tale. Peter
Buckles chaired the event and commented "projects like that just don't
happen like that any more". The availability of MGB bodies from the
BMH Body Plant and fuel injected V8 engines clearly were the essential inputs
but it needed enthusiasm and imagination to make it happen. Many of our V8 enthusiasts
contributed to the project including Roger Parker, the late Trevor Taylor, Ron
Gammons and of course Peter Buckles and his team at the leading specialist parts
supplier, Moss Europe.
John Yea said "I don't think a retro
type car built in an old body will be seen again - manufacturers don't keep old
tooling any more - it's just binned, gone for ever!" He related how tracing
the tooling for the RV8 project was a key part of their work. Timing too was a
factor for vehicle conformity - another six months or so and the RV8 might not
have met the increased "drive by" noise limits - it was that close!
You can get a copy of the recording of this talk, give in June 2003 as part
of the V8 25th Anniversary events. The recording is available on CD or DVD.
RV8 Talk RV8
price guide RV8
RV8 VIN numbers
Reimporting an RV8
V8 Register of the MG Car Club, PO Box 888, London SW14 7YT