Wednesday, June 27, 2001
Rover factory tour and “time off” in Stratford
We arrive in time to see one of the two cars that MG entered in this year’s LeMans 24-hour race. John and Beth Tower are there, speaking with the press. The “X-Power Girls” are about, showing off the LeMans and Rally cars, but I prefer my “K-Power Girl”. 🙂
The tour starts in the assembly area, where the current Rover line (the Rover 25, 45, and 75 models) are being produced, as well as the newer models in the MG line. The further we walk into the assembly area, the more automation we see!
Robotic welding, fabrication, and other assembly units are most impressive! Dad really enjoys seeing all of the mechanical systems and the robotics. Everyone has a good time, but he seems to have the best time of all of us!
After seeing how the cars are made, we move to see the final products. In the final staging areas, we can see the current “stable” of the Rover 25, 45, 75, 75 Estate (station wagon, to be formally sold starting at the end of July ’01), and the very sporty MGF. We get to see two Rover 75s converted to use as “rapid response” fire-fighting vehicles. They look like high-performance racing cars as much as luxury fire engines!
Next, we’re treated to a “behind the scenes” sneak preview of the Qvale, an Italian sports car model recently acquired by MG Rover to bring (as a redesigned version) under the MG badge to the United States! This is very exciting news!! Perhaps “Edwards of Austin” has a future? 😀
Next up is another 3-course meal! This time it’s lunch in the MG Rover Group boardroom. A classy way to wrap up a great morning/early afternoon! When we leave, it’s time for Mom/Dad/Angie/Russell to go to London. We’ll meet up with them there on Friday!
Kathy and I return to the Alveston Manor for a “night off”! After a short nap, we walk slowly around Stratford. It’s nice to sit on a park bench outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the twilight… 🙂