MG Rover collapsed ten years ago as it piled up staggering losses of £25 million a month - while chairman John Towers clung in vain to hopes of a rescue.
In his only major interview in the aftermath of the demise of Longbridge in April 2005, Mr Towers told 6,500 workers through the Birmingham Evening Mail : "We can still save your jobs.''
The Longbridge boss's plea to the workforce to keep faith ten years ago this week came as the majority of the workforce were sent home on full pay. A week later thousands were made redundant and the famous Birmingham car plant was mothballed.
It was the end of volume car manufacturing at Longbridge after nearly a century, from the pioneering era of Sir Herbert Austin through to the launch of the Mini in 1959, the turmoil of the British Leyland days of Sir Michael Edwardes and Red Robbo, from British Aerospace ownership through to BMW and finally John Towers' Phoenix consortium.
Mr Towers told the Evening Mail on April 11, 2005, days after the receivers moved in at Longbridge: "I do not really think that it is the end and I am very keen to make sure that our people do not think it is the end. I am very hopeful that jobs can be saved.
"I believe there is scope for optimism. I do not want to underestimate that message, especially now we have got the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the trade unions and the Secretary of State energised in such a high-profile way.
"All I want is for the deal to be recovered and for jobs to be saved. I am not in a mood to talk darkly about things, there has to be hope, there still is hope.''
Mr Towers revealed fears over MG Rover's main pension fund had led to talks with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) stalling.
He said: "Here is a Chinese company which has never gone outside China. The issues of employment in the UK are quite fresh to them.
"We are not just doing a licensing deal here, we are breaking new ground. They were concerned about uncertainties associated with the pension fund. There was an unquantified risk but nevertheless a risk, they were concerned about the risks of issues arising.
"We were trying to create 99 per cent certainty and we got that but they wanted 100 per cent. I think we got to the point where we took away all of their concerns apart from a tiny risk element. They were very happy with the business plan. Now we have, in these circumstances, the ability for the administrator to construct a clear new process that will not contain the risk element.
"There were, in SAIC's view, risks in the event that the Phoenix Venture Holdings part of the process didn't continue in a robust fashion. But I think that there should be a feeling that it is not all doom and gloom and that there is the prospect of the deal still being done. We have got a great challenge coming up."
PricewaterhouseCoopers had said in a statement following its appointment: "The joint administrators' work has indicated that the companies are incurring very significant losses, estimated at between £20 million and £25 million per month."
But ten years later, the Phoenix Four and former chief executive Kevin Howe are still lining their pockets from the failed car firm.
The Post revealed last October that John Towers, Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards, plus Kevin Howe, were to receive £1 million more each, after earning £42 million in pay and pensions over the course of MG Rover's lifetime.
The former directors were accused by a Department of Trade and Industry inquiry in 2009 of feathering their own nests and other management failings. The Phoenix Four subsequently agreed to being banned as directors for a combined 19 years, while promises of four-figure payouts to 6,500 ex-workers from a Trust Fund were crushed following a claim from banking giant HBOS.
Payments of a further £1 million each to the Phoenix Four and Mr Howe were announced following a much-delayed agreement between the Pensions Regulator and liquidators Begbies Traynor.
The payouts, which caused outrage among ex-workers, were revealed by MGR Capital liquidator Paul Stanley of Begbies Traynor, who confirmed that all four ex-directors and Mr Howe would cash in from a trust called the Phoenix Parnership set up in relation to Longbridge subsidiary MGR Capital.
Liquidator Paul Stanley told the Post last October: "I do not have any options in law, all I can do in law is to pay these people on the share register. I do not get a view on it, I do not get a moral standing on it; I have an obligation in law to pay out, no-one has discretion over this."
He estimated at the time that around £12 million would be available from MGR Capital. "I have paid £8 million out of the pot – that leaves me with £13 million before costs."
But former MG Rover Trust Fund trustee Carl Chinn said: "I am outraged and disgusted. If they had any honour, they would hand their money over to the workers, who have lost so much.
"The workers gave everything to MG Rover and have been treated shabbily. I am flabbergasted that these men, who made themselves very wealthy through Longbridge, will become even wealthier when so many people lost their jobs."
None of the ex-directors, who are yet to receive the money as the liquidation process of MGR Capital continues, have commented.