The coupe by Christian Quarre was a personal favorite of both Phil Raby and David Knowles. Not only was the presentation clean and professional, the end result was felt to be truly desirable too, with simple elegance and neat detailing. Quarre successfully blended the modern 'machismo' represented by the MG XPower SV with classic lines in keeping with the 'new MGB GT' theme.
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All the judges were highly impressed by the superbly thought out entry by Adam Fairless of Nuneaton. The rear view was considered particularly brutal and purposeful, the interior renderings were impressively executed, and the classic spoked MG steering wheel was particularly inspired.
Daniel Durant's design successfully evokes the theme of the original MGB GT without looking retro.The designers were particularly taken by Durrant's cleverly contrived roof frame.
Italian Fabio Mobilio produced a sleek and almost menacing design with a hint of Audi about it. The design picks up on the practicality of the original MGB GT's ground-breaking 'sports hatch' tailgate, with a cleverly versatile rear window and dropping tailgate.
Jens Christian Møller from Denmark picked up on the most potent competition derivative of the MGB GT the rare Sebring MGC GTS. Møller's entry has many echoes of the classic racing MG, but is entirely contemporary in it's execution. The car has a slightly higher ground clearance to evoke an enhanced sense of 'lightness'.
Everyone was impressed with the all-round excellence of Brook Banhams entry, which picked up on themes seen in the MG XPower SV, such as the side louvers and squat, low stance. Neat touches included louvers in the centre of the bonnet and the MGB-like taillight clusters.
The entry from Michael Heasman from Sedgefield, County Durham, struck a chord with the younger MG Rover designers. Clever details included the simple side vent, and the neat use of colour following feature lines, suggesting the possibility of interchangeable panels.
American John Zajac's entry was inspired by the seminal Sebring MGC GTS, leaning towards the classic elegance of the archetypal British roadster and neatly bridging the gap between 'retro' and 'modern'.
Oct 9, 2003 - Since the rebirth of MG Rover in 2000, there has been a considerable growth in the MG enthusiast base within the new car market. Britain's MG World magazine ran its first design competition (with a fairly open brief) in 1998, when Gerry McGovern who had penned the 1995 MGF and the 1998 Land Rover Freelander was Chief Designer at what was then Rover Group.
The response was overwhelming, and the winning entry happened to be a design for a new MG Midget. In 2001, MG World's second competition was run and this time the judge was Peter Stevens, best known within the automotive design world for his connections with the Royal College of Art, and his work on classics such as the McLaren F1 and various Lotus and Subaru cars.
Stevens had only recently taken on the mantle of Design Director for the newly independent MG Rover Group, and he was a very enthusiastic supporter of the competition, which this time round had a more specific brief - to design a 'new MG Midget'. Once again the standard and a variety of responses was impressive, with a healthy mix of amateurs, students and professionals. "What we were looking for was a design that best met the brief, and while skill at presentation was important, it was not the be all and end all," explains David Knowles, consultant editor, MG World magazine.
The 2001 competition was such a success that the decision was made this year to run a third - but this time it was felt that a different theme should be called for. In the run up to the new competition, MG Rover unveiled Peter Stevens' new MG XPower SV, and this led the organizers to think of what a more affordable and less extreme MG coupe might be like.
2003 MG XPower SV
1974 MGB GT V8
Everyone remembers the seminal MGB roadster of 1962 to 1981 the car which dominated the sports car market for many years and eventually served as inspiration for more recent offerings such as the Mazda Miata/MX-5.
In 1965, MG also launched the MGB GT Coupe with a crisp Pininfarina-styled roof structure neatly grafted onto the curvaceous MGB body. The car offered an opportunity for an MGB owner to remain faithful to the marque when a family came along, with two nominal seating places and - a novel feature in 1965 - an opening tailgate (the term 'hatchback' had yet to be coined). The MGB GT was an interesting sporting coupe with Aston Martin overtones and helped extend MG sales in a new direction.
Peter Stevens comments on the design brief: "It is worth remembering that in just two steps, MG had moved from the thirties styling of the M-Type and J2 to the MGA and then again to the MGB both were strikingly brave moves at the time. It is important to imagine that MG would still like to take big jumps. Youve got to know its an MG that is surely crucial but it mustn't just be a retake of the MGB GT as it was."
Today, while MG saloons in the form of the ZR, ZS and ZT ranges sell strongly, MG sports car sales are confined to the MG TF (a Stevens-penned facelift of the MGF) and the premium-priced SV, and so there is clearly a potential gap for a 'modern interpretation' of the MGB. So this was the brief for the new MG World competition: to consider a modern interpretation of the MGB GT concept.
David Knowles: "Despite the fact that many of us at the magazine love classic MGs such as the MGA and MGB, we are not a bunch of retro-fogies and we appreciate good design as much as the next person. We were determined therefore that our successful designs should be genuinely modern. The potential difficulty was the fact that at the same time we wanted the design to have recognisable MG traits - not always easy to reconcile while seeking to avoid the retro trap."
The competition was launched in the summer and the judging panel have chosen six finalists - whose efforts are shown here. "A great deal of interest came from readers of Car Design News", explains David Knowles,"and we gratefully acknowledge the enthusiastic support from the CDN team as well as the wider Car Design News community. MG Rover has also been extremely generous in supporting the competition, which we feel could well become an annual or biennial event."
The final steps are underway, and in November the finalists will be invited to MG's home at Longbridge where they will meet Peter Stevens and have a tour of the MG Rover factory. During that visit, the overall winner will be chosen - a nerve-biting process for the chosen few. Those of you who wonder how this competition might be helpful to your careers should note that one of the judges was a semi-finalist in the first MG World competition, and he now works as a designer for MG Rover.
MG World website: www.chpltd.com/mgworld