MG 100 at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon and Oxford

Significant anniversaries in the automotive world have been coming thick and fast in recent years; however, I would venture to suggest that there have been few, if any, that have had such an intensive worldwide focus as the centenary of the MG marque. I was delighted to visit the British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Warwickshire, on Saturday 27th May for the celebration organised by all the major MG clubs in the U.K.

I must admit that I was a little blasé about going to this event: yes, it was fantastic to be celebrating the founding of such a well loved British marque but we knew what cars we were going see, didn’t we? – mostly, PBs, TCs, TDs, TFs, MGAs, MGBs, MGB GTs, MG Cs, V8s, MGFs, with a smattering 1950s Magnette Saloons and 1930s/40s, VA, WA, YA saloons and MGCs and V8s. Those are the models I have encountered at numerous car shows over the years. It is always a pleasure to see them but their presence can be anticipated.

But how wrong could I have been about today’s event? The various clubs and their members really pulled out all the stops, they certainly dispelled any preconceived ideas I might have had. I was truly “blown away” by the variety of early cars on display, cars that I had never seen before. I found their presence to be a real education, a very enjoyable experience. It is those rare (to me) cars that I concentrated my attention on and photos of which are shown below. 

Before that, let’s have a look at the MG Timeline courtesy of the MG Car Club –

1922 Cecil Kimber appointed General Manager of The Morris Garages, the service arm of Morris Motors and personally owned by William Morris.

Late 1923 Kimber sold one of six two-seater sporting bodies from the Oxford coachbuilder Raworth on a Morris chassis from the Queens St showroom to Oliver Arkell. It was registered FC 5855 on the 16th August 1923.

1924 Morris Garages Super Sports 14/28 followed by the ‘flat rad’ version in 1926. Kimber builds a special aimed at the Land’s End Trial, and on the 27th March 1925 that car was registered as FC7900, better known as ‘Old Number One’.

1927 Morris Garages had its own stand and exhibited as a motor car manufacturer at the Olympia Motor Show.

1928 MG Car Company formed in March; 2nd April the Octagon registered as a Trade Mark.

1929 M type Midget produced at the newly constructed purpose-built factory in Edmund Road Cowley.

1930 Production moved to Pavlova leather works in Abingdon.

1930  M type Midget enthusiasts formed the MG Car Club at the Roebuck Inn in Stevenage.
1930-1935 production of two-seater sports cars continued with a plethora of models being available, C, D, F, J, K, L, N, P, Q, R types.

1935 MG Car Company sold by William Morris to Morris Motors.

1935-1939 larger saloon and tourers produced known as S, V, W, types with 1.5, 2.0 and 2.6 litre engines.

1936 T series Midgets introduced. Production continued  until 1955.

1955-1962 the new aerodynamic MGA produced followed by re-incarnated MG Midget in 1961.

1962-1980 MGB produced with over 500,000 examples.

1980 the Abingdon Factory was closed and subsequent MGs were built at Longbridge, the original Austin factory.

1982-1991 MG versions of the Metro Maestro and Montego saloons produced.

1993-1995 RV8 with remodelled MGB body and Rover V8 engine.

1995-2005 MGF and MGTF with mid engine Rover K series, accompanied by MG versions of Rover 25, 45 and 75 saloons.

2005 MG Rover Group collapses and purchased by Nanjing Automobiles who in turn were acquired by SAIC in 2009, who own the brand to this day.

2011 the MG6 was launched followed by the MG3 in 2013. All UK assembly ceased at Longbridge in 2016, but the Research and Development department remains there together with a Design Studio in London.

2022 MG4 introduced with first electric platform for MG.

2023 MG reveal the Cyberster, an all-electric sports car, for release in 2024.

Here are some of the stunning cars that were on display at the MG 100 –

First, “Old Number One”, on permanent display at the British Motor Museum –

1925 MG "Old Number One" on display at the British Motor Museum
1925 MG “Old Number One” on display at the British Motor Museum. “Old Number One” is something of a “misnomer”. Number One suggests “first” i.e. the first MG but this car was not the first MG. However it was the first MG to be used, successfully by Cecil Kimber, in competition. It has avery distinctive body produced by Car Bodies of Coventry. In the early 1930s the car was rescued from a scrap yard, restored at Abingdon and used by Nuffield for publicity purposes. It was then that it was given the title “Old Number One”.

1925 MG "Old Number One" on display at the British Motor Museum. Rear

c.1925 Morris/MG 11.9hp Super Sports tourer.
c.1925 Morris/MG 11.9hp Super Sports Tourer

c.1925 Morris/MG 11.9hp Super Sports tourer. Rear.

