Who or what is Scarlet Fever ?


My guess is that if you are browsing this site, Scarlet Fever will need no introduction. But just in case you've been left feeling somewhat perplexed about who or what 'Scarlet Fever' is, then let me explain. Scarlet Fever (or SF for short) is a 1996 Flame red 1.8i MGF. Nothing terribly extraordinary there then, but she was to be purchased by an enthusiastic fellow called Andrew Phillips in February 1996. And there started a remarkable relationship between man and machine... Okay, that sounds a bit weird; it's an 'MG thing'...

Of course, in those early days, SF was 'just another MGF' (but we need to remember that in those long-ago days, these modern MG roadsters were still an extremely rare sight on British roads). SF was a completely standard F, other than a timber dash kit, a red/black leather steering wheel and gear knob that were specified optional extras. In fact, unusually, this F was devoid of driver aids that many of us take for granted - including ABS of EPAS. To compliment the Flame Red paint colour, SF was delivered with red "fusion" fabric seats.

A very attractive F then. But the 'Dark-side' beckoned... Unfortunately, SF suffered from some water leaks as the early-specification seals failed to perform the job for what they intended. That resulted in some unfortunate staining on those lovely red fabric seats. That was the catalyst for the introduction of another character into SF's life: one Mike Satur, esquire. Out went the water-stained fabric seats, and in went some lovely Mike Satur custom leather items in cream and red: a colour theme that was to be revisited and expanded upon to create the SF we all know and love...

Well, I am not going to list all the modifications for which SF is famous - hey, this server ain't big enough! But suffice to say, SF and Andy 'Scarlet Vader' Phillips had entered the 'Dark-side' of MG personalisation. And one has to say; both Andy and SF look to be pretty happy on 'other side'!

Okay, okay, I haven't really explained why SF is called 'Scarlet Fever' in the first place. I can assure you that this isn't because of a nasty throat infection by a group A beta-haemolytic streptococcus, oh no... Well the car was actually named by a good friend of Andy's, a chap called Steve Scott, owner of a highly modified rubber bumper MGB Roadster called "Foxy Lady". It was at a show, where the two cars had been parked next to each other that a lady came up to Steve wondering what Andy's MGF was called having seen the "Foxy Lady" graphics on the boot lid of his MGB. Well, what with Andy's MGF being red and having "FEV" as part of the registration number, he came up with the name "Scarlet Fever."

Well, the name has certainly stuck and endured. I'm not sure whether Andy was all that pleased to start with, but people started calling him 'Scarlet Fever' as well! D'oh! But he's grown to appreciate the connection. Through Andy's contribution to the MGF bulletin boards, and demonstrations of DIY dexterity at shows, both car and owner have become incredibly well known. I suspect that SF is possibly one of the most famous MGFs produced. And Andy? Well, he's a good friend to just about everyone he's ever met. MG is the marque of friendship, and I reckon Andy has an octagon running through him like the lettering in a stick of Brighton rock...

Rob Bell