An anecdote about the MG ZR 160 by a broke college student
How my ex still has me madly in love.
After I had to give my grandmother her car back, I was constantly bugging my parents for my own car. I tasted the freedom of having my own car and I was not going to let go that easily. At first they declined, then my dad gave up and convinced my mother to help me buy a car. Then, after a 2 week search for a good, safe starter, my dad and I found an MG ZR 160 for sale mere kilometres away.
Now, the car had its typical knocking sound, which is quite common with these cars. Sounds like it's on the brink of death, but is practically harmless. Lucky for us, I knew, but the company selling it didn't. Immediately after expressing my interest for it, the owner already dropped the price from 1250 to 1000 euro. My budget was 500 euro's and my parents decided to sponsor the other half for me, lucky as I was.
So that was that, I was now the owner of a 2002 MG ZR. Immediately after, though, I had a bad feeling about it. It was burning oil as there was a leak, dropping droplets of oil onto a hot exhaust manifold, among other issues. We brought the car back, hoping to cancel the purchase. Now, the previous owner couldn't do that, but he did decide to give us 500 euro's back. This brought the total purchase for this car back to 500 euro. Fine with us. And I had never been more in love since.
Let's start with the obvious, the car is fast. It isn't gravity bending amounts of power, but it was fast. Fast-fast. When I took it to the Nürbürgring, it was faster than most of the medium powered BMW's on coilovers. Stock. Of course, right up until the point the brakes cooked on the way down to Ex-Mühle. Which was quite scary if I'm going to be honest. Oh well, I managed to not put it in the wall and after cooling the brakes for a minute or 2, I was back on track.
It might not be as quick as a Civic Type R, but I wish you good luck finding one of those for €500,-. And while it had flaws and issues, it never gave up on me. I never broke down, it never had issues starting and it never even developed a misfire when I lost a traffic light sprint.
These instances of losing were rare, however. Maybe people were holding back because they felt bad for a guy in a car knocking loud enough to wake up any deaf neighbours, but even then so, I won races against a BMW 135i, a Golf GTI, and my dads old Jaguar S-type R whenever on wet roads.
Not only that, but even though it was cosmetically ruined with scratches, lost trim pieces and dents, it was gorgeous to look at. The dark green paint hid many dents and scratches and the car looked, as my generation would call it, Thicc. The rims weren't big, but looked so anyways due to low profile tyres. Paired with that beautiful front end with the twin grille and the quadruple headlights, and you had the formula of me with an erect car-penis.
The best thing about it was interacting with other people. My petrolhead friends were all impressed with the purchase I'd made. My parents' friends all wanted to see the car. And whenever you'd see another MG owner on the road, they'd always flash their lights, wave or talk to you if you pulled up alongside them.
Of course, this didn't happen a lot, as in the Netherlands, they are quite rare. However, that made it all the more special when you saw another one. One day coming back from work I met another yellow ZR driving towards me, who flashed his lights at me. I still feel bad about not being able to flash back, as my high beams weren't working at the time.
Or, when I was in Belgium, pulled up alongside an elderly MG TF owner out for a drive with his wife. I talked to him sitting at a red light for a second. However, when the light turned green, I heard him revving his engine high. I instantly went along with it and sprinted towards the next light. Good times.
Due to finances, I had to store the car for now, but maybe, just maybe, you'll see me with it at the Rammelbakkenrace in a few months time. Until then though, I guess I'll have to make due with reminiscing for old times sake and driving on simulators...