Gregory Kilmurray with his MGF was the runner up in the ClassicLine sponsored 2019 Gemini Events Pride of Ownership awards at the Himley Hall Classic & Retro Show. After the event, we caught up with Gregory to find out more about his classic MGF.

Gregory, from Dudley, has had a passion for MG cars for well over 30 years. In 1985 he bought his first MG, a 1976 MG Midget. In need of repair, Gregory took the car on because he was drawn to soft top models – a characteristic he still loves in cars today.

The ’76 MG Midget was the first of many classic MG’s. Later came a ’78 MGB GT, a ’77 Roadster V8 and a MG Maestro.

Around two and a half years ago, Gregory was searching on that popular online auction site for a rear wheel drive soft top for auto test rally driving, when he spotted the British Racing Green 1997 MGF. Tempted by the car, he placed a bid. To his joy he won the auction and claimed the MGF for £155! Gregory knew the car needed work and was up for the challenge.

Roll forward to 2019 and having spent £5,000 plus on the car, “Desmond” the MGF is now reliable and great for both auto testing and daily driving.

As an engineer by trade, Gregory has loved doing all the restoration work on the car. The first job was to rebuild the engine. Larger throttle bodies were needed, and a RamAir induction system added for a little more power. The suspension was replaced with uprated shocks needed for auto testing, as well as a replacement cooling system and hydraulic hand brake fitted.

Some of the bodywork and panel areas needed repairing or replacing. Gregory then added a retro-styled yellow wrap for a personal touch with a matching British Racing Green hardtop blazoned with a yellow Union Jack. You will also notice a B17 Bomber on the bumper, Gregory added this in homage to his uncle Desmond who helped him finish the car and whom the MGF is named after. Gregory’s Uncle Desmond sadly passed away in 2018 and left him a sum of money which enabled him to get the MGF to this standard. Desmond loved motor sport, and this has helped Gregory to share his passion and show of his little gem!

As the car is used for auto testing as well as daily driving, Gregory has a spare set of wheels and tyres for Desmond, depending on the rallying surface.

Inside, the interior had been changed slightly with rear hoop bars added in case of a roll. The upgraded seats are out of an MG ZT and a push button engine start has been added.

With the extensive work carried out on the car, we were intrigued as to know what caused the biggest headache… Gregory tells us, “it has to be the engine. Trying to work on the 1.8 K series in such a confined space did cause a few choice words from time to time!”

Having an MGF as both an auto testing car and a daily driver must be a lot of fun. “l just love soft top cars. It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, or time of year, as long as there is nothing falling from the sky the top is down!”, says Gregory.

The motor sport calendar is pretty full on throughout the year, so Gregory doesn’t get time to attend many car shows. But together with his club, the West Midlands Classic and Custom group, Himley Hall Classic & Retro Show is a firm favourite. Gregory says, “what l love about the shows is how people take an interest in my car – it’s not the usual MGF you see, and people love all the different ways l use Desmond”.

The West Midlands Classic and Custom Group meet on the third Saturday of the month near Stourport on Seven, which Gregory helps to organise. He also attends a lovely meeting at St Mary’s Church Enville near Stourbridge on the second Saturday of the month. “The group helps people with troubles they may have, myself included, and builds a great community for likeminded classic car folk’s”, says Gregory.

As well as the win at this years Himley Hall show, Gregory has won the National Bensol Trophy. The trophy was award to him as the winner of a production car off road trial.

Together with the West Midlands Classic and custom Group, Gregory is looking forward to a trip to the Malvern Hills in October.

Voting has begun!

For further details on Gemini Events classic motor shows, visit

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