Let me stop you right there. We know that MG is usually associated with either a slow rot-box from the 70’s, or a tarted up variant of the Rover 25/45/75, but the SV is a different kettle of fish altogether.
On paper it shouldn’t look like it does. When you learn it has the headlights from a Punto and the rear lights of a Fiat Coupe, you expect a hotchpotch of cars parts akin to a bad Ferrari replica. But when you also learn the design was penned Peter Stevens, the man that brought us the McLaren F1, Lotus Elan M100 and the Jag XJR-15, it starts to make sense. Now beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but by God just look at it! .
The SV started life when MG took control of Italian company Qvale Automotive and acquired the rights to the Qvale Mangusta (below) on which the SV was to be based.
The SV was taking shape under it’s X80 project name and the car was transformed from clay model to driveable car in just 300 days, which in hindsight explains why it wasn’t a commercial success.
The base SV was armed with a modest 320bhp from it’s 4.6 Ford V8 but it was still an expensive car (£65,000) due to the extensive use of carbon fibre to keep it’s curb weight down to a smidge over 1500kgs. This equated to a dash to 60 in 5.3 secs and a 165mph top end. Many versions were planned but never materialised, including a nitrous oxide kit bolted to a 5 litre V8 for 1000bhp and a near-as-damn-it top speed of 200mph.
The 2004 SV-R featured a tuned 5 litre 32-valve V8 with 385 bhp and a top speed of 175 mph with a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds, and cost a whopping £83k.
The SV-S version used the 4.6 litre engine but was fitted with a supercharger to match the 385 bhp of the 5.0 litre versions. Only three were made.
In 2007, William Riley bought the rights from the MG Rover administrators and continued production of the model and relaunched it as the MG Xpower WR, treating it to a supercharged, 504bhp engine. Five were sold before the current owners of MG Rover, the Nanjing Automobile Corporation, filed legal proceedings over the use of the MG name, and they won the suit in 2010. Shame.
Today an SV can be yours for under £30k, and we’ve found an example with just 10k miles on the clock, or if you fancy going a bit cuckoo, the actual prototype is for sale at £45,000. In between, there is an SV for sale for £37k, with 5 (five, yes five) miles on the clock.
Love it or hate it, you have to admire it for it’s antithetical appeal.