Beast’s claim to fame is being the oldest surviving production MG SV. She was a works car and was used for promotion work when the car was launched in 2003. That year she was prepared for the Goodwood Festival of Speed and spent the weekend in the supercar paddock and being driven up the hill by luminaries such as Australian multiple F1 champion Sir Jack Brabham and the designer of the car (and the McLaren F1) Peter Stevens. So when earlier this year the Goodwood Road Racing Club announced that there was to be a new area of reserved parking at the Festival of Speed for visiting supercars I was determined that the Beast should have the chance to mix it with the Ferraris, Lambos and other exotica. The organisers were supportive and allocated me a ticket when they found out the Beast would be revisiting the Festival nearly 10 years to the day since she was last there. Getting a ticket was not as easy as it sounds as the organisers had a list of what they thought of as supercars and MGs were not on it! Only two door Ferraris were allowed, and amongst the volume brands only Jag XJ220’s (no other Jags) only Lotus Esprits and Evora S, 911’s but for this year only, and only SLS Mercs (no AMGs). So pretty exclusive company!

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The Beast attracted lots of attention, indeed more than the McLaren MP4 12 c and Ferrari V12 parked next to it. In fact there were 23 McLarens present so they were considerably more common than the MG! Surprisingly there was only two Ferrari 458’s when I had been led to believe that they were, when compared to the McLaren, the better car. Clearly the Festival crowd are a patriotic bunch.

McLarens – any colour as long as its orange..

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As it was the 50th anniversary of the 911 there were plenty of Stuttgart’s finest. Next year its said they won’t be allowed amongst the supercars but this year the super car car park would have looked a bit empty without them so it would not surprise me if they get a reprieve.

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I suspect the attention focused on the Beast was the result of her striking looks and the fact she is such a rare car. One of her admirers turned out to be someone who had worked for the Isle of Wight company who had made the carbon fibre blanks used to construct the bodywork of the car. The Beast was the first complete SV he had seen.

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In March I managed to visit the Geneva Motorshow for the first time. I have fond memories of the British Motorshows at Earls Court and the NEC – vast halls stuffed full of people admiring the shining products of the leading manufacturers of the day. That the British Motorshow is no more is a sad state of affairs. We are told people no longer want to come and look at stationary cars. No one seems to have told that to the huge crowds of Swiss, Germans and French at the Geneva show!

Amongst the new hatchbacks and saloons the stars of the show were the supercars – in particular the new McLaren P1 and the ridiculously named LaFerrari. The cars, like their manufacturers, are great rivals. Each is limited to a production run of 500 and each manufacturer makes great play of the F1 technology that they have included in their fearsomely quick hybrid stars.

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The Ferrari, in traditional Corso Roso red, looked stunning. Some of the detailing looked fiddly when compared to the sublime Ferrari 458, but overall the Ferrari had the edge on the McLaren in the looks department.

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One can’t help but feel that McLaren, stung by the criticism that the MP4-12C was not as dramatic as a Supercar should be, pulled all the stops out when it came to the P1. Certainly it was no shrinking violet with its bright yellow paintwork and swooping lines. But overall the effect was just a bit too much, like they had tried too hard.

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Each car costs in excess of a million pounds. Ferrari have, however, sold all theirs. McLaren have a few hundred left. So in commercial terms it looks like the tradition and looks of the Ferrari have triumphed over the technological focus of the McLaren. But in reality would you want either car? If you want to buy a Supercar do you really want a complex hybrid transmission and KERs technology? Do you really care about emissions and fuel efficiency in a car that you will drive a few hundred miles a year? I suspect not. Personally I would rather save £800k and buy an MP4-12c or 458. And of those two it would be the McLaren, with its restrained looks, that would get my money.