MG Midget two seater Sports
MG Cars got its name from Morris Garages, a dealer of Morris cars in Oxford which began producing its own customised versions to the designs of Cecil Kimber who had joined the company as its Sales Manager in 1921 and was promoted to General Manager in 1922. Kimber remained as General Manager until 1941 when he fell out with lord Nuffield over procuring wartime work. Kimber died in 1945 in a freak railway accident.
There is some debate over when MG started. The company itself stated it to be 1924, although the first cars bore both Morris and MG badges and a reference to MG with the octagon badge appears in an Oxford newspaper from November 1923. Others dispute this and believe that MG only properly began trading in 1925.
1924 MG 14/28 sports
The first cars which were rebodied Morris models using coachwork from Carbodies of Coventry and were built in premises in Alfred Lane, Oxford but demand soon caused a move to larger premises in Bainton Road in September 1925 sharing space with the Morris radiator works. Continuing expansion meant another move in 1927 to a separate factory in Edmund Road, Cowley, Oxford, near the main Morris factory and for the first time it was possible to include a production line. In 1928 the company had become large enough to warrant an identity separate from the original Morris Garages and the M.G. Car Company Limited was established in March of that year and in October for the first time a stand was taken at the London Motor Show. Space again soon ran out and a search for a permanent home led to the lease of part an old leather factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire in 1929, gradually taking over more space until production ended there in 1980.
M.G. TA Midget 2-Seater Sports 1936
The earliest model, the 1924 MG 14/28 consisted of a new sporting body on a Morris Oxford chassis. This car model continued through several versions following the updates to the Morris. The first car which can be described as a new MG, rather than a modified Morris was the MG 18/8 0f 1928 which had a purpose designed chassis and the first appearance of the traditional vertical MG grille. A smaller car was launched in 1929 with the first of a long line of Midgets starting with the M Type based on a 1928 Morris Minor chassis. MG established a name for itself in the early days of the sport of international automobile racing. Beginning before and continuing after World War 11, MG produced a line of cars known as the T-Series Midgets which, post-war, were exported worldwide, achieving better than expected success. These included the MG TC, MG TD, and MG TF, all of which were based on the pre-war MG TB, with various degrees of updating.
1953 MG TD
The TF was essentially a stop-gap car to keep production going until the new MGA could be approved for production by the BMC hierarchy which did not want a car that would compete with the newly-announced Austin Healey. The TF launched in 1953 was a facelifted TD, fitted with the TD Mark II engine, a sloping radiator grille and the headlights in the wings. The external radiator cap was now a dummy as a pressurised cooling system was fitted to better cope with hot climates.
In 1954 the engine was re-designated XPEG and enlarged to 1466 cc by increasing the bore to 72 mm giving 63 bhp (47 kW) at 5,000 rpm and the car was designated the “TF1500″.
The 1489 cc engine produced 68 hp (51 kW) at first, but was soon uprated to 72 hp (54 kW). Lockheed hydraulic drum brakes were used on all wheels. A coupe version was also produced, bringing the total production of standard MGAs to 58,750.
An early open car was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1955 had a top speed of 97.8 mph (157.4 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 16.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of 26.7 miles per imperial gallon (10.6 L/100 km; 22.2 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £844 including taxes
MGA Twin Cam
A high-performance Twin-Cam model was added for 1958. It used a high compression (9.9:1 later 8.3:1) DOHC aluminium cylinder head version of the B-Series engine producing 108 hp (81 kW; 109 PS) (100 bhp (75 kW; 101 PS) in the low compression version). Four wheel disc brakes by Dunlop were also fitted, along with Dunlop peg drive knock-off steel wheels akin to the wheels used on racing Jaguars (wire spoked wheels were never fitted to the Twin Cam).
The temperamental engine was notorious for warranty problems during the course of production, however, and sales were poor. Ironically, the source of the problem was only discovered after production had ended and many restored Twincam cars are running more reliably today than they ever did during production. The Twin-Cam was dropped in 1960 after 2,111 had been produced. The car can best be distinguished from the pushrod models by its centre lock steel road wheels.
An open car was tested by the British The Motor magazine in 1958 and was found to have a top speed of 113 mph (182 km/h), acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.1 seconds and a fuel consumption of 27.6 miles per imperial gallon (10.2 L/100 km; 23.0 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1283 including taxes of £428.
In 1962 MG produced the MGB. 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 fixed-roof MGB GT was introduced in October 1965 and production continued until 1980, although export to the US ceased in 1974. The MGB GT sported a Pininfarina-designed hatchback body. The new configuration was a 2+2 design with a right-angled rear bench seat and more luggage space than in the roadster. Relatively few components differed, although the MGB GT did receive different suspension springs and anti-roll bars and a different windscreen which was more easily and inexpensively serviceable. Early prototypes such as the MGB Berlinette produced by the Belgian coach builder Jacques Coune utilized a raised windscreen in order to accommodate the fastback.
Acceleration of the GT was slightly slower than that of the roadster due to its increased weight, though handling improved due to significantly increased chassis rigidity and perhaps slightly better weight distribution. Top speed improved by 5 mph (8 km/h) to 105 mph (170 km/h) due to better aerodynamics.
