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MGF Desert Tourer

MGF, Matmata, Tunisia. Tuareg Rallye 2013

MGF, Matmata, Tunisia. Tuareg Rallye 2013

MGF, Matmata, Tunisia. Tuareg Rallye 2013.

MGF, Matmata, Tunisia. Tuareg Rallye 2013.

Not a pure rally car by any means, but a capable offroad tourer for Africa! And the most fun car I’ve ever owned…
Not your usual desert racing support vehicle, but an interesting experiment that couldn’t have turned out better.
Is this the first MGF in the Sahara?

Recipe: Take an ageing Ebay £370 MGF VVC.
Rebuild the whole front subframe with new mounts, poly bushes, bump-stops and droop-stops, lower wishbones (with voids sealed to stop the usual corrosion), swivels, trackrod ends, shocks and wheel bearings.
Weld a 38mm steel tube between the 2nd set of front towing eyes as a sort of rock smasher/ARB protector. This white tube can be seen in the photos, and yes, it does look quite low; in fact it is only 5mm lower than the belly of the car, exhaust and engine sump. The reason for this is if the front bar clears a rock or tree stump, then you know the rest of the car will…and the rest of the car is much more likely to get damaged in an “oh shit!” way than an old replaceable steel tube.
Refit subframe with spacers to lift body 10mm. Not much, but everything helps with such a low car. When I have time, similar modifications will be done to the other end.
Buy six 14″ steel MGF spare wheels, powder coat them and fit two of them with some tough 175/65 gravel rally tyres. Run at 20psi on hard tracks, 12psi on sand. I will be trying 185/70-14 or 195/65-15 next for a bit more floatation in the dunes.
Fit new poly bushes and shocks in rear suspension.
Make two mounts for spare wheels on boot lid.
Play about with Nitrogen pressures, Hydragas fluid volumes and knuckle spacers until hub centre to arch measurements of 395mm front and 385mm rear are achieved with the car fully loaded for the trip.
Correct front and rear tracking.
Replace horrible electric power steering system with a manual column - totally unnecessary in a mid-engine car - much more feel now.
Drive nervously to Tunisia through snow in the Alps, constantly worrying that everything will go wrong and that this was a stupendously stupid project; it didn’t and it wasn’t!