The MG Car Club Sydney MG F & Modern MG TF Register

Robert Ingham is The MG Car Club Sydney’s MG F & Modern TF Registrar.

Contact him:

Telephone: 0412 275 788

Email:  rfingham@bigpond.com.au

Development and Evolution of the MG F and Modern TF

When it was decided in 1990 at Rover to plan for a new MG Sports Car there were three concepts considered.

  1. Front engine, front wheel drive , based on the Maestro
  2. Front engine rear wheel drive using the 3.5.litre V8
  3. Mid mounted transverse engine rear wheel drive using the K series engine

As MG have always been ‘parts bin’ vehicles, that is, as many parts from other vehicles in the corporate range at the time are to be used. The mid engine fitted in well with this strategy, as there were no rear drive trains in the parts bin.
The design utilised Metro sub frames both front and rear. The front to carry the suspension and steering gear and the rear one carrying the mid mounted engine , drive train and the suspension. This had the added advantage that the suspension, being so compact fitted in beautifully with the mid engine configuration.

The rear subframe had to be reworked for optimum suspension geometry as it basically was a Metro front one turned around. The use of these existing Metro sub frames brought with them that car’s Hydrogas, unequal length all independent double wishbone suspension with geometry ideal for a sports car.

The Hydrogas was considered ideal as in a little sports car there is a higher than usual potential for the car to become unsettled on rough surfaces, as it offered low pitch rates.

The Evolution of the MG F up to the Release of the TF

With sales of over 77,000 makes it one of the best selling MG 2 seaters, after the MG A, MG B and the Midget.
The Original MG F : 1.8i and VVC (1995-1999): Launched in 1995 as two models – the 1.8i and VVC, which possessed power outputs of 118 bhp and 143 bhp respectively. The engine was the 1.8 K series, 24 valve, DOHC, fuel injected.

An example of a 1999 MG F – Note the black windscreen pillars

This is the Most Recognizable feature of the early models

The VVC had the variable valve control head, making it one of the very few MG’s to have exclusive use of an engine.

Standard equipment was good for this class of car, mid engine configuration, Hydrogas suspension, an evolvement of the Hydrolastic of the 1960’s, which gave an excellent ride and good roadholding, electric power assisted rack and pinion steering, initially on the VVC and later to become standard on the 1.8i in 1998.

Also the obligatory 5 speed gearbox, disc brakes all round, full instrumentation, electric windows, heated external mirrors, air conditioning, plus remote central and dead locking. The VVC had a higher level of trim and 16” wheels against the 1.8i’s 15”

The Abingdon LE (Spring 1998 UK) was a limited edition run based upon both the 1.8i and the VVC. This featured full beige leather upholstery, extra chrome work and the stainless steel grill and unique body paint colour. Also standard were a new 6 spoke 16” wheels.

The 75 LE (March 1999) was launched as a celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the MG car company. This mirrored in many ways the Abingdon LE with again unique body paint colours and with leather upholstery and hood fabric in contrasting colours. There were the chrome highlights, 16” wheels and with Silver being offered as a new exterior colour.

Mk2/MY2000 ( 1999-2002) Autumn (UK) of 1999 saw the launch of the much improved MY2000, which has now become known as a MK2.

Easily recognised by having the windscreen surround painted body colour instead of black as previously. But there were many more changes – adjustable steering column, electric operated external mirrors, new seat design, silver instead of cream instruments faces and changes to many aspects of the interior trim and switches.

The MY2000 MG F – which has become known as the MK 2

Apart from all the hidden changes listed above – the only visible difference is the windscreen pillars in body colour. The body contours are exactly the same.

The front indicators now had smoke clear lenses instead of orange. Mechanically there were also many differences, upgraded ABS, respecified EPAS.. The engine management was now MEMS 3 up from 2.6 ,which visually means that there is now no distributor and the coils sit on the spark plugs. There are also many other mechanical modifications and improvements.

The 1.8i received 8 spoke Minilite style wheels and the VVC 16” 6 square spoke design. There seemed to be this fascination with redesigning the road wheels.

MG F Steptronic (2000 to Feb 2002) Introduced a little after the MY 2000 models, the Steptronic received a technically advanced continuously variable automatic transmission – CVT. This includes, apart from the central gear change, a paddle shift on the steering wheel: either enables the gearbox to be operated as a six speed sequential change manual gearbox. When BMW sold MG Rover, the gearbox became known as Stepspeed as the Steptronic name was owned by BMW.

The Wedgewood SE (July 2000) the first limited edition based on the MY 2000. the car comes in a new colour – Wedgewood Blue – and includes leather seats, CD player, chrome accessories and 16” Multispoke wheels and a rear deck spoiler.

The Trophy 160 (May 2001 –Feb 2002) so named because of the retuning of the VVC engine producing 158 bhp (160ps) It has lowered and stiffer suspension, 4 pot callipers on larger discs at the front. Also a front splitter and the rear deck spoiler, with restyled head lights plus a new style 16” road wheel – again.

It was offered in bold colours, Trophy Yellow and Trophy Blue. The interior has highlights in these body colours in the seats, door trim, console and steering wheel.

The MG F 1.6i (May 2000) Launched at the same time as the Trophy. Designed to be a cheap entry model and was very much despecified, especially on the interior fitments. None were know to be sold in Australia.

