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MG Cars is a former British sports car manufacturer, which was founded in 1924, the creator of the MG brand.
MG Cars is best known for its two-seat open sports cars, but MG also produced saloons and coupés. More recently, the MG marque has also been used on sportier versions of other models belonging to the parent company.
The MG marque was in continuous use (barring the years of the Second World War) for 56 years after its inception. Production of predominantly two-seater sports cars was concentrated at a factory in Abingdon, some 10 miles (16 km) south of Oxford. The British Motor Corporation (BMC) competition department was also based at the Abingdon plant and produced many winning rally and race cars. In the autumn of 1980, however, the Abingdon factory closed and MGB production ceased.
After the suffering of the First World War, Europe started to relax and enjoy what life there was left to be had, after the mistakes and enormous casualties of a great war that went nowhere. It was a kind of silly season, and somehow the motor industry of the whole of Europe became aware of the need for fun vehicles and little sports cars, to carry the middle classes to soiree’s and the inevitable tea dances that somehow occupied the attention of the young and disenchanted.
Together with cloche hats cigarette holders, the charlston and copious amounts of Gin n’ French; there was also a kind of female revolution. But more importantly, there was a crying need for the right kind of transport to display these liberated ladies in their full glory!
The Morgan sisters were at the forefront in their ‘home made’ three wheelers, and just about every manufacturer; in UK especially, was trotting out timber framed lightweight sports cars, with noisy exhausts, and a dipstick for the petrol tank. What a wonderful revolution!
Founded in 1924, MG was one of the less expensive models, because it was based on the remodeled Morris Oxford of its day, by the aptly named Morris Garages in Oxford itself. Cecil Kimber was the originator and designer of the early MG sports car, who had joined the company as the sales manager. By 1928, the MG had become the product of the newly formed MG Car Company, taking a stand at the London Motor Show in October of that year.
With a history spanning 56 years the MG marque ceased to be an independent entity quite early on, with it sale to Morris Motors in 1935, BMC in 1952, and together with others it was partially nationalized in 1975, due to the oil crises – Ted Heaths botch up – causing the closure of the then famous Abingdon factory in Oxfordshire.
Since then it has passed on to BAE, then BMW, and in 2000 the true UK marque reverted to the MG Rover Group based in Longbridge Birmingham. By then it was mainly the victim of badge engineering, and finally in 2005 the receivers moved in, and one of the greatest contributors to British motoring history, came to an inglorious end. Nowadays, it has become a Chinese story, and one of the many products of the Nanjing Automobile Group. Say no more!
The heyday for MG was denoted by the word Midget, which defined a true sportscar and fun car. This started with the pre Second World War MG M-Type Midget 1929 – 1932 and the MG TA and TB 1936 - 1940. The post war period produced the MG- TC to TF, followed by MGA 1955 – 1962, MG Midget 1961 – 1979 and of course the MGB.
After that the marque stopped being an enthusiast’s car, and become much like the rest of the tin cans produced ever since. My favorite is the final Midget because it is fun to drive, and relatively cheap to run, however, I hear that the MGB may be coming to South-East Europe shortly, so watch this website!
The MGA is a sports car produced by MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1955 to 1962.
The MGA replaced the older T-type cars and represented a complete styling break from the older vehicles. The car was officially launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show of 1955. It was replaced by the MGB when production ceased in July 1962. Through that time, BMC sold 101,081 units, the vast majority of which were exported with only 5869 cars sold on the home market, the highest export percentage of any British car. The design dates back to 1952 when MG designer Syd Enever created a streamlined body for George Philips' TD Le Mans car. The problem with this car was the high seating position of the driver because of the limitations of using the TD chassis.
Falling sales of the traditional MG models caused a change of mind and the car, initially to be called the UA-series, was brought back. As it was so different from the older MG models it was called the MGA, the "first of a new line" to quote the contemporary advertising. There was also a new engine available so the car did not have the originally intended XPAG unit but was fitted with the BMC corporate B-Series type allowing a lower bonnet line.
