MG ISN’T AS OLD AS YOU MIGHT THINK

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - 7 Brilliant Stories -

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.’

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