MG ISN’T AS OLD AS YOU MIGHT THINK
Despite the manufacturer still referring to 1924 as the start of production – and MGLive! being rebranded MG90 two years ago to highlight the anniversary – MG’s origins are actually rather less clear than that.
Cecil Kimber’s earliest cars were unashamedly Morris-based specials – including a two-seater creation in which he won a gold medal award in 1923’s London to Lands End Trial – but MG- badged creations came much later. The initial 14/28 Super Sports of 1924 didn’t wear the marque’s octagonal badging, and the car Kimber himself regarded as the first proper MG, Old Number One, wasn’t completed until March the following year.
It was only in September that year that MG production was sectioned off into part of Morris’ radiator factory on Bainton Road in Oxford. It was then in 1928 that the MG Car Company was formed as a standalone vehicle manufacturer in its own right.
Club president John Day says: ‘I’ve long believed that MG started not in 1924 but the following year, and I’d be happy to contest that. If you’d gone to Morris in 1924 or even 1925 asking to buy an MG, nobody would have known what you were talking about.
‘The interesting thing is that Morris was using octagon logos with the letters M and G in its advertisements right back in the early 1920s, long before the first MG-badged cars arrived.
‘Perhaps Cecil Kimber saw those logos and it sparked a great idea in his head. Morris was such a tight controller in those days, so it’s amazing to think they let him take all those cars and modify them to something else entirely.’