In Kafka's Metamorphosis a man turns into a gigantic cockroach overnight. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe MG ZT changed from front wheel drive to rear - and grew a V8 - but does it carry a price that will bug you?
John Belushi's Samurai character on SNL had limited communication skills, choosing to speak mostly - and most hilariously - through his sword. Yesterday's 1988 Suzuki Samurai also didn't seem to speak to many of you, its price proving requisite of further slashing before it could escape its narrow 54% Crack Pipe loss.
The history of
Chinese British Automaker, MG seems to go back almost as far as that of the rapier-wielding Samurai warrior, but despite that few of the company's cars could ever be considered cutting edge. By the early days of the last decade MG had become a pale ghost of its past glories - little more than a trim option on Rover's sedate 75. But then someone decided to give that car a proper Viking hammer.
The last British-built MGs, as represented by this 2004 260 ZT-T estate wagon, eschewed the willowy sports car aesthetic for romper-stomper badassitry. The original Rover platform upon which this car is based was designed for the application of a transverse front-wheel drive drivetrain, under the tutelage of then owner BMW. It's surprising then to learn that this MG isn't a milquetoast but is instead a proper express train estate, sporting as it does a Mustang GT 4.6-litre V8, five-speed gearbox, and a Prodrive-designed rear-wheel drive conversion.
That's right, this is a compact V8 wagon with a stick. Quick, somebody get the smelling salts for all those who just swooned. Along with the switch from dragger to pusher - made possible by a flexible platform inherited from the Germans (don't mention the war!) - it also benefits from upgrades to the 4-wheel disc brakes and a suspension made harder than a week-old crumpet.
On top of all that, this MG wagon comes in electric blue. . . I mean purple, wait it's blue again - arrgghh, stop moving! At any rate it has fancy-pants paint. It also rocks quad exhausts, and a deep front valance pocked with round driving lamps and a gaping grille opening covered in road debris-shedding mesh. Other than that its visage is kind of q-ship but one that still might stick out on the highway due to the fact that it's THE ONLY ONE IN THE COUNTRY.
Its undiluted Britishness may be its downfall as public and political sentiment towards illegal aliens in the U.S. is at an all-time panties in a bunch. Pile on top of that the fact that should you jump into the driver's seat of this ZT-T you'll be confronted not by its fat, leather-wrapped three-spoke tiller, but a glove box and parcel shelf. That's because the Brits inexplicably demand that the passenger do all the driving. Of course they needed help kicking Hitler's ass too so it's really not all that surprising. The rest of the interior is awash in dead cow with blue bird of alcantara accents, and as the knob of its 5-speed requires you to be a left-hooker, you're going to need to learn to fap with your right. Nearly every other option a modern car can have seems to have been dumped on here as well, right down to a big screen in the dash. One wonders, considering its original market, whether, if that's a Sa- Nav, would it view the United States in its entirety as ‘Off The Tarmac' or if it contains maps for something other than just finding a proper cuppa'.
Speaking of putting miles on, there's only 28,000 of them on this MG's clock, which suspiciously is the exact distance from MG's former Birmingham factory to the seller's Florida dealership- as the crow swims. Those low miles mean this car looks to be in pretty pristine condition, the notable exception being some curb rash on the alloy wheels and a window tint that might require a backwards cap to be seen with.
If you, or anyone, wants to put more miles on this naff MG, then somebody's going to have to figure out how to keep the Feds from playing their patriot games and sending this Brit to the crusher. The seller claims that this blue meanie was at one time a press car, and was also once owned by MG's CEO. Its price is not requisite of a C-level income however, as the seller is asking a newly lowered $19,900 for the honor of being the modern equivalent of Benedict Arnold in the attempt to champion this British invasion.
This car is completely mental, and buying it may mean a real barney with the Colonial Magistrates, but think about it - it's the last of the British MGs, it has a stonkin' big V8, and its three pedals makes picking gears as easy as your nose. That's all wrapped in a wagon body that's admittedly no Kate Middleton, but thanks to that won't attract the cops like it was covered in donuts. Sure it would take a pretty big pair of gentleman's tackle to make this beast legal here in the U.S., but the bigger concern right now is how big a wallet the prospective buyer should also be packing. What's your take on this Brit Writ large? Is $19,900 a price that would make this MG worth fighting for? Or, does that make this a Rover that should never have come over?
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