In early 2002 the Modern TF was introduced with ‘Normal’ suspension and other modifications The Hydrogas suspension was dropped as it was replaced in the other models in the corporate range, and it was uneconomic to make the units only for one car. Strange as it might seem the TF’s suspension is not a modified ZR/ZS set up but a redesign of the F suspension, utilising coil springs, and not being as compact as previously, the design required an extensive modifications, so it still seems to be different, but most probably cheaper.

Development and Evolution of the MG F and Modern TF

When it was decided in 1990 at Rover to plan for a new MG Sports Car there were three concepts considered.

  1. Front engine, front wheel drive , based on the Maestro
  2. Front engine rear wheel drive using the 3.5.litre V8
  3. Mid mounted transverse engine rear wheel drive using the K series engine

As MG have always been ‘parts bin’ vehicles, that is, as many parts from other vehicles in the corporate range at the time are to be used. The mid engine fitted in well with this strategy, as there were no rear drive trains in the parts bin.

The design utilised Metro sub frames both front and rear. The front to carry the suspension and steering gear and the rear one carrying the mid mounted engine , drive train and the suspension. This had the added advantage that the suspension ,being so compact fitted in beautifully with the mid engine configuration.

The rear subframe had to be reworked for optimum suspension geometry as it basically was a Metro front one turned around. The use of these existing Metro sub frames brought with them that car’s Hydrogas, unequal length all independent double wishbone suspension with geometry ideal for a sports car.

The Hydrogas was considered ideal as in a little sports car there is a higher than usual potential for the car to become unsettled on rough surfaces, as it offered low pitch rates.

The Evolution of the MG F up to the Release of the TF

With sales of over 77,000 makes it one of the best selling MG 2 seaters, after the MG A, MG B and the Midget.

The Original MG F : 1.8i and VVC (1995-1999): Launched in 1995 as two models – the 1.8i and VVC, which possessed power outputs of 118 bhp and 143 bhp respectively. The engine was the 1.8 K series, 24 valve, DOHC, fuel injected.

The VVC had the variable valve control head, making it one of the very few MG’s to have exclusive use of an engine.

Standard equipment was good for this class of car, mid engine configuration, Hydrogas suspension, an evolvement of the Hydrolastic of the 1960’s, which gave an excellent ride and good roadholding, electric power assisted rack and pinion steering, initially on the VVC and later to become standard on the 1.8i in 1998.

Also the obligatory 5 speed gearbox, disc brakes all round, full instrumentation, electric windows, heated external mirrors, air conditioning, plus remote central and dead locking. The VVC had a higher level of trim and 16” wheels against the 1.8i’s 15”

The Abingdon LE (Spring 1998 UK) was a limited edition run based upon both the 1.8i and the VVC. This featured full beige leather upholstery, extra chrome work and the stainless steel grill and unique body paint colour. Also standard were a new 6 spoke 16” wheels.

The 75 LE (March 1999) was launched as a celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the MG car company. This mirrored in many ways the Abingdon LE with again unique body paint colours and with leather upholstery and hood fabric in contrasting colours. There were the chrome highlights, 16” wheels and with Silver being offered as a new exterior colour.

Mk2/MY2000 ( 1999-2002) Autumn (UK) of 1999 saw the launch of the much improved MY2000, which has now become known as a MK2.

Easily recognised by having the windscreen surround painted body colour instead of black as previously. But there were many more changes – adjustable steering column, electric operated external mirrors, new seat design, silver instead of cream instruments faces and changes to many aspects of the interior trim and switches.

The front indicators now had smoke clear lenses instead of orange. Mechanically there were also many differences, upgraded ABS, respecified EPAS.. The engine management was now MEMS 3 up from 2.6 ,which visually means that there is now no distributor and the coils sit on the spark plugs. There are also many other mechanical modifications and improvements.

The 1.8i received 8 spoke Minilite style wheels and the VVC 16” 6 square spoke design. There seemed to be this fascination with redesigning the road wheels.

MG F Steptronic (2000 to Feb 2002) Introduced a little after the MY 2000 models, the Steptronic received a technically advanced continuously variable automatic transmission – CVT. This includes, apart from the central gear change, a paddle shift on the steering wheel: either enables the gearbox to be operated as a six speed sequential change manual gearbox. When BMW sold MG Rover, the gearbox became known as Stepspeed as the Steptronic name was owned by BMW.

The Wedgewood SE (July 2000) the first limited edition based on the MY 2000. the car comes in a new colour – Wedgewood Blue – and includes leather seats, CD player, chrome accessories and 16” Multispoke wheels and a rear deck spoiler.

The Trophy 160 (May 2001 –Feb 2002) so named because of the retuning of the VVC engine producing 158 bhp (160ps) It has lowered and stiffer suspension, 4 pot callipers on larger discs at the front. Also a front splitter and the rear deck spoiler, with restyled head lights plus a new style 16” road wheel – again.

It was offered in bold colours, Trophy Yellow and Trophy Blue. The interior has highlights in these body colours in the seats, door trim, console and steering wheel.

The MG F 1.6i (May 2000) Launched at the same time as the Trophy. Designed to be a cheap entry model and was very much despecified, especially on the interior fitments. None were know to be sold in Australia.

In early 2002 the Modern TF was introduced with ‘Normal’ suspension and other modifications The Hydrogas suspension was dropped as it was replaced in the other models in the corporate range, and it was uneconomic to make the units only for one car. Strange as it might seem the TF’s suspension is not a modified ZR/ZS set up but a redesign of the F suspension, utilising coil springs, and not being as compact as previously, the design required an extensive modifications, so it still seems to be different, but most probably cheaper.