April 12, 2006

Today In Automotive History

1888 MG founder is born

Cecil Kimber, the founder of MG, was born in Dulwich, Engalnd. MG stands for Morris Garages, which was the name for the Oxford distributor of Morris cars, a company owned by William Morris. When Kimber became general manager of Morris Garages in 1922, he immediately began work modifying Morris Cowleys, lowering the chassis and fitting sportier bodywork. In 1924, Morris Garages advertised the "MG Special four-seater Sports," the first car to bear the famous octagonal badge of MG. Old Number One, as the car was called, was actually the 48th body built for Morris by the manufacturing firm Carbodies, but it is still considered the grandfather of all true MG sports cars. Morris Garages outgrew its home in Oxford, and moved to Abingdon in 1929 under the name MG Car Company. The early 1930s were the glory years of MG sports cars during which time the company's road cars were promoted by its successful racing endeavors. For fiscal reasons, William Morris sold his private companies, which included MG, to the public holding company of Morris Motors. Purists contend that MG was never the same. Morris Motors diminished MG's racing activity, limited the variety of the company's products, and even placed the MG badge on company saloon cars. Cecil Kimber died in 1945 in a train crash. After his death, beautiful MG's were still produced, despite what the purists say. The Midget, the MGA, the TC, and the MGB were all good cars. Indeed, it wasn't until after Kimber's death that the MG caught on as a small sports car in the U.S. MG did, however, suffer after it was purchased by British Leyland, and the 1970s saw the company fall to pieces. Production at Abingdon stopped in 1980. In 1992, an MG revival was begun with the release of the MG RV8, a throwback to Kimber's earlier vision for MG sports cars.

Posted by Quality Weenie at April 12, 2006 07:02 AM | TrackBack