The MGF is one of the most significant MG-badged models of the last 30 years, being the brand’s first mid-engined roadster as well as the car that brought MG back with a bang. And yet the MGF is also one of today’s biggest modern-classic bargains, despite having a loyal following from both enthusiasts and specialists alike.
With between 118bhp and 143bhp on tap, the MGF’s performance came from a 1796cc version of Rover’s K Series engine. Most powerful of all was the VVC, featuring variable valve timing and a top speed of 131mph, plus a 0-60mph sprint time of only 7.6 seconds.
Don’t be put off by the fact the MGF used modified Metro subframes and Hydragas suspension. The latter helped ensure the ‘F offers the best ride/handling compromise ever seen in an MG two-seater. In any case, raiding the Rover parts bin for the MGF made financial sense, as well as being pretty much in tune with Cecil Kimber’s early beginnings!
Nowadays you can spend as little as a few hundred pounds buying an MGF. But what happens once you’ve acquired your ideal example? Happily, there’s no shortage of aftermarket goodies to help make your MGF uniquely yours.
An exhaust upgrade is one of the most cost-effective ways of adding some extra performance, and there are plenty of different specs available. The stainless steel Scorpion Performance Exhaust isn’t the cheapest option (at £305) but it is effective; speak to the MGF Centre if you’re tempted.
The MG Owners’ Club offers an array of performance mods to suit all budgets, kicking off with the Power Boost Kit (which replaces the original fuel pressure control valve for better throttle response) at £100 and the ITG Induction Kit (replacing the existing air filter system and boosting power by a claimed 17bhp) at £348. For those with much deeper pockets, the Club offers a choice of high-performance cylinder head kits, starting in price at £1798.
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Keeping your MGF’s Hydragas-based suspension in fine fettle is essential, with companies like MGF Cars carrying out the all-important ‘suspension pump’ from as little as £40; should you need them, Brown & Gammons sells a range of Hydragas replacement parts. If you fancy an upgrade though, the MGOC offers its own MGF Suspension Kit H054 as an alternative to Hydragas, coming complete with all four suspension units and dampers for an all-in cost of £795.
On the braking front, high performance pads and discs will make a noticeable difference. The MGOC stocks its own slotted front brake discs at just under £90 per pair (or EBC slotted and dimpled discs for the ultimate braking performance, at £153 per pair), plus EBC Greenstuff performance front brake pads at £44 per set.
One of the biggest complaints with any roadster is the amount of wind buffeting when driven at high speed, and the MGF is no exception. Spending just £107 on a tinted transparent Windstop from the MGF Centre will be money well spent. The same company also offers a range of smartly trimmed seats in either leather or Alcantara, ranging in price from £660 to £720 per pair depending on spec – seats are fully reupholstered and sold on an exchange basis.
David Manners stocks a range of colour-coded fascia kits for pre-1999 MGFs, priced at just over £105 each, while Rimmer Bros. will sell you a handbrake gaiter and a gear lever gaiter (both leather and available in a choice of colours) from £39 and £37.50 respectively.
There’s plenty you can do to smarten the appearance of your MGF. Most specialists, for example, stock new hoods in a choice of specifications to suit different budgets. The MGF Centre offers new hoods from as little as £300, while its top-of-the-range soft-top (at £696) comes complete with a heated glass screen for a touch of luxury and extra practicality. Rimmer Bros. offers the XPower Sportster Hood, which also features a heated glass window and is available in a wide range of colours, each one priced at £830.
If you fancy upgrading the wheels on your car, the MGF Centre stocks a wide range of alloys, starting from just £48 each for a used 15- or 16-inch wheel, rising to £135 each for the handsome 16-inch TF160 eleven-spoke alloy. David Manners, meanwhile, sells a range of accessories that includes MGF boot lid spoilers (at £143 each) and a choice of boot racks starting in price at less than £70.