1925 MG Bullnose 14/28
1925 MG Bullnose 14/28 4 cyl. Sporting Salonette. 6 built.

1925 MG Bullnose 18/40. Rear.

 

1927 MG 14/40 Flat Nose, Speckled Hen
1927 MG 14/40 Flat Nose, “Speckled Hen”.

1927 MG 14/40 Flat Nose, Speckled Hen. Rear

Morland Brewery, Abingdon, 'Old Speckled Hen' beer.
Morland Brewery, Abingdon, ‘Old Speckled Hen’ beer, launched on the occasion of MG’s 50th anniversary.
1929 MG Flat Nose 14/40 Tourer
1929 MG Flat Nose 14/40 Tourer
1930 MG 18/100 Mk. III 6 cyl.
1930 MG 18/100 Mk. III 6 cyl. with ‘Tigress’ body. Only 5 were built, two of which remain.

1930 MG 18/100 Mk. III 6 cyl. Engine

1930 MG 18/100 Mk. III 6 cyl. Rear

1931 MG 18/80 Mk. II 40door saloon
1931 MG 18/80 Mk. II 4 door saloon, 236 built.

1931 MG 18/80 Mk. II 40door saloon. Rear.

1931 MG C Type competition car, 4 cyl. 746cc.
1931 MG C Type competition car, 4 cyl. 746cc. owned and raced by Golie Gardner. 44 built.

 

1931 MG C Type competition car, 4 cyl. 746cc.
Another C Type owned by the Australian lady in the photo.

1931 MG C Type competition car, 4 cyl. 746cc. Rear.

1932 MG F2 6 cyl.
1932 MG F2 6 cyl. 87 built.

1932 MG F 2 6 cyl. Rear.

1930s MG Midget at MG 100 Gaydon
This car caught my attention but at the time the photo was taken there wasn’t an information card in place. I think that it is an M type.

1930 MG 18/80 Mk. II 6 cyl. Car Bodies 2seater.
1930 MG 18/80 Mk. II 6 cyl. Car Bodies 2seater.

1930 MG 18/80 Mk. II 6 cyl. Car Bodies 2seater. Rear.

1935 MG KN 6 cyl. Saloon.
1935 MG KN 6 cyl. Saloon.

1935 MG KN 6 cyl. Saloon. Rear.

 

1935 MG PB 939cc 4cyl. Marshall 75 supercharged engine. A member of the works "Cream Cracker" Trials team.
1935 MG PB 939cc 4cyl. Marshall 75 supercharged engine. A member of the works “Cream Cracker” Trials team.

1935 MG PB 939cc 4cyl. Marshall 75 supercharfed engine. A member of the works "Cream Cracker" Trials team. Rear

 

1935 MG PB 939cc Superchaged engine.

1951 Lester MG 1.5 Ltr. 4 cyl. One of the "Monkey Stable" team.
1951 Lester MG 1.5 Ltr. 4 cyl. One of the “Monkey Stable” team.

1951 Lester MG. Rear.

1955 Lester MG sports racing car with 1356 cc 4 cyl. XPAG engine.
1955 Lester MG sports racing car with 1356 cc 4 cyl. XPAG engine.
1936 MG VA Prototype
1936 MG VA Prototype

1936 MG VA Prototype. Rear

1956 -58 MG Magnette ZB
1956 -58 MG Magnette ZB

1956 -58 MG Magnette ZB. Rear.

2005 MG X Power SV-R
2005 MG X Power SV-R

2005 MG X Powere SV-R. Rear.

MG IN THE 21st CENTURY

2022 MG ZS T - GDI Exclusive SUV
2022 MG ZS T- GDI Exclusive SUV

2022 MG ZS T GDI Exclusive. SUV. Rear.

 

As the Timeline above records, the MG brand has been owned by China’s SAIC company since 2009 and most cars bearing the Octagon badge are now built in China. In recent years MG has established a competent range of mainly SUV cars and has seen its share of the U.K. market increase year on year.

This MG100 event, at the British Motor Museum, together with many similar events held around the world, must demonstrate (if a demonstration was required) to SAIC what an outstanding asset they own in the MG brand. It is one of the most famous car marques, with a huge worldwide following, in the automotive world. We can only hope that in the near future cars with the Octogan badge will be produced in the U.K.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 In the meantime, how about re-establishing an equivalent to the famous BMC Competitions Department in the U.K., preferably in, or, near Abingdon? “Racing improves the breed” is a slogan followed by most successful motor car manufacturers: can MG be far behind in rejoining the current ranks of manufacturers that have high profile motor competition programmes? And where better to establish that base than in Oxfordshire?

1ST JUNE – OXFORD

On Thursday 1st June members of the MG Car Club and their cars gathered in Bonn Square, (West Queenns St.) Oxford, close to where the Morris Garages Showroom was located. The purpose of the gathering was to celebrate the launch of the first Raworth-bodied MG.

MG 100 MG Garages, Oxford
MG 100 –  MG Garages, Oxford. Photo Source MG Car Club.
MG 100 - Oxford Castle/ Malmaison Hotel
MG 100 – There was another gathering at Oxford Castle/ Malmaison Hotel.                                    Photo courtesy of John Watson MG Car Club Volunteer

MG 100 - Oxford Castle/ Malmaison Hotel

 

You might be interested in this related MG article –

MGC GTS (SEBRING)

 

Nick

 

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