As the beloved MG celebrates its 100th birthday next month, and the MG Owners’ Club mark their own milestone (50thanniversary) in October, Lancaster Insurance spoke to Christopher Shurlock, Area Secretary for Cambridge & District MG Owners’ Club (MGOC) and the Region Secretary for Eastern England about his delayed love for the marque and how he came about his MG classic car collection.
“I had no interest in MG cars as a young man and certainly not as a family man when other things were more important. It was only when I was approaching retirement in 2001 that I was looking for new interests. A chance trip to our local MG-Rover dealers had me looking at a new Solar Red MGF in the showroom.”
That visit of 22 years ago was the start of a journey that saw Christopher become a pivotal part of the MG Owners Club and own a collection himself! Back in 2001, he looked at the MGF then departed – “but my wife had spotted an interest in my eyes. So, the following week, she went back to the dealer and asked for a leaflet on the car”. Consequently, the F occupied a place in the Shurlock garage within a week – “with her full approval!”
However, as with so many enthusiasts of the Octagon badge, Christopher soon knew that one MG was not enough. As he recalls:
“I enjoyed the F so much that when retirement was closer, I gave up the company car and took the money allowance instead to buy a 2004 MG ZT 135 CDi. So suddenly, I owned two MGs. Having them and getting heavily involved in the Cambridge & District MGOC meant that MG cars were now well and truly in my blood.”
By 2015 Christopher welcomed a third MG to his fleet when he saw an advertisement for a low milage TF135 in the rare paint finish of Celestial Blue. “Only 99 were made in this colour; my one is number 12 in the production run. The paint is an eye-catching colour and draws many comments. I did like the sharper look of the MGTF when it replaced the MGF, so I just had to have one”
Naturally, the Shurlock fleet attracts a great deal of admiration, and Christopher reflects:
“The name MG means a lot to so many people and is part of our motoring heritage. The older MGs are, of course, generally in the hands of “enthusiasts”, but the more modern MGs, after the B, have a wider following with the motoring public. Good examples of the MGF, MGTF and the Z range of MGs are now well looked after and appreciated by the motoring public; certainly, my cars draw attention when we are out in them.”
The Shurlock MGs are also reminders of how distant the late 1990s and early 21st century now appear. The first UK-assembled TFs date from 2008, the first Fs are now almost 28 years old, and the ZT made its bow in 2001. Christopher finds members of the public often refer to the last-named as a “Rover 75” – “of course it is not the case, and people have to be educated, but that is all part of the fun of owning MG cars”. And vehicles such as his ZT 135 CDi will continue to attract a new generation of afficionados for the marque.
The 100th celebrations have been an exciting time this year for many MG enthusiasts and owners and Christopher is no exception. He was delighted that his “blue MGTF 135 was in the 100 car line up at Gaydon representing the modern end of MGs” and what a splendid addition it was!
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