The fact that the high-performance MGB GT V8 shared the same appearance as its more pedestrian siblings was deemed harmful to its position in the marketplace especially as it was difficult to distinguish the more potent car in various advertising efforts. As always with most British manufacturers, cost was an issue but it was deemed an important enough issue to commission a design study.
In 1974, work began on a clay model to assess various design elements that had been presented in several design sketches. In order to reduce costs and make the task easier – similar to what was done in the conversion of the Triumph TR5/250 to create the TR6 – the doors and sills of the existing car were retained.
The clay model showed to great effect the familial resemblance between the proposed car and corporate sibling Jaguar’s XJ-S. The flying buttresses and open headlights are highly evocative of the Jaguar and the car could be seen as a smaller brother to the larger and more expensive Coventry product. The front fascia was unique but the rear aspect featured raised haunches and far more modern taillights than featured on any other BL product. Whether it was due to considerations of expense or concerns from Jaguar that an upscale and attractive MG GT V8 would poach sales from the XJ-S, the project was abandoned and the detail work on the clay model were never finished.
Rover image through the kindness of David Knowles, Author of MG: The Untold Story, Windrow & Greene 1978.