For some months now, many people have been aware of the fact that the MG Division of British Leyland will, in the very near future, cease production at Abingdon and that the marque will then either be put onto a variation of another Leyland car or, as is much more likely, disappear altogether. Quite probably it is already too late to do anything, if in fact public opinion could have any effect on this corporate giant which seems to manage to find ever new ways to astound its by its ability to get things into a muddle, but half a century of success cannot be allowed to be thrown away without comment.
Much of the talk these days centres around the extremes of the “New Mini’ and the “New Rover”; the one; if Leyland survives long enough to put it into production, almost certain to be as much of a loss leader as the current version, and the other plagued by constant difficulties on the assembly line. Somewhere, lost in the shuffle, is one which to most people is nothing more than a sports car. In fact the MG is much more than that. While their quality saloons and tourers have been allowed to die, MG has always stood for motoring that was safe, fast, and affordable. The success of the car in racing, established in the ‘thirties, still persists today in spite of the neglect heaped upon it for the past decade. Sonic of the international Class records set by MG before the War still stand to this day.
No amount of enthusiasm could bring me to say that the MG is the best sports car to be had. It is not, nor has it ever been. But is is a standard, set for us by men with vision who wanted to create something of lasting value that everyone could enjoy. Can it be right that others of shorter vision can allow this thing to end in favour of allot her car notable only in its resounding lack of success? I refer to the TR7 which is being heavily out-sold by the 4-year-old MGli and is taking money out of our pockets even faster than the profitable MG can put it in. And please note that although the MG is no longer available on the Continent, much of this valuable profit is cooling in the form of much-needed foreign exchange.
If this letter is published, I know that it will be read by only a few, and that of those who read it, fewer still will be forthcoming with any serious response. This is really not important anyway because, as I stated before, I.eyland is most unlikely to be influenced. What does matter is that someone will have spoken out before a part of our motoring heritage is lost to us forever.
Aldingham GEOFFREY PFLAUMER
(A few, Sir. You may get a surprise. –Ed.)