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The Swiss passion for MGs

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The Swiss MG enthusiast Victor Rodrigues had been looking for a low mileage RV8 for some time when a friend in Surrey spotted an RV8 for sale at an Aston Martin dealer in Walton upon Thames in Surrey. When Victor saw the details he was delighted to see it was finished in Oxford Blue, a colour he particularly wanted. So he took a flight from Zurich over to London and found the car was in excellent condition and to his surprise it had barely 300 miles on the clock. He closed the deal promptly and it was his.

From the documentation with the car (Oxford Blue 1621) he found it had an interesting history. It was built in 1995 as a Japanese specification car and shipped by MG Rover to Rover Tokyo but it did not sell, so in 1997 it was returned to MG Rover in the UK. The car was converted to UK spec but retained the air conditioning system. It was subsequently sold as a present for a lady in Worcester Park on the south west side of Greater London who had always wanted a British sportscar. The story Victor heard was she was not that keen on the RV8 and indicated she preferred an Aston Martin! So the car, registered in the UK as M 603 DBY, was part exchanged for an Aston Martin with HWM in Walton upon Thames who then had the RV8 on display in their showroom.

In January 2001 Victor Rodrigues collected the car from HWM’s warehouse which housed an impressive collection of Astons and set off round the M25 to drive it home to Zurich. With all the necessary certificates and documentation from MG Rover he was able to register the car in Switzerland without difficulty.

Both Victor and his wife Evelyne enjoy driving the RV8 and Evelyne prefers it to their other V8, a chrome bumper MGBGTV8 (Teal Blue 1506). They are garaged with Victor’s other MGs, a black MG Y Type in which they toured Brittany earlier this year and his latest acquisition, a beautiful white MGA Coupe he bought in the Arizona recently. Victor had enjoyed a beautiful red MGA Roadster for many years but had developed a soft spot for the coupe, so when he had spotted that a white MGA Coupe in excellent condition might be for sale during a holiday in Arizona earlier this year, he was smitten. But Evelyne was adamant that one of the existing collection would have to go to make room if the Coupe were to be acquired. On returning home Victor called on his old friend Heinz Müller, who runs the Classic Car Garage in Küngoldingen and services his MGs, and mentioned he wanted to buy the white coupe. Within days Heinz had a customer for Victor’s red MGA Roadster. The buyer bought the car and then within a few weeks set off from Switzerland for a tour in Scotland. So Victor immediately contacted the owner of the white Coupe in the US and established he would sell the car, so went over and closed the deal. The MGA was promptly shipped to Switzerland.

During my recent visit to Switzerland in early October for the 21st annual Classic British Car Meeting at Morges, which this year attracted well over 1600 cars, we had to stop off at Heinz Muller’s workshop on the way to get a replacement battery for the RV8. On the way the rear stop lights on the RV8 ceased working so Heinz found the brake light switch was faulty and needed replacing. Fortunately he had a switch in stock and within half an hour the RV8 was ready for the road again.

…Standing alongside the MGA Coupe in his garage, Heinz had his beautiful MGBGTV8 (Damask 0607) on which he had just finished a very thorough refurbishment. It was a meticulous restoration with the only non standard feature, good quality black leather seats. Heinz is keen on MGs but is particularly fond of big Healeys too. He attends Beaulieu’s famous motoring event, the International Autojumble , every year and the International MG Show at Stoneleigh too.

Victor Smith
V8-Register MGCC UK

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