It was a body-on-frame design and used the straight-4 "B series" engine from the MG Magnette saloon driving the rear wheels through a 4 speed gearbox. Suspension was independent with coil springs and wishbones at the front and a rigid axle with semi-elliptic springs at the rear. Steering was by rack and pinion and was not power assisted. The car was available with either wire spoked or steel disc road wheels.
Originally introduced as a convertible ("roadster"), a coupé (the hatchbacked "GT", almost a shooting brake) version, with 2+2 seating, was introduced in 1965. The MGB featured a four-cylinder petrol engine.
The MGB featured a four-cylinder petrol engine. A derivative model, called the "MGC" featured a six-cylinder engine and a later variant, called the "MGB GT V8" fitted with the ex-Buick Rover V8 engine was made from 1973 to 1976.
A car with the 948 cc engine was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1962 and had a top speed of 87.9 mph (141.5 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 18.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 40.2 miles per imperial gallon (7.03 L/100 km; 33.5 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £689 including taxes on the UK market.
The car developed by Donald Healey that started as an Austin-Healey Sprite, and which spawned the late-model MG Midget, has more recently been given the generic name Spridget. It really was a Healey, not an MG, but the generic name does not reflect this.
From the late 1980s on, Spridgets became popular cars for inclusion in club racing in the UK, because they were readily available and the lack of development by the original manufacturer made them easy targets for performance tuning.
The UK still has a race series dedicated to the MG Midget which is run by the MG Car Club. The MG Midget Challenge is a national race series for MG Midgets and Austin Healey Sprites (built 1956-1979). The championship is run at all major UK circuits, with the occasional visit to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. It is a serious, professional but very friendly championship and has been running since 1977.
Other variations: MG Midget MkII (1964-1966), MG Midget MkIII (1966-1974), MG Midget 1500 (1974-1980)
Combined production volume of MGB, MGC and MGB GT V8 models was 523,836 cars. A very limited-production "revival" model with only 2,000 units made, called "RV8" was produced by Rover in the 1990s. Despite the similarity in appearance to the roadster, the RV8 had less than 5% parts interchangeability with the original car.
The MGB was a relatively modern design at the time of its introduction. It utilized a monocoque structure that reduced both weight and manufacturing costs as well as adding chassis strength. This was a considerable improvement in comparison to that of the traditional body-on-frame construction used on the earlier MGA and T-type models as well as the MGB's rival, the Triumph TR series. The design included wind-up windows and a comfortable driver's compartment, with plenty of legroom and a parcel shelf behind the seats.
The MGB's performance was brisk for the period, with a 0–60 mph (96 km/h) time of just over 11 seconds, aided by the relatively light weight of the car. Handling was one of the MGB's strong points. The 3-bearing 1798 cc B-Series engine produced 95 hp (71 kW) at 5,400 rpm. The engine was upgraded in October 1964 to a five-bearing crankshaft in an effort to improve reliability. A majority of MGBs were exported to United States. In 1974, as US air pollution emission standards became more rigorous, US-market MGBs were de-tuned for compliance. As well as a marked reduction in performance, the MGB gained an inch in ride height and the distinctive rubber bumpers which came to replace the chrome for all markets.
The MGB was one of the first cars to feature controlled crumple zones designed to protect the driver and passenger in a 30 mph (48 km/h) impact with an immovable barrier (200 ton).
The first version was essentially a slightly more expensive badge engineered version of the Austin-Healey Sprite MKII and retained the quarter-elliptic sprung rear axle from the original Sprite. The engine was a 948 cc A-Series with twin SU carburettors producing 46 hp (34 kW) at 5500 rpm and 53 lbf·ft (72 Nm) at 3000 rpm. Brakes were 7 in (178 mm) drums all round. A hard top, heater, radio and luggage rack were available as factory fitted extras.
In October 1962 the engine was increased to 1098 cc raising the output to 56 hp (42 kW) at 5500 rpm and 62 lbf·ft (84 Nm) at 3250 rpm and disc brakes replaced the drums at the front. Wire-spoked wheels became available.
The doors had no external handles or locks and the windows were sliding Perspex side-screens. A heater was an optional extra. Production was 16,080 of the small engined version and 9601 of the 1098.