The MGF when new was a much-praised car and for good reason but its reputation became unfairly tarnished due to overheating issues. The MGF (and pretty much anything else with a K Series engine) does have a tendency for head gasket issues due to overheating, but that was a design fault, and long since solved.
Now, this has been addressed you’re left with a car with a mid-mount engine, fantastic suspension and handling that can be more than a match for modern sports cars.
The majority of parts of easily available and the engines are strong and deliver great power. Coupled with lovely lines penned by Steve Harper these are great cars and we believe a ‘modern classic’.
Development of the MGF actually started in 1991 and completed in 1995. The car was a mid-engined design and used the highly advanced K Series engine which went on to power the Lotus Elise to great effect.
Once launched, the MG-F was available with a 118bhp 1.8 16-valve engine, along with the VVC version which packed 143bhp. The motoring press fell in love. In 1999, when Rover offered a 1.6 version and an even more powerful (160bhp) 1.8 it became a quick and agile sports car.
What You Need to Keep in Mind
Like any older car, there are issues to be aware of and classic car clinic understands where these are and how to remedy them. However, don’t be put off by this. If you’re looking at an original MG-F and it’s running and on the road, the chances are it’s had all the work done. However, it never hurts to check the following.
The key one is of course the head gasket. The K Series head gasket was a weak point in any car the engine was fitted to, but that weakness was amplified in the MG-F due to the engine being in the middle. The cooling system simply wasn’t able to deal with it correctly. If you’re looking at one, you need to look through the history to see if it’s been replaced with an improved product and way to apply it too. Check the cooling system for leaks, look in the expansion tank and oil for any sort of mixing, and check the car gets up and stays at a reasonable temperature.
The Hydragas system can fail and leak, meaning the car will drop down low. These can easily be ‘pumped’ back up however many owners opt to convert to standard suspension if the Hydragas fails altogether. Again Classic Car Clinic can attend to these mechanical issues on any MGF.
If the roof isn’t in perfect order there are plenty of companies who can sell parts or complete roofs.
What Should I Pay?
Right now prices are low but that won’t be the case for long. The MG-F is one of those cars that people are starting to take notice of and prices are increasing. A really good one starts from as little as $10,000 but later TF limited edition examples with very low mileage are not uncommon in the ’20s and ’30s. Classic Car Clinic can advise on the purchase of an MGF, source or sell the car.
Why Should I Buy One?
Because it’s a wonderful little car. Yes, it had something of a reputation for failing and for head gasket trouble. But that is in the past and if you’re looking at an MG-F in 2020, the chances are it’s been looked after.
Buy an MGF and you’ll fall in love with the way it looks, the way it drives and the way it makes you feel. It’s a fun, happy, and very drivable car with an MG badge.