|’64 Midget of Antosz family from Glendale Heights, Illinois|
|’67 B of Hao Anh Do from Seattle, Washington|
|’74 B of Diane and Ethan Harris from Little River, South Carolina|
|’67 B of Don Loeder|
This was my dad’s car. He bought it new in 1977. He parked it in 1983 on blocks in the back yard. I have been restoring it for 20 years and just finished it this past year. I wanted it to look just like it was the day he bought it. Lots of blood sweat and tears on this little car, but it was worth it.
The MG 14/40 or MG 14/40 Mark IV was launched in 1927 and was produced until 1929 with approximately 700 cars manufactured. It had its origins in the MG 14/28 and was similar to the Morris Oxford flatnose. The flatnose term was used to describe the new radiator/grille fronts of the cars. Morris had redesigned his cars to incorporate the flat radiator design of American cars. If you recall, the MG 14/28 and earlier cars all had the rounded bullnose radiators which gave them a tractor-like appearance at the grille. In 1926 the bullnose was dropped and the flat radiators were used, and the radiator cooling surface was increased. The 14/40 was manufactured at the Edmund Road works in Cowley, Oxford where MG manufacturing had moved in September of 1927. It was the first model to feature the MG Octagon badge on the radiator. Apart from the flatnose, the 14/40 did not look very different from the 14/28. The chassis of the 14/40 was heavier and wider to allow more room in the body. The chassis was also stiffer which made the car easier to handle. The engine was updated to 35 bph (brake horsepower) and the brakes were changed to eliminate the servo. The name 14/40 promoted the additional horsepower, which while improved, was 37 bph and not 40 bph. The designation of Mark IV is not clear, and some think that it was named for the fourth year of production of the 14/40.
The car bodies offered included a Featherweight Fabric Saloon and a fixed head (hardtop) and drophead (convertible top) coupé. The MG works continued to distinguish themselves from the Morris Motors brand, and led to the creation of the M.G. Car Company in 1928. The new M.G. Car Company and Morris Motors were owned personally by William Morris.
A new 18 hp overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine had been developed by Hochkiss and Kimber realized that this engine could be used to build a bigger sports car to compete with the Bentley. To design the 14/80 M.G. Six, Kimber modified a Morris Six, and designed a new chassis and a cylinder block that took twin carburettors and incorporated them into his new car. The car was powered with a six-cylinder, inline engine with chain-driven overhead camshafts. They produced about 60 bph and could achieve a top speed of 80 mph—which is where the 80 in the name originated. He also designed a beautiful new radiator grille for the 14/80, and this grille design was so popular that it was used on M.G. cars for more than 25 years. The grille featured vertical standing slats and a vertical center bar and the headlights were set higher.
The 14/80 Mark I and Mark II models were available in a variety of styles such as two- and four-door models, two- and four-seater cars, and both closed and touring cars. The Mark I was built from 1928 to 1931 and about 501 were built. The Mark II was built from 1929 and about 236 were built. Kimber also built a racing version in 1930 which was referred to as the Mark III, the 18/80 Tigress, or the 18/100. The engine was rated at 80 hp and only five were produced.
In case you were wondering what bph stands for, it is a measure of horsepower and here is a link to explain the difference between hp and bph. http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-hp-and-bhp/
Article sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_Cars
Great Marques M.G., by Chris Harvey, 1983
MG Past & Present, by Rivers Fletcher, 1985
MG by McComb, by F. Wilson McComb, Revised Edition by Jonathan Wood, 2004
Great videos about the MG cars and history on the MG Cars Channel by Shelburne Films https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFApx5pUaAkNam6U1pn_ZEQ
An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’78 B of Barry Barnes. Here is his story with photos:
Someone recently asked me about my “journey” on my 1978 MGB. I answered: Long. Slow. Perfectionistic. Expensive. LOTS of fun! I love working on my MG daily drivers as much as driving them… and I’ve been doing both for 50 years.
