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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - ZS has arrived!

Our brand new blue 4 door ZS120 rolled off the trailer from Belgium and into the drive this morning. And I must say, it's a beaut. Unfortunately, we can't drive it until we get all the paperwork done, but it makes a nice garden sculpture for now.

One minor query. The 'ZS' badge on the back is black, rather than silver. I thought you got the black with the ZS120+ and the silver with the ZS120. Did they put the wrong badge on ours or have I got it the wrong way round? We got a ZS120 with aircon, so perhaps they just got confused in the factory.

Not that we care, of course...
David Bainbridge


David, you wouldn't care to share with the rest of us who you bought it from would you, how long it took, was it worth the hassle, how much dosh you saved, etc...

I don't know if I should put private numbers on the BBS, but send me an e-mail and I'll send you the number of the middle-man I bought it through.

It's really very little hassle - I imported an MGF last year from Holland. It took 2 months for the ZS and 5 months for the F.

So, a 4-door ZS120 with metallic paint, aircon and single slot CD player cost me about 10400 including VAT plus 400-ish delivery. That seemed pretty good to me, and bear in mind that the 4 door is more expensive than the 5.

Below is some stuff I wrote about importing my F last year. It's out of date in a couple of minor respects - no more guilders for a start, and for some reason I didn't mention the possibility of doing all the DVLA stuff by post. Hope it's helpful.

It's been posted a few times before on the F board, so apologies to those who are tiring of it!



You can usually save a heft wodge of cash if you import your new MGF from abroad, and the easiest place to do this from is another EU country. I imported mine from Holland, and here's my step by step guide to doing it. Of course, lots of the information would be useful if you import from other EU countries too. (Importing from outside the EU has rather more problems associated with it see the DVLA sites listed below.) Don't be put off by people warning you about the mountain of paper work involved I would estimate that it's about 10% of the effort of filling in a tax return. Buy, import, save, enjoy!

Other sites discussing this issue include:
Remember that if you buy a car abroad, you will only get one year's warranty, unless you go through a company that offers extended warranties (e.g. Virgin). Also, you can buy extended warranties from someone else (no info, I'm afraid, 'cos I didn't do this, but look in the archives of the MG enthusiast's bulletin board).

Grab a MGF brochure from a dealer, or use the UK MG website, although the website doesn't seem to be as thorough. Do try and drive an F before you cough up your hard-earned money!!!

I think you really have three options. The first is to order it through a company that specialises in importing UK-spec cars to the UK. This is the most hassle-free method, although you pay for the hassle-freeness, of course. Having said that, I have heard people who have actually caused themselves MORE stress by using an intermediary, so try and get a recommendation from someone who's done it all before. Try, for example:
The second is to buy via Mike Satur. He charges an apparently lower commission, and I think he basically does the quote seeking for you. The purchase is then arranged between you and the dealer in Holland (I think tell me if I'm wrong). Do get a quote from Mike, as he may have negotiated some knock-down price that effectively absorbs his commission. His site is:
Alternatively, you can do it the (often) cheapest, and most hassle-ful way and go it alone..

You can find dealers in Holland on:
Bearing in mind which ones are convenient for planes in and ferries out, select a bunch and ask for quotes. Don't get too obsessed with finding a dealer next to Schipol airport using airport transfers tonbridge, however. Holland's not a big place. I e-mailed all the e-mailable ones, but if you want fax numbers you can look them up on the following site. Dealers seem to reply to faxes quicker than e-mails, in my experience:
Ask for a quote including all the extras you want some may be cheap for the car and expensive for the accessories, and vice versa. I think you will find it cheaper to buy as much abroad as possible, rather than buy a base car and then get your accessories in the UK. Remember to specify UK spec (steering wheel, headlights, wipers, English manual) although to many Dutch dealers this will be obvious. Also, I would specify exactly what UK spec involves for different models for example, I had to sort out some details to do with what alloys come standard on a VVC in Holland. Not a problem, as long as you do it in advance. If you have little kids and you want to use a rear-facing car seat, make sure that you're not getting a passenger airbag I heard somewhere that it might be standard in some EU countries. I don't know if radio wavebands are different on the continent probably not. Remember to ask for the cost of export plates and papers, certificate of conformity, PDI, cleaning and a tank of fuel if you want it. Also, it is probably easiest to ask your dealer to insure your car for you to drive it to the port in Holland insuring a non-UK registered car for use outside the UK is a pain in the ar*e for a UK-based punter, so avoid it, if possible.
To get a ROUGH idea of how much the car will cost, you can do a guilders-to-pounds conversion with the currencies page of:
Remember you'll have to pay 17.5% VAT when you get it back here!!!

