MG Magnette

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - David Simis­ter

EN­GINE 1489cc/4-cyl/OHV POWER 68bhp@5400rpm TORQUE 83lb ft@3000rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 86mph 0-60MPH 18.5sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 23-28mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, four-speed man­ual MoT Ex­empt ODOME­TER 51,091 miles WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

This pre­vi­ously re­stored Magnette drives beautifully. The B-se­ries fires up quickly and set­tles at a healthy idle that’s free of any stut­ters or tap­pet noises. There’s no mis­fir­ing or pink­ing once on the move. The clutch is light and en­gages smoothly and without hes­i­ta­tion, and there’s no notch­i­ness or slop in the four-speed man­ual gear­box. The 10in Lock­heed drum brakes bring the car to a halt without any squeal­ing, fade or pulling to ei­ther side, and there’s no vague­ness or un­due heav­i­ness in the steer­ing.


The non-orig­i­nal Vari­tone-es­que two-tone paint is in very good con­di­tion through­out, with an even fin­ish and no signs of bub­bling, mi­crob­lis­ter­ing or sur­face rust. The body­work looks to be solid too, with no de­te­ri­o­ra­tion ev­i­dent in the whee­larches, sills or valances. There’s some very mi­nor crack­ing ev­i­dent in some of the win­dow seals, but the glass it­self isn’t cracked or scratched. The 15in steel wheels and fit­ted hub­caps are in good con­di­tion and the match­ing Fed­eral Su­per Steel tyres have plenty of tread left on them.


With the no­table ex­cep­tion of an af­ter­mar­ket wa­ter tem­per­a­ture gauge, it’s all pe­riod-cor­rect – and beautifully looked af­ter – 1950s charm in­side this Magnette. The seat leather is in very good con­di­tion and free of any nicks or rips, there’s no sign of fray­ing or damp in the car­pets, and the door­cards – in­clud­ing their rope pulls – are all present and cor­rect. The dash­board wood is free from scratches or UV light-in­duced fad­ing, and all the in­stru­ments and switches func­tion cor­rectly. There are no marks or signs of sag­ging in the head­lin­ing and the beau­ti­ful trade­mark Jaeger clock in­cor­po­rated un­usu­ally (but cor­rectly) into the roof trim is in­tact and still ap­pears to work as it should.


The B-se­ries en­gine in this car looks as though it’s been well looked af­ter through­out its life. There are no signs of oil seep­ing out from around the rocker cover gas­ket or tell-tale drips from be­neath the car, the com­po­nents are free of grime and the pipes and wires con­nect­ing the main aux­il­iary com­po­nents haven’t cracked or split with age. It looks as though the in­ner wings, bulk­head and un­der­side of the bon­net re­ceived some cos­metic at­ten­tion dur­ing the car’s restora­tion, and there are no signs of sur­face cor­ro­sion tak­ing hold. The oil on the dip­stick is at the cor­rect level and a healthy golden colour. It hasn’t been MoT’d since Au­gust 2014 (it’s ex­empt), but the ven­dor says he would be will­ing to put it through a test be­fore sale if the next owner so wished.


For ev­ery MG anorak at shows who points out that the two-tone paint isn’t orig­i­nal, you’ll have 99 clas­sic fans com­ment­ing on what a lovely car this is – it is in su­perb con­di­tion and drives beautifully. It’s one of the best Magnette ZBs we’ve ever sam­pled.


Only wa­ter tem­per­a­ture gauge is non-orig­i­nal.

BMC B-se­ries en­gine looks to be oil-tight – a rar­ity.

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