Can Al really be lusting after an MGF?


Author: Alastair ClementsPublished:

Is it just me, or are MGFs starting to look rather tempting and, dare I say it, 'classic'? The reason for this revelation is that someone down the road from me has just bought a completely standard, very early F – not a common thing, with most having been adorned with all manner of aftermarket aberrations.

I walk past this little flat-red 1.8i every morning on my way to the park, so it has more than once been the subject of my dog-walking ruminations. I've always liked MX-5s, and often thought that one might be my next cheap runaround, but this F has got me thinking... could I? Would I?

Yes, I know the K-series motor is a little, er, 'sensitive', but I'm reliably informed that its head-gasket woes can now be cured, and I realise it is a bit girly – but arguably no more so than the Mazda. And there are plenty of pluses: the Gerry McGovern-penned shape still looks really fresh (to my eyes much better than the sharper-edged TF that replaced it), it's practical, characterful and insanely cheap.

We're talking here about a sweet-riding, excellent-handling and pretty sophisticated 120mph-odd sports car that can be picked up in fair nick for well under a grand. Don't believe me? Just have a look at the online classifieds.

I can even talk from some experience here because, a few years ago when I worked for C&SC's sister title Autocar, I ran a new TF 160 Trophy as a long-term test car for a few months. Apart from the bizarre driving position, awful cabin quality and hard ride (not applicable on earlier Hydragas cars, of course) it was a genuinely sweet thing, with a flexible engine and great poise. My then girlfriend (now wife) absolutely loved it.

Actually, perhaps that's the answer: buy my wife an MGF, safe in the knowledge that I can swipe it whenever I want because she's usually in her Mum-taxi – and then I can get around any 'hairdresser' jibes with a simple response: "It's my wife's car, I'm just borrowing it." And grinning all the way...



Great write up Al,

But I would still prefer the MX-5 simply because if I was going for the hairdresser look I would like to go all the way and buy the MX-5.


K series can be sorted. A Kiwi Roger Fabry aka 'Sabre Heads' he can help there. Did all the work on the X power heads and some for Lotus.

He also was involved with the 1.4 turbo MGF which went on the salt flats for the land speed record.

Col O'Firth

Its the kind of car that doesnt carry the same hairdresser stigma outside of the UK. British chic and all that.

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