Then I added that a more serious reply would be:
▪ Design your project for your car to be DRIVEN – these are tough little cars that are way too much fun to be trailered around
▪ Set a budget… realizing you’ll go 2x or 3x over it before you’re done
▪ Do it in phases, getting it drivable between each sub-project so you can reward yourself
▪ Match your project to your style – if you’re easily bored or impatient, do a simple project; if you’re perfectionistic and love form equally as function, take on something more like mine
▪ Focus on benefits to YOU – I like driving hard, tight handling on steep & winding mountain roads, loud music while I drive, a feeling of automotive excellence, and reliability
▪ Be a member of lots of groups on Facebook and the internet (I’m a member of about 20); ask lots of questions on them and on MG Experience (MGExp.com)
▪ You’ll learn by how others answer whether they know what they’re talking about
▪ When people say “I think” or “I would think” or “it makes sense that” ignore the post
▪ When people write “IMHO” (webspeak for “in my humble opinion), you’re about to read a highly opinionated post that’s anything but humble
▪ Most importantly, don’t listen to anybody else’s opinions about what you’re planning on doing – there are way too many people who will tell you what you should and shouldn’t do with YOUR car!
I have had my Midget Mk II since I was three years old (well, my dad owned her) in 1975. He bought the car on a trailer and in boxes. After some mild threats to “get that thing out of the garage,” he put her together and my parents drove round trip from Milwaukee to Atlanta. At one point, it was our only running vehicle and we used it to make grocery runs in the middle of the Wisconsin winter in the Midget.
My dad and I restored her for the first time in 1990 after sitting for almost 10 years due to rust and a cracked head, and I got the keys for my 18th birthday. My wife and I moved to Arizona in 2000, and I drove her until 2004 when she was literally coming apart. I started what became a 14 year bare metal restoration then and finished in October 2018. I did all the work myself aside from engine machine work and some on-car painting lessons, since this is a great car, if you’re interested in this model you can find useful the information found here.
|’74 B of Stephen Behmlander from Dearborn, Michigan|
|’80 B of Robert Clapper|
|’70 B-GT of Anthony D’Acquisto from Tracyton, Washington|
by Karen Border, TRF Publications
I have promised our MGB customers some stories about the origins of the MG marque and so I began researching them. But here is my effort to explain how the MG was developed. Because it is such a complicated story, I am going to have to do it in installments. I have also included a list of books and web links that I used for research, so you can read more about the subject. This is the second installment. All of the installments can be found at https://the-roadster-factory.com/Images/POTW/MG-Origins/MG-history.html .
Karen Border, TRF Publications
The Roadster Factory
Sales Dept. Phone: 800-234-1104
INSTALLMENT 3. ALL ABOUT WILLIAM R. MORRIS, VISCOUNT NUFFIELD
William Richard Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield, GBE, CH, FRS was born on October 10, 1877 in Worcester, and he was the founder of Morris Motors Limited. He was also a philanthropist and founded the charitable institutions of the Nuffield Foundation, the Nuffield Trust, and Nuffield College, Oxford. Morris married Elizabeth Anstey on April 9, 1903, and they did not have any children.
In his teens, Morris worked as an apprentice to a local bicycle dealer who sold and repaired bicycles. When he turned 16, he began his own repair business in a shed behind his parents’ house in Oxford. He was successful and opened a shop to assemble and repair bicycles at 48 High Street, Oxford. He had his own badge, a gold cycle wheel with “The Morris” words. He was a bicycle racer, and raced his own bicycles in races that varied in distance between one and fifty miles.
He began to build motorcycles in 1901 in a partnership as Morris-Cooper which produced the Morris Motor Cycle. In 1902, after dissolving the partnership, he bought a disused horse stable in Longwall Street, Oxford where he operated several businesses under the name of The Oxford Garage. He still repaired bicycles and sold, repaired, and hired cars, and operated a taxi service there. He demolished the stables in 1909, and built a new building with a Neo-Georgian facade. It was so fancy it was called “Oxford’s New Motor Palace.” The car dealership sold several different makes of cars including Arrol-Johnston, Belsize, Humber, Hupmobile, Singer, Standard, and Wolseley cars. By 1910 he found that he needed more room, so he built new buildings on Longwall Street and acquired more space on Queen Street. He officially changed the name of his business to Morris Garages.
In 1912, Morris designed the Morris “Bullnose” Oxford car and built them in a factory in Cowley, Oxford. To read more about the cars he designed and built, please scroll to the top of this article and read, “Background to the MG”.
