The European Car of the Year (ECOTY) Award is now into its 50th year. Conceived in the early Sixties, the aim was for representatives from Europe’s leading motoring magazines to judge all the cars released in the preceding 12 months and choose one overall winner.
Since the first award was made in 1964 the ECOTY Award has been unusual for being a single award – there are no categories, just a single winner judged to be the ‘best’ car available in Europe at the time. The current jury consists of 59 people from 23 countries. For the last round of voting each member has 25 points to distribute amongst the seven finalists, and each member has to divide their points between at least five cars.
A glance at the list of ECOTY winners and runners-up provides an interesting look at the changing face of the motor industry in the past half-century. The early awards are dominated by British cars: the Rover P6 2000 claimed the inaugural award, seeing off the Mercedes-Benz 600 and the Hillman Imp. The Austin Landcrab topped the ranking in 1965, while the Autobianchi Primula (the car that set the template for the modern family car) was second.
The launch of the RV8 effectively brought the V8-engined MGB back to life, as well as resurrecting the MG marque in advance of the crucial new MGF. But what do you need to know before investing in an RV8 of your own?
Words: Paul Guinness
After spending the ’80s with only hatches and saloons on offer, MG’s resurrection as a builder of genuine sports cars occurred in October 1992 when the MG RV8 made its public debut at the British International Motor Show. Fascinatingly though, it also (sort of) marked the return of the MGB to the new-car scene, albeit in heavily modified guise with a 3.9-litre V8 under the bonnet.
Interestingly, the initial idea for the MG RV8 came from British Motor Heritage, which had put brand new MGB bodyshells back into limited production in 1988. Under the direction of its managing director, David Bishop, BMH looked at the possibility of launching an updated version of the MGB, complete with V8 power and other enhancements. However, the project was deemed too complicated for BMH’s limited resources and was handed over to Rover Group, its parent company at the time.
Once passed over from British Motor Heritage, the RV8 project fell under the auspices of newly formed Rover Special Projects, a separate division of Rover Group created in 1990 and based at Gaydon. British Motor Heritage was still involved in the manufacture of the RV8, however, producing the bodyshells at its Faringdon plant at an average rate of 15 per week. They needed to be finished to a more modern standard than the MGB shells that BMH was also manufacturing, due to customer expectations for a brand new car; this meant having Rover quality inspectors based at Faringdon to check each bodyshell before it was sent to Cowley for painting and assembly.