MG MGA 1500 roadster, 1957
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The year 1955 saw the introduction of the MGA. With this design the MG broke new grounds. After its predecessors MG TD and MG TF, which were largely based on the pre-war MG TB, it was a roadster with a very modern sporty design. Like its predecessors, the MGA was a great success and, like before, the greater part was sold in America. Until 1959, the MGA was equipped with a 1459 cc four-cylinder engine. From that year, the car was fitted with a 1588 cc four-cylinder. A 1622 cc four-cylinder engine replaced the 1588 cc. engine in 1961. The early MGA versions had very good drum brakes until 1959, but after that year, the MG A was equipped with disc brakes on the front wheels. The year 1962 saw the production of the MGA, the A 1600 Mk II. The MGB replaced this very popular British sports car, and was to develop the success of the MG A even further.
four cylinder engine
cylinder capacity: 1489 cc.
capacity: 68 bhp.
top speed: approx. 98 mph. - 155 km/h.
gearbox: 4-speed, manual
Weight: 890 kg.
MG (Morris Garage) was set up by William Morris in the year 1923 to market a more sporty line of Morris models. Morris Production Manager, Cecil Kimber, was transferred from the factory in Cowley to Morris Garages (in Abington) to design MG's using Morris parts. MG production in Abingdon started in the year 1924. At the end of the 1930s, even normal passenger cars were introduced under the MG label.
The business flourished when in 1945, just after World War II, the sporty prewar MG TB and its successor the TC stole the hearts of the American soldiers. Numerous MGs were shipped to America where this type of motorcar was yet unknown.
Demand for the MG sports cars quickly rose in America, and most of the MGs were sold across the big pond in the years that followed. MGs were simple and well-built, affordable and easy to maintain. In 1952, Austin Motor Corporation merged with Morris Motors to form British Motor Corporation Ltd*.
In 1955, the pre-war TB and the post-war TC, TD and TF series with their pre-war designs were followed by the MG A roadster, which also became available as coupes after 1956.
In 1962, the successful MG A was followed by the even more successful and austerely but elegantly lined MG B. This series, too, mainly found its way to America. The MG B was available as roadster and as a 2+2 coupe, called the ‘GT’.
As British Motor* had stopped the production of the Austin Healey, there was again the need for a six-cylinder sports car from this stable, which made the MG C see the light of day in 1967. It was an MG B with a six-cylinder engine. However, this car failed to live up to expectations as its road-holding and character were not of Healey’s caliber. Eventually, Healey’s successor was to come from the newly merged British Leyland* stable in 1968, and was called the Triumph TR6.
In 1973, a V8 variant of the MG B came onto the market: the MGB V8. This model had a powerful Rover 3.5 litre V8 motor and was to be built until 1976.
The MG B roadster and the GT were sold until 1980, and, under pressure from American legislation, were adapted with safety-enhancing and emission-reducing conversions during their last five production years. The resultant thick rubber bumpers and less powerful engines made these cars much less attractive. Meanwhile, Japan produced the Datsun 240 Z, and put an end to the British sports car hegemony in America.
In 1980, it was curtains for MG B. In the years after, some Austins did appear, ‘dressed up’ as MGs but we’d rather forget about them. Finally, in the 1990s, a worthy successor emerged in the form of the MG F, which is available to this day.
In the year 2001 BMW decided to get rid of Rover because they were losing lots of money because the British pound was too expensive as was manufacturing cars in England.
A group of investors bought Rover. They took over the entire model line and were able to work out the last details on the Rover 75 Tourer and market it. Next idea was to give MG a true rebirth; various Rover models were technically re-engineered, tuned and spiced up to make thru drivers cars of them, a sporty line of cars alongside the Rover middle-class luxury line.
Looking at the Rover/ MG cars and reading about them in the press we can tell that we have high expectations of the MG models to appear in the future.
© Marc Vorgers
1968-75: BRITISH LEYLAND MOTOR CORPORATION, LTD
1975-78: BRITISH LEYLAND LIMITED
(in the merger of BRITISH MOTOR HOLDINGS with Austin-Morris and Jaguar interests in 1966)
and LEYLAND MOTOR CORP. LTD.
partly nationalized by the British government in 1975