The MGC was a 2912 cc, straight 6 version of the MGB sold from 1967 and produced through to August 1969 with some sales running on into 1970. The car was given the model code ADO52. It was intended as a replacement for the Austin Healey 3000 which would have been ADO51 but in that form, never got beyond the design proposal stage. The first engine to be considered was an Australian-designed six cylinder version of the BMC B-Series but the production versions used a 7 main bearing development of the Morris Engines designed C Series that was also to be used for the new Austin 3 Litre 4-Door saloon. In the twin SU carburettor form used in the MGC the engine produced 145 bhp (108 kW) at 5250 rpm. The body shell needed considerable revision around the engine bay and to the floor pan, but externally the only differences were a distinctive bonnet bulge to accommodate the relocated radiator and a teardrop for carburettor clearance. It had different brakes from the MGB, 15 inch wheels, a lower geared rack and pinion and special torsion bar suspension with telescopic dampers. Like the MGB, it was available as a coupé (GT) and roadster. An overdrive gearbox or three-speed automatic gearbox were available as options. The car was capable of 120 mph (193 km/h) and a 0–60 mph time of 10.0 seconds.
MGB GT V8
MG began offering the MGB GT V8 in 1973 utilising the ubiquitous aluminium-block 3528 cc Rover V8 engine, first fitted to the Rover P5B. This engine had been used in the A-body platform Buick Special and Oldsmobile F-85 and was the lightest mass-production V8 in the world, with a dry weight of only 318 lb (144 kg), and was about 60 lb (27 kg) lighter than its 4-cylinder counterpart by the MOWOG (Morris-Wolseley Garages) foundry. Some improvements were made by MG-Rover, and the engine found a long-lived niche in the British motor industry. These cars were similar to those already being produced in significant volume by tuner Ken Costello. MG even contracted Costello to build them a prototype MGB GT V8. However, the powerful 180 bhp (134 kW) engine used by Costello for his conversions was replaced for production by MG with a more modestly tuned version producing only 137 bhp(102 kW) at 5000 rpm. But 193 lb·ft (262 N·m) of torque helped it hit 60 mph (97 km/h) in around 8 seconds, and go on to a respectable 125 mph (201 km/h) top speed.
MG Midget Mk1 (1961-1964)
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.
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.
MG Midget Mk11 (1964-1966)
Externally the main changes were to the doors, which gained wind-up windows, swivelling quarter lights, external handles and separate locks. The windscreen also gained a (slight) curvature and was retained in a more substantial frame. The hood (US – top), though modified, continued to have a removable frame that had to be erected before the cover was put on. The rear springs were replaced by more conventional semi-elliptic types which gave a better ride. The engine block was strengthened and larger main bearings were fitted, allowing the power to increase to 59 hp (44 kW) at 5750 rpm and torque to 65 lbf·ft (88 Nm) at 3500 rpm.
26,601 were made.
MG Midget Mk111 (1966-1974)
The engine now grew to 1275 cc using the development seen on the Mini-Cooper ‘S’. However, enthusiasts were disappointed that this was a de tuned version of the Cooper ‘S’ engine, giving only 65 hp (48 kW) at 6000 rpm and 72 lbf·ft (98 Nm) at 3000 rpm. The Midget used the 12G940 cylinder head casting that was common to other BMC 1300 cars, whereas the Cooper ‘S’ had a special head with extra-large valves: however, these valves caused many ‘S’ heads to fail through cracking between the valve seats. The hydraulic system gained a separate master cylinder for the clutch. The hood was now permanently attached to the car, with an improved mechanism making it much easier to use. There were minor changes to the body in 1969, with the sills painted black and a revised recessed black grille. Rubery Owen ‘Rostyle’ wheels were standardised but wire spoked ones remained an option. US spec cars received several safety additions: a padded fascia (dashboard) with smaller main gauges; collapsible steering column, scissor-type hood hinges, and anti-burst door latches. The square-shaped rear wheel arches became rounded in January 1972. Also in this year, a Triumph steering rack was fitted, giving a gearing that was somewhat lower than earlier Midgets. A second exhaust silencer was also added in 1972.
22,415 were made between 1966 and the 1969 face lift, and a further 77,831 up to 1974.
MG Midget Mk 1V (1974 -1980)
In order to meet US federal regulations, large black plastic bumpers (usually called rubber bumpers, despite not actually being rubber) were added to the front and rear and the ride height was increased. The A-Series engine was dropped to be replaced by the 1493 cc unit from the Triumph Spitfire and a modified Morris Marina gearbox with synchromesh on all four gears. The round rear wheel arches were now square again to increase the body strength. The last car was made on December 7, 1979, after 73,899 of the last version had been made. There was no Austin-Healey Sprite equivalent. However, there was a limited number of cars produced in 1980 of the MG Midget.
ADO34 was the name of a project active between 1960 and 1964 that aimed to develop a Mini based roadster to replace the MG Midget and Austin Healey Sprite.