During World War I the factory stopped producing cars and produced munitions, which included over 50,000 mines for the North Sea Minefields and hand grenades. Automobile production began again in 1919 after the war. Morris brought the mass production techniques of Henry Ford from America to England and production soared from 400 cars in 1919 to 56,000 by 1925. Morris expanded by buying competitors and suppliers. He purchased Wolseley Motors Limited, Hotchkiss Engines, E. G. Wrigley and Company who made rear axles, and the bankrupt Riley (Coventry) and Autovia car companies.
Problems set in during World War II. Morris offered to build a large factory in Castle Bromwich to build the Supermarine Spitfire aircraft. He claimed that this custom-designed, modern factory would be able to build four times as many planes as any other existing factory in Great Britain. This project, The Nuffield Project, was approved, although with misgivings by the Treasury Department, and construction of the factory began in 1939. However one year later, construction was still not finished because the design and site layout of the factory kept changing, and this put it over budget. The factory building also began to have structural problems that caused cracks in the brick walls because different kinds of bricks had been used in the construction. By May 1940, no aircraft had been completed. All of this was happening while the British government was going through a crisis with the fall of the government of Neville Chamberlain and the rise of the new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Churchill appointed press tycoon Lord Beaverbrook as the Minister of Aircraft Production, and Beaverbrook promptly fired William Morris. The contract was awarded to Vickers-Armstrong, the Supermarine aircraft’s parent company. After Vickers took over, production began and by June 1940, ten Spitfire Mk IIs were made. Castle Bromwich became the largest and most successful plant, and by the time production ended in June 1945, it had built over 23,000 Spitfire airplanes.
Morris Motors merged with the Austin Motor Company in 1952 and formed a new holding company named the British Motor Corporation (BMC). Morris was the chairman for a short while and retired on December 17, 1952 at the age of 75. He was named an Honorary President and he continued to be involved in the company’s progress. After British Motor Corporation, the company changed names several times to British Leyland and Austin Rover. The factory at Cowley is now owned by BMW, and they make the new Mini there.
We know about famous industrialists in America such as Henry Clay Frick, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller, but we may not realize that Morris was considered the most famous industrialist in England. He was awarded several titles and honors over the years. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1918. In 1929, he was created a Baronet of Nuffield in the County of Oxford. He took his title from the village of Nuffield in Oxfordshire, where he lived. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Nuffield in 1934 and made Viscount Nuffield, of Nuffield in 1938.
In case you were wondering what all the acronyms after his name were in the opening paragraph, they are honors that he was awarded over the years. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1939, a Knight Grand Cross (GBE) of the Order of the British Empire in 1941, and a Companion of Honour (CH) in 1958. He was appointed Honorary Colonel of 52nd (London) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery on June 4, 1937 and continued that role with its postwar successor, 452 HAA Regiment.
As a philanthropist, Morris donated to the Sea Cadet Corps, and he built a building at Birmingham University to house a cyclotron, which was an early type of particle accelerator invented in 1929-1930. He also founded the Nuffield Foundation in 1943 and founded Nuffield College in Oxford. The donation that most impressed me the most was that Morris offered to give an iron lung made in his factory to any hospital in England and the British Empire that requested one. Over 1,700 were made and distributed. Morris died on August 22, 1963. He lived through both World Wars and it is amazing to dwell on the things he saw changing in the world around him and the contributions he made to those very changes.
I hope you take the time to click on the links for the sources I used in creating this installment. There is a video at the top of the list that is interesting and which I had never seen before.
https://www.britishpathe.com/video/the-british-motor-car-aka-william-morris . This is a interesting video about the Morris car production and it is worth watching in spite of the music in the background .
An American MGB Association Queen B is the 1967 B of Jim Burton from Nashua, New Hampshire. Here are his photos:
|’69 B-GT of Doug Clark from Chicago, Illinois|
|’73 Midget of Paul Wrightson from Plainfield, Illinois|
|’77 B of Jim Nab from Monument, Colorado|
I purchased the car on October 9, 2019, 2 days after my 61st birthday. My Dad had an MGB when I was a teen in the mid-70’s. I remember it being great fun to drive. I loved to listen to the engine back-fire and pop when down shifting. My car is a restoration project. Pulled from a garage where it has been sitting for the last 7-8 years. 97,xxx miles, but with documentation the engine was redone around 65,000 miles.
The engine turns, so I’ll change the oil, oil filter, fuel filter and get clean gas in it. Then, we’ll see what happens. Needs tires and either new rims or I will restore the Rostyle rims that came with it. So, it’s a work in progress project.