A drive down memory lane
The keeper of the Hong Kong MG register, Simon Clennell, says he was interested to see our picture of the 'sad-looking' green MGB in Pui O, on Lantau (Footdown, February 2).
'What little I know about this car is that it used to be owned by an expat from Swire on Hong Kong Island who put it up for sale somewhere around 2002-03,' he says. 'More recently it was owned by an expatriate teacher from South Island School who lived on Lantau but who has now left Hong Kong. Two or three people have reported spotting the MG [above] in the Pui O scrapyard, but none has yet been able to talk to the yard owner. There are certainly one or two people who would be interested in rescuing it.'
So Clennell invites Footdown readers to report any sightings of abandoned or endangered MGs to him, and spot working models in case they are not on record.
'Of course, I know about most if not all of the MGs belonging to MG Car Club, Classic Car Club or Collectors Car Club members, but there's probably quite a few more out there that I don't know about,' the MGB owner says. 'For the record, I currently have 172 MGs of different types and vintages from 1939 to 1999 on the list; these are all cars that I know to have existed in Hong Kong since 2000 with no evidence of their since having left.'
A number of these are not in driveable condition, he says, 'and a few may never see the road again'. The big problem, he says, is that some are being cannibalised for spares, 'even though it's possible to get new parts for nearly all MGs supplied from Britain on only a few days' notice'.
Clennell also answers our queries about the absence of the 'other MGs'.
'As far as I'm aware, there are no MG 1100s, Metros, Maestros or Montegos in Hong Kong, so I'm afraid its unlikely there will be any at the MG Car Club's show on the waterfront of the Ma Liu Shui Marine Police base, near Sha Tin, on February 24.
'Some MG purists turn their noses up at these BMC adoptions of the MG name, but I'm not among them and I have fond memories of these cars,' Clennell says. ' I learned to drive in an MG 1100 in 1965. And just before I came to Hong Kong in 1988, I owned an MG Montego Turbo [below], which I can honestly say is the best car I've ever driven.'
It had 'incredible acceleration', he says. 'It could beat a Porsche away from the lights.'
He says he had planned to bring it here but was told turbocharged cars gave a lot of problems in Hong Kong weather. 'So I sold it before leaving instead. It's a decision I've regretted ever since, especially as there's not much evidence of problems with turbos here.'
Quite so. And we recall the MG Metro was a terrific little drive.
So, if you spot an MG in any condition or would like to enter yours for the Club's show, e-mail Clennell at email@example.com or call him at work on 2966 7845. And if you see any potential restorations rotting in your block, village or local dump site, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Line up for the Lion City grand prix
Three-day passes to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix on September 26-28 went on sale on Thursday via the event's official website (singaporegp.sg).
Prices range from S$168 (HK$924) for a walkabout to S$1,388 for the premier Pit Grandstand and include a separate ticket for each race day at a special price that offers savings of at least 15 per cent on individual day tickets. A three-day pass can also be used by three different people over the three days.
The actual tickets and lanyards will only be available for collection from June. All patrons will, however, receive a printed confirmation at the time of booking. The ticket hotline is open from 10am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and from noon to 6pm at weekends and on public holidays (tel: 65 6738 6738).