I was too late to help save MG Rover. It was about two or three years after they’d gone, and even though the internet was (and still is) regurgitating endless piffle about head gaskets and John Towers, I found a new MG Rover I actually wanted to buy. The 75 platform was a decent design and in estate form looked good too, but the one I wanted was the one they never got round to making; The 75 Coupe. Just one was made for a motor show before it all imploded and it sits in the Octagon display room at Longbridge to this day (unless the Chinese have snaffled it) where I took these particularly bad photographs.

It sits over an oil drip tray, on slightly flat tyres, and no-one knows what to make of it. The grill has a recess a Rover badge, but the longship had sailed by then, so it gets an MG sticker. Some of the trim inside is a bit iffy. It’s a prototype, of course, but the potential is there. I was at Longbridge to look at the utterly dismal MG6, but left wanting this Coupe instead. The Chinese have quietly pulled all ‘production’ from Longbridge now, not even the knock-down kits arrive from China any more. And now I miss them. There, I’ve said it.

A big coupe is a brave shape to make but the 75 carries it off. It was never an overly aggressive design and the transition from four doors to two looks graceful. It sits in that spot where Rovers always should, sort of above the mainstream choices (BMW, Audi, that means you nowadays) but just below the slightly pricier Jaguars with their trying-too-hard-to-be-sportiness. The details are a smidge heavy-handed inside; Bright wood and quilted leather, for example, but it wouldn’t have been a big job to press a few two door shells and decorate it with standard 75 bits, mark it up and sell to misty-eyed Anglophiles, would it?

If they had made the Coupe, with the KV6 engine and a little turbo for shove or perhaps that Mustang sourced V8, I would have bought one with my own actual money. And if you agree with my typings, perhaps a few of you would have too. Together, we could have saved MG Rover.

Happy New year, by the way.

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