The history of MG Motors is strongly linked to the close and strong working relationship that developed between William Morris, owner of the Morris Motor Company, and Cecil Kimber, a young and dynamic sales person who began his career with Morris Cars in Birmingham.
Hard driving Morris who singlle handedly built up his companny that dominated the domestic market in the years between the two World Wars saw somthing special in Kember.
It soon came to Morris’s attention that Kimber not only knew how to sell cars and run the garage and showroom but that he had very strong skills and a lot of vision when it came to designing car bodywork.
Pretty soon the first line of MGs began to appear, which were Kimber- designed coach-built tourer bodies built on a Morris Cowley chassis, marketed as the MG Chummy.
A few years later, MG released the 14/28 Super Sports model, the first actual MG, with the car fitted with the traditional octagonal logo which has become a feature of every MG released ever since.
MG was encouraged to grow independently by proprietor Lord Nuffield, then swept into his Nuffield Organisation in 1935.
During the Thirties MG had built themselves an enviable reputation for producing quality performance cars, enhanced by success in the major race events of the decade.
The highlight fo MG Motors durinf that period was when an MG won the highly prestigious Mille Miglia road race in 1933 – the first non-Italian team to do so.
MG's most significant advantage was that it assembled its cars at Abingdon, south of Oxford, in a dedicated plant.
Post-war expansion concentrated on a succession of sports cars — TC, TD, TF and the all-new MGA, but saloons like the YA and Magnette ZA types became commercially important too.
Tragically, Kimber was not around to see MG reach anywhere near their peak during the Fifties and Sixties, as he perished in a rail crash in 1945.
From the mid-fifties, BMC (who had absorbed the Nuffield Group) imposed its will on MG.
All future models except the Twin Cam used corporate engines, and transmission assemblies were assembled in their massive plants in the Midlands of England.
With Austin-Healey assembly concentrated at Abingdon from 1957-58, this became a dedicated BMC sports car factory, meaning that during the Sixties MG saloons such as the Magnette Mk III and 1100 were always constructed at a different plant.
During the Fifties , MG Motors reached a peak of their success , driven by tremendous demand for the MG TD. The future looked increasingly rosy when Nuffield were acquired by The British Motor Corporation (BMC).
With the resources of BMC behind them, MG produced some of their finest models, starting from the MG Magnette, the top selling MGA followed up by the MGB and its hard top coupe clone- the MGB-GT. Complementing the range during the Sixties was the MG Midget, a BMC spin-off of the top selling Austin-Healey Sprite.
Although vast numbers of Midgets and MGBs were sold, by the end of the Seventies, a series of amalgamations and consolidations in the UK, car industry signalled the end of the MG brand and with it Cecil Kimber’s vision.
A guide to acquiring, restoring and maintaining UK or European Classic Cars of the Fifties and Sixties- as well as a recollection of the iconic cars of the era and the visionaries that produced them.
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