Find someone who can buy guilders and pay them in to a Dutch account fairly cheaply. Of course, your high street bank will do this, but I used:
..and they seemed fine, although I'm sure lots of other companies will do it for you. Most Dutch Rover dealers will probably ask you for 25-30% deposit. You may want to buy ALL the currency in advance and leave it on deposit to protect you against further currency fluctuations. Of course, you then lose several months' interest on it. It all depends what you think the exchange rate is going to do.


You will need forms to (i) register your imported car in the UK and (ii) cough up the VAT, which is a customs matter often handled by the DVLA. It is probably easier to ring your local DVLA office in advance and get them to send them to you you can find their number on:
If you can't answer any of the questions on the form, then don't worry the answers are all on the Certificate of Conformity. Except one: apparently, the 'Wheelplan' of an MGF is '2 axle rigid'.

Wait a second, though are you insured to drive the car in Holland? Are you insured to drive the car in the UK? O.k., then, carry on. Obviously, there are lots of flights to Schipol, but lets support the economy sector eh?:
If you want a train from Schipol to your dealer (routes, times and prices:
At the dealer, make sure you get the certificate of conformity and the invoice, and a copy of the PDI checklist is a good idea too. Check over the car, just as you would at any dealer. Someone far more knowledgeable than me has assembled an excellent checklist:
Michelin will also design a motor route from your dealer to your point of exit:
Which may well be the ferry at Hook:
Read the manual on the ferry between bouts of vomiting especially the info on running in. Avoid the eat-as-much-as-you-like all-day-breakfast. Do not strike up a friendship with any Serbs who carry a large stock of home-made brandy it is difficult to drive an F when you have gone blind (just a little tip from my student travelling days).

At customs, you can try and declare the car, but they'll probably just tell you to go and register it at the DVLA. That's if you actually see any customs people at all I didn't and could have made a fortune trafficking some hard drugs. You are then only entitled to drive the car to your home, or to a registration office, unless the DVLA say otherwise (and they won't). You then take all your forms, certificate of conformity, receipts, a certificate of UK insurance, to a DVLA local office (which I think is the new name for Vehicle Registration Office or VRO) these are listed on the following site, along with all the ins and outs of the process:
Register the car (25) they don't do it over the counter, so you'll probably will have to go back the next day, or even later if they're busy (and they usually are) to collect all the documents and tax disc (?155 when I wrote this) or get them posted to you. They can, if they want, ask you to bring the car in for them to look at it, but I should think this is a pretty rare occurrence for cars imported from the EU. Buy some cheapo plates at Halfords (some branches do them while you wait) and off you go! You have a month to pay the VAT most people sort out the VAT forms at the VRO, rather than at customs at the port of entry.

Hope importing from Europe doesn't affect the re-sale price. it sure as hell can't affect it as much as the purchase price!
So there you go. It's all very easy and straightforward to do it yourself. You may have heard of the mountains of paperwork, but I think that is a rather enthusiastic description of the three short forms you have to fill in. What else? Well, you have to take at least two days off work to get the car and go to the DVLA, but then that's not so terrible is it? I'm sure that your boss will agree that it was time well spend when they see the car.
David Bainbridge

David...not sure how it works on the ZS but on the ZR it's black for standard models and rhodium for + and 160. My ZR+120 has rhodium, as expected.

You can order the badges as parts...about 7 I think.


Silver on my my Silver ZS120+

Ah, I must have got it the wrong way round...
David Bainbridge

This thread was discussed between 20/06/2002 and 24/06/2002

MG ZR ZS ZT Technical index

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