Attending the relaunch of the MG TF at Longbridge got me wondering: is it possible to successfully relaunch a car after a long pause?
Alfa restarted manufacture of the deleted Giulietta Sprint in the early 1960s when the succeeding 1963 GTV got off to a slow start, Lancia stalled the Monte Carlo while it developed a second-generation version with less terrifying brakes, and there have been cast-off cars, such as the Vauxhall Victor and Hillman Avenger, that reappeared in far-flung countries after they disappeared at home.
But for one make – MG – this stunt has been pulled twice. Admittedly the RV8 of the early 1990s was more than simply a reincarnated MGB, what with its V8 engine and part-resculpted body, but it was a B at heart, launched more than three decades after the original.
We’ve only had to wait a tenth of the time for the re-emergence of the TF; production halted abruptly in April 2005 when MG Rover went under. This time the car is barely changed, though, as MG’s owners Nanjing hope to rekindle some of the demand that made this car Britain’s best-selling small roadster from its launch to its enforced demise.