MG has announced plans to go to the Bonneville salt flats this summer with a much modified MGF to pick up the strands left on the salt after the ’50s record-breaking runs of Stirling Moss, GoIdle Gardner and Phil Hill. The latter was the last to streak across the flats in the famous MG EX181 and it is his speed, 254.91mph, that the team is aiming to beat.
The aptly named EX255 will be driven by Andy Green, holder of the world’s first supersonic Land Speed Record. He will take time off from his day job flying Tornados for the RAF to travel to Utah in August having previously put the car through its paces at an airfield in the UK. Though EX255 is recognisably an MGF, remaining largely true to the original’s structure from its cabin to its nose, there is a distinctly un-MGF power unit behind Green. Instead there will be twin supercharged variant of Rover’s redoubtable V8 producing around 800bhp and running through a six speed Hewland gearbox.
The reason approximately four times more power will be needed to exceed the old record by potentially a single mile per hour is that Rover’s marketing people insisted the car be based upon a road MGF rather than building a one-off teardrop prototype like EX181. Not only does this make the new car heavier, it has a markedly higher frontal area, and is therefore harder to push through the air. The other reason is that it seems possible that Phil Hill’s record is only an opening bid. If the salt is in decent condition EX255 could crack the 300mph barrier, some 460mph short of the 760mph achieved by Green and ThrustSSC at Black Rock. AF